The consoler and therapist behind the console
MATT Fell feels honoured to be able to help make musical dreams come true on The Recording Studio.
The ABC's heart-warming new series gives Australians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record in a world-class studio with industry professionals. They must overcome their fears and realise their dreams so they can give the gift of a song that tells their story to someone special.
"A lot of reality TV isn't real - there's a lot of trickery that can go on - but this isn't like that. It's very honest and real. That allows a person like myself, who has no idea about television, to be able to be a part of it," Fell says.
"I would have never imagined myself in a television show in any way shape or form."
Sydney-based Fell began his musical career as a sideman for some of Australia's top artists before moving behind the recording console. He has gone on to work with some of the biggest names in country music from Slim Dusty and John Williamson to Troy Cassar-Daley and Sara Storer.
He describes the role of a producer as part technician, part musician and part therapist.
"So much of producing is being a therapist or psychologist and just gauging what it is you need to do in that day," he says.
"I hate to spoil the illusion but a lot of artists can be a little bit sensitive sometimes, which is one of the things I love about artists. They need help in the studio and it's really not that different when you're working with a non-professional. They just need help getting in the right head space and feeling comfortable."
Working with a range of people - some of whom had terminal diseases or had experienced some form of tragedy - on The Recording Studio was an emotionally draining but ultimately rewarding experience.
"There were times I didn't know what to do," Fell says.
"We'd only just met. Was it as simple as do I give him a hug? Or is that invading his space? It was a very emotional experience for everybody on the show.
"In the end we had to focus as much as we could on making it a really positive experience for all of them."
The Recording Studio airs Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC-TV.