With 23 Grammys to his credit along with a Hollywood Star, few people in the music industry are unaware of who legendary engineer/producer Al Schmitt is. However, just knowing who Al Schmitt is does not do his body of work and stature justice; one has to know just where this man has been and where he intends on going to truly understand the magnitude of his impact on the music industry, and it’s a big one–a real big one. Moreover, at the ripe but not so old age of 88 Al Schmitt shows no signs of slowing down and, in fact, just next month he has a new book coming out on his life and career. (Schmitt’s work ethic and his immense passion for his craft–alone–are a marvel).
In light of the above it is no wonder that we were thrilled to have spent a few minutes with the engineering master as he discussed his career and accomplishments along with talking about his new book which is aptly titled, On The Record: The Magic Behind The Music. Undoubtedly, talking with Al Schmitt is like speaking with a real time encyclopedia of music recording history and know how. This man’s career is replete with stints with so many marquee artists such as Sam Cooke, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Toto, and Steely Dan, that trying to compile a comprehensive list of all of his projects would be a staggering task. (Indeed, the foregoing recitation of performers cites just a few of the artists that Schmitt has worked with and that is a very few at that). Unassuming and totally lacking pretentiousness, the humbled Schmitt is a pro’s pro. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, he has accomplished everything that one could hope to accomplish in the music industry short of writing and performing some of the greatest hits ever recorded. However, despite his lengthy parade of accolades, Schmitt is not content to merely rely on his laurels and instead, he intends to continue to work and make an impact “as long as the phone continues to ring.”
Bringing the talent, acumen, experience, and passion that he does day in and day out (which he has done for so many decades during his career), it is hard to imagine that Al Schmitt’s phone will ever cease to ring. Thus, we hope that you enjoy our conversation with this storied engineer and producer. Few have lived, experienced, and excelled in as many of the watershed projects in the music business as Al Schmitt has.
Below, please check out our conversation with the one and only, Al Schmitt: