Q&A: Red Lotus Studios Head Rickey Minor

After a storied career as a producer, bandleader, bassist and composer, Rickey Minor was introduced to mainstream America as bandleader for “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and longtime musical director of “American Idol.” Now he’s taken over an old film vault on the Sunset Gower Studios lot and launched Red Lotus Studios.

What inspired you to set up your own studio?

I had just seen “Sound City,” the Dave Grohl film, and it really inspired me. The (analog) console here is one of a kind. To play instruments through it changes the bandwidth and makes it fuller and stronger and warmer. When the console was loaded in, I felt some kind of energy enter the room. It’s like being handed the golden sword to slay the dragon.

Why Sunset Gower?

Because “Scandal’s” here, “The Newsroom’s” here, “Dexter” was here, Shonda Rhimes is moving her company to the lot. I could’ve bought a building in Pasadena or Calabasas and had a nice spread, but you don’t get to call a director or a singer and have them say, “I’ll be there in five minutes.”

What did you learn from your time at “American Idol”?

With “American Idol,” I produced all the songs for iTunes. We’d do 10 songs a day, mix in two days, master on the fourth day. I love that kind of recording. People (take too long, and) mix the heart and soul out of stuff.

And “The Tonight Show”?

That was a well-oiled machine we just stepped into. I miss those days where we went in at 2:00, made music, laughed a lot, and were out of there by 5:00. And Jay was always so gracious and incredible.

More Music

  • Mazzy Star’s David Roback Remembered by

    Mazzy Star’s David Roback Remembered by Bandmates and Friends

    David Roback, who passed away yesterday at the age of 61, was a founding member of three deeply influential ‘80s-era bands: the Rain Parade, Opal and Mazzy Star. That the same guitarist-songwriter-producer would play a founding role in three such different but equally far-reaching groups is in itself remarkable, but Roback’s shunning of the spotlight [...]

  • Clay Bradley of BMI

    BMI Nashville Brings Clay Bradley Back Into Fold as Creative VP

    Clay Bradley, a member of a music royalty family who first came up through the executive ranks at BMI Nashville, is returning to the fold as the performing rights organization’s VP of creative. He assumes the role March 17, reporting to Alex Flores, BMI’s senior VP of creative. Bradley steps into a position vacated by [...]

  • Maren Morris 53rd Annual CMA Awards,

    Maren Morris to Hit Road With 'Tour Bus Baby' for Summer Amphitheater Outing

    Maren Morris is not one for a super-extended maternity leave. After previously announcing a handful of festival dates for the summer, Morris has now revealed plans for a full amphitheater tour that will take her across North America through the summer months and into the early fall, wrapping with a return to L.A.’s Greek Theater [...]

  • SZA, Justin Timberlake Drop ‘The Other

    SZA and Justin Timberlake Drop First Song From 'Trolls World Tour'

    SZA and Justin Timberlake released “The Other Side,” the first song from the upcoming “Trolls World Tour” soundtrack. Of course, Timberlake’s Grammy-winning 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the first “Trolls” film, was one of the most massive hits in a career filled with them, and like that song, this one involves co-writer Max [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content