Hi Kiva Lenders! I’m a recording engineer and educator working to cultivate change in the audio industry starting with my own community. I began recording and mixing music at a large Pittsburgh studio in May 2012. Since then I’ve worked with over 150 bands and musicians of varying genres.
I’ve been a volunteer organizer of Girls Rock! Pittsburgh since its inception in 2013 and currently serve on the Board of Directors. Over the last four years, I’ve coached bands, taught bass, led workshops and recorded hundreds of young girls. This fostered my love of working with youth and beginners of any age. In February, I began working as a youth STEM educator at Tech Shop Pittsburgh where I instruct a variety of topics ranging from 3D modeling and printing to soldering and basic electronics. I also love to write. Over the last year, I released the first and second issues of my zine, Women in Sound, which showcases the often-overlooked achievements and processes of women and non-binary people in live and recorded sound. The third will be available in October.
All of these experiences have culminated in what I am currently working towards: a recording studio of my own. I’m unsatisfied with professional audio culture, as it often overlooks many people I care about. I want to facilitate a more inclusive, welcoming workplace and hands-on learning center that pays greater consideration to women, youth, parents, independent artists and beginners who want to learn.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
After four years engineering sessions in large recording studios, I felt disconnected from many musicians. What good are my skills and ideas if they’re only available to artists with big budgets? In January, I gave up my studio resources for the sake of reconnecting with my community. I began working independently, with very little gear, no physical space and an unflappable determination to keep making records. This fall, I’ll begin to build a studio of my own.
Accessible Recording will be a recording studio and creative learning space. My biggest goals for this business are to create quality recordings with artists of all genres and increase the number of youth and women working in live and recorded sound through hands-on education and internship programming.
This name reflects the environment I’m working to promote. I want my services to be financially accessible. Maintaining a small space keeps my costs lower and allows me to implement rates that are more feasible for independent and low-income artists. Sliding scale pricing and payment plans will be available. I want to facilitate accessible learning opportunities, particularly for youth, women and beginners. In addition to recording and mixing services, I will host a monthly all-ages skill share where participants may ask questions and experiment. And to be more accessible to parents, childcare will be available to all artists at no additional cost.
In November, Accessible Recording will find its home at 460 Melwood Avenue.
What is the purpose of this loan?
Building a recording studio requires significant upfront costs. This loan will help my business grow in two crucial ways.
$6,500 will be spent on recording equipment. This includes preamps, converters, a patch bay, monitors, microphones and cables. Professional audio gear falls within an extremely wide price range. I’ve made some albums using $1,000 of gear and others with $1 million of gear. I firmly believe you don’t need the most expensive tools to make a great recording but this loan will cover a chunk of the start up costs to purchase necessary gear that I don’t already own. Having this equipment enables me to run recording sessions and generate revenue.
$1,500 will be spent on materials for soundproofing. I have designed and will build a small isolation booth, removable wall paneling and an elevated floor. This entails wood, Owens Corning 703 fiberglass board, acoustic fabric, plexiglass, Auralex U-Boat floor floaters and countless screws and staples. This benefits both the quality of my recordings and my neighbors within the building who won’t have to hear and feel music rumbling through the walls and floor.
Financing this project through Kiva, rather than through a traditional loan, is important to me because it duplicates the kind of community that I hope to create at Accessible Recording. This money will help me build a strong, supportive community of inclusive musicians here in Pittsburgh.
Years in operation: 6 months – 1 year