Producer/engineer Lenise Bent is one of the first women recording engineers and has worked on many iconic records including “Aja” by Steely Dan, “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp and “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac. She was also the first woman to receive a platinum album for engineering on Blondie’s AutoAmerican.
Lenise is a native of Los Angeles and comes from a musical and technical family. She studied piano and played flute in the Compton Festival Orchestra and at the age of eight was enrolled in the Screen Children’s Guild, working in film and television. This lead to studying film and TV production in college until one day she was invited to a recording studio. With her love of music, she was hooked, dropped out of college and enrolled in a recording school the very next day. Fortunately, her parents were supportive.
After graduating from Sound Masters Recording Institute (this was one of the only schools in Los Angeles at the time), she was hired as an assistant engineer at The Village Studios in Los Angeles, eventually working her way up to engineer. It was at The Village that Lenise furthered her education in audio recording, working with and being mentored by many legendary engineers and producers, most notably Roger “The Immortal” Nichols and Roger Linn. Lenise then became chief engineer for hit producer Mike Chapman, working with several artists including Blondie, Cher, The Knack and Suzi Quatro. Together they recorded in several iconic studios such as The Record Plant Sausalito, Air London and United Western, which is now United Recording and EastWest Studios.
Lenise’s first session as an engineer was April 1977 at the Village Studios (formerly The Village Recorder) Studio A. The equipment was a Harrison 3224 console, Ampex ATR 100 2 Track, Technics ¼ Track, and M-79 2” 24 Track tape machine. The Artist was Americana musician (and uncle) Willie Wilson. The Village encouraged all the assistants to use un-booked studios when they weren’t working on their own projects.
Lenise moved into post-production audio, beginning with creating the foreign music and effects tracks for the entire Disney cartoon catalog, and eventually specializing in recording and editing Foley. She has worked on several films and animated series, such as “Robo Cop,” “Street Sharks,” and “Extreme Ghostbusters.” She has traveled the world for Dreamworks supervising and producing the foreign dialogue and vocals for “Shrek,” “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” and “Shrek 2”. This rekindled her love of recording music, and she is now engineering and producing up-and-coming musicians as well as seasoned artists. Currently, one of her projects, a blues/rock band called the Primal Kings, is all-analog, recording and mixing to tape and cutting vinyl.
Lenise believes in giving back to the audio community and is a sought-after lecturer at colleges throughout the country. She holds workshops and consults with singer/songwriters to learn basic recording techniques and is currently creating a workshop for recording and editing analog tape. She taught Production Sound, Post Production Audio and Studio Protocols and Procedures at SAE-LA and conducts “History of Audio Recording” presentations at The Grammy Museum. She also works in audio restoration and repair, including restoring the audio for the photo exhibit “Who Shot Rock n Roll” for the Annenberg Space for Photography.
Lenise is a long-standing voting member of NARAS and the Producers & Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy and is on the advisory board for the TEC Awards at NAMM as well as the executive committee of the Los Angeles chapter of the Audio Engineering Society. She also belongs to SoundGirls, Women in Music, ARSC (Assoc. of Recorded Sound Collectors), the prestigious Hollywood Sapphire Group, The Blues Foundation and Women’s Audio Mission (WAM).
Watch the video below to learn more about the marvellous Lenise Bent!