2019 at Abbey Road2019 has been a phenomenal year in music and a particularly poignant one for the studios. The sheer volume and quality of new releases, remasters and film scores has been overwhelming. We are both grateful and proud that the amazing Abbey Road team played a small part in making it all happen.
Of course, 2019 has been an incredibly momentous year for Abbey Road as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' last-recorded album and our studios’ namesake. In a year where we celebrated one of the most significant moments in our past, we continue to look to the future, with some incredible artists and projects entering the studios. This included DAVE, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Daniel Ceasar, Bastille and Rod Stewart, live sessions with Ed Sheeran, Kano, Ghetts, Maverick Sabre and Mike Skinner and scoring for some of the biggest film and game releases such as Avengers: End Game, Rocketman, Motherless Brooklyn, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order with some wonderful composers including Alan Silvestri, Daniel Pemberton, Thomas Newman, Gordy Haab, Stephen Barton and Steven Price.
Our mastering engineers have also experienced one of their busiest periods, with new releases from The Specials, Keane, Johnny Marr, Kate Tempest, Apparat, Fontaines D.C, The Big Moon, Black Midi and re-masters for Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Brian Eno and White Lies.
We continue to make Abbey Road accessible for emerging artists with the launch of the Abbey Road Production Hub - our online studio. Our partnership with BBC Introducing brought some of the most exciting new artists championed by the BBC’s DJs into our smaller studios to record singles. We also took Abbey Road outside the building and presented a series of essential masterclasses and workshops at **BBC Introducing Live **at Tobacco Dock. Our brilliant team shared the stage with artists and songwriters Maverick Sabre, Novelist and Rachel Furner offering insights and inspiring advice to aspiring artists, producers and musicians.
Abbey Road has continued to support innovation in music tech in 2019, with our incubator Abbey Road Red taking bold strides in exploring artificial intelligence and spatial audio. This was shown at the Abbey Road Red Hackathon: The Power of Immersion, with over 80 hand-picked developers, designers, artists and music producers hacking for 36 hours non-stop to create future technologies for artists and musicians. Meanwhile, we continued to grow our partnership with Waves Audio with the addition of two further audio plugins, Studio 3 NX and most recently the Abbey Road Saturator, both of which were released to great acclaim
And now as we near the end of 2019, we asked the Abbey Road Studios' team about their favourite work highlights, best gigs and favourite albums of the year.
Our Team's Highlights of 2019
Mirek Stiles, Head of Audio ProductsFavourite track of 2019: Sunflower Post Malone and Swae Lee – the perfect pop tune of 2019: melodic, catchy, beautifully produced and leaves you wanting more.
Favourite album of 2019: Ider Emotional Education - the more I listen to this stunning debut album, the more important it becomes to me. There is so much depth and soul going on here. Wu Baby is probably my feel-good tune of the year, whilst Saddest Generation just hits a raw nerve. I look forward to keeping an eye out on their journey, it will be special.
Favourite gig of 2019: Hatchie at the Moth Club. I discovered Hatchie through RED mentor Chagall when we were at SXSW. Hatchie’s tunes are pretty catchy with lush production. The atmosphere from the small crowd in the ex-working man’s club in Hackney was electric, it was just one big sing along.
Favourite work moment(s) of 2019: Finally getting everything working the way I want it too in Unity and creating a 6DOF VR Eleanor Rigby string octet experience.
Jack Franklin, Head of EventsFavourite track of 2019: Piano Joint - Michael Kiwanuka
Favourite album of 2019: Kiwanuka - Michael Kiwanuka
Favourite gig of 2019: We’ve done loads of great gigs here this year which have been brilliant to watch, but I saw a traditional Greek band play an open air gig in a village on a mountain top on a small Greek island and it blew me away. The ability of live music to bring people together never fails.
Favourite work moment(s) of 2019: Too many to mention them all – the managed chaos of the Abbey Road 50th Anniversary celebrations, another sold out Abbey Road Lecture series, welcoming the New York Knicks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Abbey Road for events, and the fact that 95% of Events we hosted this year have included live musical performances.
Judith Nicholas, Abbey Road Shop ManagerFavourite track of 2019: Hero - Michael Kiwanuka
Favourite album of 2019: Kiwanuka. Michael’s debut album was quietly released in 2012 and made some noise but it was his second album Love and Hate that debuted at Number 1 in 2016 that put him on the map, showcasing his song Cold Little Heart from the hit TV show Big Little Lies with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.
His sound is a blend of soul, folk, rock and r&b, and he's slowly making waves in the US.
Favourite work moment(s) of 2019: Anniversary week for the Abbey Road album. Setting up the pop-up shop as a team and creating a fantastic week for the customers who came to the studio lectures. Supporting Jack Lintorn at the BBC Introducing Live on his first hosting panel job. He did an exceptional job and I was very proud of him and all the team.
Sam McCarthy, Finance DirectorBest track of 2019: Strange - Celeste
Best album of 2019: KIWANUKA - Michael Kiwanuka
Best gig of 2019: Glastonbury. More specifically, The Killers' gig.
Favourite work moment(s) of 2019:
Personally - Enabling clear visibility, clarity and open dialogue of the AR Finances with the Management Team and UMG.
Studios – The amazing achievements made and publicity of the Studios by the teams over the 50th Anniversary celebrations.