BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – What do Rhianna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguliera and Kelly Clarkson all have in common? In addition to the obvious that they are female pop stars, they’ve all worked with Al Hemberger, one of the founders of The Loft Recording Studios in Bronxville.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with some really talented people,” Hemberger said. “Really fun to work with people who are signed and great singers.”
What started out as a children’s film and theater center in 1968 on Kraft Avenue evolved into a fully functional recording studio in the 1980s. Hemberger and his brother Ted went from working on children’s productions to recording their own music.
“It was a real community thing,” Hemberger said of the children’s theater. “When President Ronald Regan began cutting federal funding for art programs, we made our way into making this a studio full time.”
Hemberger began recording artists in the 1970s with the likes of Donnie Osmond, a relationship created from producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers. “They kind of made this their home base,” Hemberger said. Rogers would eventually go on to discover Rhianna in Barbados when she was a teenager.
“She was real young when she first came in here,” Hemberger said. “We got to see her come in as a real raw beginner, and now she’s just a great performer. Now she’s just hypnotic to watch.”
The Loft isn’t a large flashy studio, but Hemberger said they make do with what they have and it seems to work.
“We good do a good job here,” he said. “We work with people here even though when you look around and you can see its kind of funky in here, but its relaxed. It’s like your basement or living room.”
When Hemberger is not working as an engineer or a producer he’s creating his own music. His latest work includes a blues album with his band. The Renovators, which consists of his brother Ted on drums, Hemberger on bass and vocalist Bob Rasero on guitar.
For more information on The Loft studios visit www.theloftstudios.net.