Watercolour Music is the Highlands’ premier residential recording studio and creative hub. Its directors are producer-engineer Nick Turner and musician and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy.
Established in 1994, the company has grown from its commercial residential recording studio roots to include live broadcast, and soundtrack, online and broadcast production, as well as offering an idyllic setting for teaching, writing, pre-production and other creative retreats, and an intimate venue for performance.
Watercolour Music moved to new purpose-built premises in 2009 in Ardgour on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Recording artists, producers and performers visiting over the years have included John Renbourn, Blazin Fiddles, Malcolm Jones, Rachel Newton, the Gyoto Monks of Tibet, Julie Fowlis, Damaged Goodz, Jerry Boys, Kathleen MacInnes, Mount Desolation, John Goldie, Martin Taylor, Skipinnish, Skerryvore, Rachel Walker, Scott Macmillan and many more.
Watercolour Music also acts as the base for Nick and Mary Ann’s various solo and collaborative writing, recording and performance projects. Often working as a production team, this includes Mary Ann’s two solo albums on ARC Music which earned her the STMA Gaelic Singer of the Year title in 2019
Describe the impact of your location on your business
Watercolour Music is based at the mouth of Glen Scaddle on the shores of Loch Linnhe, with unrivalled views of Ben Nevis. Without exception, artists hail the setting of the studio as one of its greatest assets (after Nick’s terrible jokes). It offers an inspiring alternative to smaller urban facilities, with room to perform and record live ‘on the floor’.
It’s a real getaway that allows for complete concentration on the project in hand. The three-minute ferry crossing at Corran on the way to the studio is like a signal giving ‘permission’ to leave the outside world behind and focus on creativity.
The studio sits nestled into the shoulder of the glen, surrounded by wide open countryside rich in wildlife. The purpose-built studios were built to blend in with the landscape and vernacular architecture, have natural interiors of wood and stone and a huge amount of natural light with windows and french doors on all sides looking out to the inspiring landscapes around. The light in the glen is constantly changing, making for a dynamic landscape that boosts artists’ creative energies.
Watercolour Music’s rural location however has excellent public transport connections, with regular train and London sleeper services to Fort William, and a direct bus service from Glasgow and Glasgow International airport to the ferry. Driving time from Glasgow is 2¼ hrs and Inverness 1½hrs.
What would you list as your biggest achievement(s)?
Desigining and building our own purpose-built premises and evolving the business from its beginnings in the function suite of the Loch Leven Hotel to being a creative SME that punches well above its weight and that helps make the Highland music industry make its mark.
Surviving the current pandemic and being able to offer recording facilities where artists can work safely and with confidence.
Company Twitter - @Watercolour_UK
Company Facebook - @watercolourmusicuk
Company Instagram - Watercolourmusic
Company Website - www.watercolourmusic.co.uk
Studio Walk-through - http://watercolourmusic.co.uk/Studio/index-1.html