Travis Wyrick turned a childhood obsession into a life-long dream
For Knoxville producer, Travis Wyrick, everyday seems like a dream. Wyrick’s life in music began when he was 13. Inspired by the then new MTV channel, he spent hours every day “obsessing” over learning the guitar. “I destroyed a lot of needles and vinyl trying to learn all of these riffs and Led Zeppelin songs, and anything I could get my hands on,” he says. “I’d listen to it and try to figure it out.”
When Wyrick finally connected with a fellow guitarist in high school, the two hit it off, creating the band Sage in the process. The band remained intact for the next 14 years. Wyrick’s life as a producer, however, was unfolding at the same time. At age 15, he bought a four-track tape recorder and began recording songs he had written to bring to his band. “I learned a lot about production and engineering and how not to record,” he says with a laugh.
After recording his band’s first two albums, upgrading his system along the way, it was his unique recording sound that called others to reach out. “Bands would come to me, holding that CD and going, ‘Will you record my band for me?’,” he recalls. “I’d say, ‘No. That’s not what I do. I’m a guitar player.’” But when he finally jumped in, he fell in love with working with other artists. “It was like pandora’s box was opening.”
Fast forward to today, and Wyrick, who owns Lakeside Studios, has a host of memorable moments, awards, and artists to look back on, including well-known names like Disciple, P.O.D., and Dolly Parton. And while the last year has proved challenging for many due to COVID-19, Wyrick says, “It’s been one of the busiest years I’ve had in the last decade.”
Working with artists creates an energy, he says of the work, one that consistently fills the room with nerves and excitement. But for Wyrick, producing continues to be just as exciting as the day he picked up that first guitar: “I can’t believe that I make music for a living all day, every day.”