“Trilogy Sound Studio is a minority and veteran-owned, woman-led music studio based in Burke, Virginia” that was founded in 2021.”
I spoke with CEO Sarah Benrazek about the studio’s mission and overall work, as they are quite prominent within the DMV community – the studio is the 3x Winner of Washington City Paper’s “Best Recording Studio” Award in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Trilogy’s “vision is to build a platform for music independence for artists, creators, and music students.” Its “mission is to empower artists through music education and technology in our full-service recording and music production facility. The studio’s values are: “Creativity, Personal Ownership, Mindfulness, Innovation, Eclectic Collaboration,” and “Inclusivity.”
Benrazek explains how Trilogy puts these values into action by the services it offers to the community. “We’ve built a few ways to introduce people to the fields of music production and audio engineering and also music business. We’ve actually developed a program called the MPACE program, which stands for Music Production and Audio Engineering Combined Education, and it took about a year to develop it.” The program is “a four-month project-based curriculum designed to introduce students to the fields of music production, audio engineering, and sound design.”
The recording studio also offers “A one-of-a-kind exclusive studio membership program designed to provide artists with accessibility, discounts and resources to support their career,” as well as “A team of engineers and producers that offer production, recording, mixing and mastering services in our state-of-the-art music studio.”
She speaks of how Trilogy originated: “The studio at the time was in the same location as it is right now,” she says. “It was basically run by a group of people, one of which happened to be Erin Wallace, who is currently my partner. At the time, he was a producer that I met, and we started working on an album together, and we kind of developed a friendship. And fast forward to today, he’s now my husband. So it was a little bit of a love story there. Erin and I started working on music, and our styles really meshed really well … In 2019, I made the decision to quit my job and actually pursue the arts and music independently. It was a very wild decision that I made because I pretty much had it all set; I had a really great job, but I just didn’t feel like this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, so in 2019 I ended up parting ways and Erin and I decided to really go after what we wanted, which is create something that was musical and collaborative.”
Benrazek said she got the opportunity to work overseas as a marketing manager for one year in Switzerland, then COVID hit. “In 2020, I ended up coming back and that studio was actually on the brink of closure because at the time there were no recording sessions going on — Everybody was in quarantine. Nothing really was happening for the music community … No more gigs, no more live shows … It was a very difficult time and the industry was hurting and that studio was hurting as well.”
She continues: “It was a decision that Erin and I made that we wanted to kind of stick it through and maybe conceptualize a new type of business idea with the studio and basically give it one more shot.” Their passion for the community led them to rebranding the location and launching Trilogy in March 2021. “We wanted to create a three pillar business based on music education, which is our first pillar; the second pillar is music creation (all of the things that facilitate the creation of a song, production, recording, mixing and mastering), and then finally music business and administration.”
She reflects on how information within the music business isn’t shared right away or able to look up online, and so Trilogy is there for music-making newcomers. “What we’ve seen is that there’s a huge appetite for understanding the music business,” Benrazek says. “So the main mission of Trilogy Sound Studio is to build a platform for music independence and we do that through educating people and sharing with them the resources.” The studio assures it is a safe space for clients.
Trilogy is partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools through an “Ignite Partnership”, “a high value, long-term relationship between a business, not-for-profit, or governmental entity and Fairfax County Public Schools.” “We really are big advocates of community engagement,” Benrazek says. The studio provides an internship program for students, as well as showcases and workshops. It has plans to get involved with even more school communities by expanding into other counties, such as Prince William County Schools.
“We want to get started to show that music is not just a hobby; you can actually make a career out of it, but it starts young. It also starts with educating the parents and showing them that people can actually make a living out of being in the music industry.”
Another way Trilogy has been involved in the local community is by hosting free open-mic night events, “and those have been very successful; we would have a full lineup with people on the waitlist,” Benrazek says. “Every time we’ve hosted it we’ve seen new faces – we’ve seen people who’ve come from D.C., Maryland, and even people who’ve come all the way from Richmond to Burke to perform … People bring their parents, their friends … We’re kind of in the first few phases of being super involved, but we really want to connect people together,” she continues.
“Our goal is for people to learn something new when they interact with somebody from Trilogy so they can feel inspired, can see the potential that they have, and build that confidence in themselves when they perform in front of an audience or even when they step into the booth and record a song,” she says. “We just really want to inspire people to do what they love.”
I asked the CEO what her favorite part would be about what she does, and Benrazek said, “Connecting with people and hearing their stories – hearing how they were inspired and seeing their success stories as well.” She explains that past clients have gone on to learn how to create their own songs and/or get jobs in the music field. “I always say when somebody comes to Trilogy as a client or a student I don’t really want to hold onto them forever because our mission is for them to become independent and then get their own wings and fly.”
Benzarek is very thankful that Trilogy has reached such a large number of people in the short time span of three years, including what led to winning the Best of D.C. Best Recording Studio Award three times in a row. Trilogy’s passion for learning sets them apart from other studios. “We want to keep aspiring to be the best and to always improve.”
Emma Page, a recent Journalism graduate of The George Washington University, possesses a passion for music journalism and storytelling in all its forms. Originally from Baltimore, MD, when she is not writing, she can be found at a local concert or making music of her own.
When D.C. venues were ready to reopen after COVID-19, indie pop duo GLOSSER was ready to perform. The two, Riley Fanning and Corbin Sheehan, formed the band pre-COVID out of a shared aesthetic vision and passion for music storytelling.
Their first album *DOWNER* was released in January 2023, however they have decided to release a [__deluxe version__](https://open.spotify.com/album/0KLORhtj3ohV4FtbdjoKu5?si=iNZX9fiZSm2M6V8pRdBkow) exactly one year later containing four new tracks – two remixes, a reimagined song, and a cover – that they are hoping will give it a second life and allow them to continue performing around the area.
The band explains that they have spent many shows opening for touring bands that traveled through D.C. “We made music and then venues started to open again,” Sheehan says. Rather than having the “typical grungy” D.C. band experience, they uniquely went straight to club shows.