LAKELAND, Fla. — Taylor Swift loves Lakeland!
Okay, that may be a slight overstatement. But she definitely leaned on Lakeland for her new No. 1 album, "Folklore."
The 30-year-old pop star used gorgeous violin tracks recorded at the city's Sound House Studios.
"To me, it's very surreal," laughs owner and producer Jonathan Gautier.
"My ego has been very big over the past week and a half," adds Sound House engineer Mike Williams.
Both men were listed in the credits for "Folklore."
And yes, both cool music dudes totally flipped out.
The rock-and-roll tale goes like this:
Violinist Bobby Hawk is a session player in New York City.
Right before the pandemic, he got a call that super-producer Jack Antonoff needed his playing for a project.
That call turned into more work, including new violin parts for a mystery project. "It was just called Project X," says Hawk. "Very mysterious."
The only problem? The violin star was visiting his parents in Winter Haven when the pandemic struck.
It was tough getting back to NYC and he needed to record.
So he reached out to his friends at Sound House, which has been a staple in downtown Lakeland for years. The cozy recording studio caters to rising music acts, corporate gigs, even churches. Anyone can book time there.
Little did they know, they were about to go big time.
The three of them worked together on the violin parts, which are featured on the track "August" and more.
"It's nice to have a studio that feels like home," says Hawk. "These guys are chill."
It wasn't until right before "Folklore" was released that all of them, Hawk included, found out they were working for Taylor Swift.
"I woke up my wife and said, 'Oh my gosh, I think we're on a Taylor Swift album!,'" Gautier said with a smile.