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 By Brian Bonitto—-

 Abebe Lewis (right), traffic manager and Inner Circle’s marketing manager, addresses a weekly session at Circle House Studio located in North Miami, Florida, last Tuesday. Also pictured is Circle House’s senior engineer Charles Wakeman. (PHOTOS: SEAN ALARIC)—

FLORIDA’S go-to recording facility, Circle House Studio, has embarked on a new musical journey.

Owned by brothers Ian and Roger Lewis, founding members of reggae group Inner Circle, the North Miami entity is conducting workshops in engineering and music production.

“We’re giving real-world, hands-on experience here, nothing that can be learnt in school. We’re teaching the essence of engineering, using cutting-edge SSL (Solid State Logic) consoles,” Abebe Lewis, 38, traffic manager and Inner Circle’s marketing manager, told the Sunday Observer.

“The sessions are also open to professionals who are into the field and want to stay on top of their game as well as to network,” he continued.

The weekly workshop, held on Tuesdays, is midway its seven-week mark. The two-hour sessions attract a US$30 fee per class.

“That’s a nominal fee on the priceless industry secrets being taught. It’s value for money. What you learn here, if applied correctly, can make you make millions,” Lewis reasoned. “People who attend will leave with a certificate of participation.”

Inner Circle

Inner Circle

Lewis, who migrated to the Sunshine State at six years old from Jamaica, is Ian Lewis’s son and older brother to American rapper LunchMoney Lewis. Despite his high school flirtations with basketball, he could not resist a career in music.

“Growing up with my dad and Uncle Roger, I was in the studio 24/7. Seeing what was happening in the studio and interacting with several kids from various music schools, I realised there were gaps and holes that I could fill, while at the same time learning from them,” he said.

His production credits appear on albums for Trick Daddy Dollars, Lil Wayne and Lauryn Hill.

In addition to Lewis, Circle House’s senior engineer Charles Wakeman is part of the the weekly sessions. Areas covered include professional studio equipment set-up, proper microphone and drum placement recording techniques, tracking techniques, vocal manipulation, and how to achieve analog sound with Pro Tools.

Circle House was built by the Lewis brothers, who migrated to Florida after the death of Inner Circle’s lead singer Jacob Miller in 1980. Their post-Miller hits include the Billboard anthems Bad Boys and Sweat (A La La La La Long).

Inner Circle with Jacob Miller

Inner Circle with Jacob Miller

The studio is instrumental in launching the careers of Trick Daddy, Trina, Pitbull, and Flo Rida. Artists including Damian and Stephen Marley, Rick Ross, SOJA and Pharrell Williams have recorded there.

Pharrell’s global hit, Happy, was done at Circle House.

Lewis shared his vision for the studio.

“I would really want it to evolve into an academy,” he said.

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