London, England was electric with the Pop Music explosion of the mid sixties when Nick Blagona arrived there to be a part of it all. Nick began his recording engineer apprenticeship at Decca Studios and then became a staff engineer at Wessex Studios.
In 1971, on a visit home to Canada Nick met with André Perry and they discussed the unprecedented idea of building an environmental studio in the Laurentien Mountains. Word spread very quickly that North America's first residential recording studio housed a world-class engineer in Nick Blagona and that the setting was perfectly conducive to creativity and anonymity. 'If you build it they will come.' And come they did. Throughout the 70s Nick engineered albums for Chicago, Rainbow, The BeeGees, The Police, The McGarrigle Sisters, Uzeb, Robert Charlebois, and several repeat engagements by Cat Stevens and Nazareth.
Over the years this great sounding studio drew the likes of David Bowie, Rush, The Police,Tina Turner, Roberta Flack and Keith Richards,.
Nick began his production career with April Wine's Harder/Faster which reached #2 on Billboard's Top 200 and for which Nick was a Juno nominee regarding the singles, "Say Hello" and Streetheart's "Under My Thumb". This is an ever evolving industry and by late 1983, with offers requiring Nick to take substantial time away from 'Le Studio', he decided he'd pursue work as an independent engineer/producer., and so co-produced, engineered and mixed Kim Mitchell's 'Akimbo Alogo'. He also engineered and mixed both Boy's Bridgade's and Streetheart's most successful album. Nick became the creative engineer/mixer for Deep Purple when they reformed in 1983, engineering and mixing Perfect Strangers, House of Blue Light and Slaves and Masters. Meanwhile, Nick engineered and mixed several solo and duo albums for Roger Glover and Ian Gillan.
After nine years of lengthy recording jaunts around the world with Deep Purple, Nick wanted to get home to Canada. In 1992 he set home base in Toronto. Initially, aligning himself with a respected top-flight studio was necessary. McClear Pathé Studios was just that venue and for the first year Nick worked as the engineering supervisor there where he once again began developing Canadian talent . Nick recorded: Bruce Hornsby, Live at McClear; The Canadian All Stars: A Tribute to Glenn Miller; Memo Acevedo and the Jazz Cartel: Building Bridges; he also travelled to Nashville where he recorded George Jones, Live in Tennessee. (Nick also mixed this to video).
During the mid-nineties Nick Blagona produced many independent Canadian and American albums; he creatively engineered and mixed albums, he engineered musical film scores, he engineered for film and television, he continued to be prolific in many musical genres including country, classical, rock, pop, jazz and world music, and, he forged a new facet of his career as a Mastering Engineer.
In early 1996, Metalworks Recording Studios built a world-class mastering room with Nick Blagona in mind. Nick was asked to be the principal in-house Mastering Engineer. Almost ten years later Nick has mastered well over 3000 projects from across the continent and has gained an excellent reputation for himself, and Metalworks Mastering Lab has become Canada's leading mastering room.
Nick continues his production and engineering career. In the last half of the 90s Nick completed two engineering projects with the Toronto Tabla Ensemble and a 2B3 project with a world class B3 keyboardist, Lance Anderson, and members of Little Feat. He also co-produced, engineered, mixed and mastered a classic Jazz album, 'The Birth of Sprawl', for Rita Di Ghent.
With the new Century Nick mixed a second project for Gruvoria, a new breed of funky jazz. Nick worked with New York's Tommy West mastering Anne Murray's double inspirational album and completed the remix and mastering of Tea Party's Tryptich which went platinum in Canada and Australia.
Once again Nick pioneered sonic solutions in Canada, this time in DVD 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound for audio/video applications and worked with the brilliantly talented of Jeff Martin of Tea Party to create an interactive 5.1 Surround Sound CD ROM of Tea Party's best videos. David Usher asked Nick and Jeff Martin to create a retrospective of Moist in DVD 5.1 and Nick also worked with Todd Kerns' solo project as mixing engineer. In the early 2000s Nick engineered, mixed and mastered the new Tea Party CD InterZone Mantras, Nick produced and engineered projects for Hundred Mile House, The Kramdens, Jay Murphy, Neevah - now signed to a micro label in the U.S., Barnard & Brohm, 2 Standards Sessions Albums for Rita Di Ghent among others.
In 1998, with the advent of digital work stations, always interested in advancement within the art of recording and it's attendent technological innovations, and with his mind and sensibilities imbedded in the tropics, Nick opened his private home 5.1 studio environment, Psychotropic Studios. Here he nurtured his new passion, digital recording. Incorporated with analogue depth, the ease of handling tracks opened new vistas and realized expression in 'total recall' for the first time. Now a country fellow, he lives and works at home, he masters exclusively at Metalworks, and travels the world as an independent producer/engineer.
Nick has also been writing with artists in the new century. Zedsketch is just such a collaboration in which Nick co-wrote all the songs on the project. He's recently completed an exciting project with Michael Lee Jackson on which Nick also co-wrote a few tracks. Nick also co-wrote The Title track of Tommy Z's new Memphis-style Blues album "Universal Love" which he also produced.
3 Juno nominations
won a Felix for best engineer.
Nick Blagona has been integral to the history of music recording in Canada and internationally, and he has created recordings that played pivotal on the world stage in the industry for almost 40 years. From his early recordings to a 40 year retrospective of Ian Gillan's, Nick has been a mentor and inspiration to so many talented engineer/producers we know and respect today. He learned from the best and those that follow will be inspired by Nick's incredible body of work, as well.
He is a Canadian national treasure and his legacy will speak for itself.