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September 21, 2017

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Music producer Zoe Thrall: Behind these walls of Studio at the Palms


L.E. Baskow

Zoe Thrall and Qiana Conley present a Grammy Signature Schools Gold Award to Las Vegas Academy of the Arts for achieving Grammy Signature Schools Gold status Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Thrall is director of Studio at the Palms and Conley is governor of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy.

Click to enlarge photo

Pat and Zoe Thrall in Studio at the Palms, Monday Feb. 4, 2012.

Jamie Foxx's 44th Birthday at the Palms

Jamie Foxx celebrates his 44th birthday at the Palms on Dec. 12, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Imagine Dragons at the Joint; Dan Reynolds Spins at Body English

Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons in concert at the Joint on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas. Afterward, frontman Dan Reynolds played DJ at nearby after-hours club Body English. Launch slideshow »

The Killers at The Chelsea: 12/28/12

The Killers perform in The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012. Launch slideshow »

As Robin Leach wraps up a northern Italian lake district lifestyle before his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy — plus Lake Como and Lake Maggiore this year — many of our Strip personalities have again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Studio at the Palms recording hitmaker Zoe Thrall.

Behind the doors of the city’s premier recording studio, things happen. Amazing things happen. Crazy, amazing and insanely cool things happen.

Until now, you may have never heard these stories, so I thought that I would give you a look at some of the action that takes place on the other side of the Studio at the Palms door.

These are some of my favorite moments in history since Studio at the Palms opened in December 2005.

In 2007, several of our favorite moments took place. The nearby Pearl at the Palms was the main home to the MTV Video Music Awards, which means the entire casino was taken over by your favorite pop and rock acts.

That also was the big year of Britney Spears’ comeback. The show featured performances in several hotel suites from artists like Rihanna, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake.

What you didn’t see was that through the technology housed at Studio at the Palms (which also is hard wired to the Pearl for live concert recording), the entire show was filtered through the Studio and out to satellite trucks, up into the universe and live into your televisions with just a 20-second delay. Pretty insane!

That also was the year one of the greatest unplanned musical collaborations took place. Studio at the Palms consists of two studios — X and Y. Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion was recording in Studio X, and R&B artist The Dream was working on his new album in Studio Y.

Dion walked by when she heard a beautiful ballad coming from The Dream in Studio Y. One thing led to another, and guess where the song ended up? On Dion’s chart-smashing album “Taking Chances” — the song is called “Skies of L.A.,” and she sings it flawlessly.

Through the years, Dion has recorded three albums at Studio at the Palms, and The Dream has laid down tracks to four solo albums.

Artists can get work done in this wonderful city of ours. People often ask, “How does anyone get any work done recording in Las Vegas?” I tell them that you just can’t beat what Las Vegas, and more importantly the Palms, has to offer.

From the secret entrance and the access to some of the world’s top suites to the amenities that are still open at 3 a.m. when an artist leaves the studio — food, gambling, nightlife.

And that brings me to the next cool moment. While recording late one night, Jamie Foxx wanted some immediate feedback on a new track. So what did he do? He literally took the song up the elevator to Moon, where the DJ happily played the new track, and the dance floor was bumpin’!

While Jamie made it known that he was in the house, most opt for privacy. In 2008, Michael Jackson spent three months working at Studio at the Palms, and no one knew that he was at the hotel, not even the majority of the staff. One of the tracks recorded at Studio at the Palms was “Hold My Hand” with Akon, which was released posthumously in 2010.

And the Studio has other uses. We’ve hoisted up a BMW by crane multiple times in the past because where else would you even think about showing off your new car stereo design if you’re Harman Kardon, one of the top manufacturers of car audio?

But, through it all, it’s about the artists, writers, producers and engineers who flank the studio time and again to create amazing music you listen to every day.

From Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to hometown boys Imagine Dragons and The Killers, Studio at the Palms has been a part of the making of records that have sold more than 30 million copies and led to 12 platinum records, eight gold records, 18 No. 1 records and four Grammy Awards.

But who’s counting? We’re too busy creating moments of a lifetime.

Be sure to read our other guest columns today from Myron Martin, president and CEO of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and nightlife kingpin Jack Colton. Our guest columnists this week include Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman, Elton John’s partner David Furnish, gorgeous “Fantasy” topless beauty Tracey Gittins, three cast members from “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas and “Mamma Mia!” at Tropicana, singer and Las Vegas resident Pia Zadora and Food Network chef and World Food Championships host Ben Vaughn.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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