Being drawn by the flourishing audiobook market, Tom and Ben Kelley bring their exciting vision of The Audio Bakery to Spring Valley. The transformation of the old Spring Valley Bakery is underway with the introduction of this new audio-bakery business. “Our audiobook production facility offers a real ‘baker’s dozen’ on Broadway Avenue with a lovely glass store-front and all of the original confectionary cases inside, creating a warm, sweet inspiration for those making and reading history in the audio booth and recording studio,” states co-owner Tom Kelley. This family team of Tom, Carin and Ben offers readers the ability to record or publish many subjects or interests ranging from “grandfather’s photos and recollections of exploits; a rock band’s stories, with their music; tales of home or family history; wartime service, or that yet unpublished great American novel.”
Tom elaborates, “Our ability to take a dream and turn it into a reality is at the core of our business. The Audio Bakery can make these dreams come true in either a printed word – traditional – book form (words and pictures) or the recently popular audiobook (spoken words, sounds and audio effects) using audio booth software developed by Ben which is also available for businesses to purchase.”
After years away from the state of his birth, Tom returned to Minnesota while searching for the best place to build a studio. Ben told his dad that in Fillmore County he found the perfect place “where the people are friendly, the air is clean and trout abound in clear cool waters.”
Tom has been interested in music and sound production since playing in and recording indie/original music in bands around the Twin Cities during the ‘80s. His educational journey led him first to Hamline University, then to William Mitchell College of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctor degree. In the meantime, he worked for MNPCA/US EPA in St. Paul. On returning to the North Star State, he met and married Carin Marie Weldon.
Ben Kelley, a musician, songwriter, producer and engineer, was born in Hastings, Minn., then moved to Arizona with his father. After graduating from Mesa Community College, his interests in the sound production and recording sciences grew. Ben was led to the Conservatory for Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona. Tom shares, “More recently, Ben’s post-Conservatory efforts have been as a software designer and programmer developing custom software to be used by digital recording engineers. Ben’s software – apps will allow recording (sound) engineers to manage sound quality and character, note by note, in a manner they have never before been able to do.”
This family business venture began after Tom finished a historical novel about his great- great-great-grandfather’s military service during the U.S. Civil War entitled “Civil War General – B. F. Kelley.” The experience of writing this first book, then converting it into an audiobook led Tom and Ben to seek an inspirational setting in which to create other audiobooks. The ongoing process of converting Peter and Brenda Haack’s family bakery into The Audio Bakery reached a point where the studio was ready to take on new projects. With one audiobook completed and for sale, the Kelleys have a half dozen other projects in the works. The goal of the new business is to provide services for those with an idea or manuscript, so their material can be taken to a copyrightable form/outlet for sale or just to be enjoyed.
Recording an audiobook requires a great deal of technical expertise: writing the book, recording the reading of the book, developing consistent sound quality and levels during perhaps 10 hours of reading, adding background music and sound effects, and finally, submitting the package for scrutiny and publication. The team at The Audio Bakery have the skills to walk an individual through the process or do a turnkey project. “It is the telling of a story with the spoken word, using technical expertise for uniformity, clarity and dynamic range, with music and sound effects to color the audio canvas,” comments Tom. “I believe that we can build a world-class facility in southeastern Minnesota and that people from all over the world will use it, many even coming here in person from throughout North America.”
The first audiobook produced features the voice of Tom, however, each story has its unique voice. Another reader involved with The Audio Bakery is Tom’s wife Carin. Tom mentions, “Carin is one of our extremely talented voice artists, and a poet and singer/songwriter. She has a very distinct audiobook voice especially when used in children’s stories and the more extraordinary female vocal performances.” Finally, The Audio Bakery is seeking unique local voice talent(s) from southeastern Minnesota, and readers interested in getting into this industry are encouraged to reach out to Tom, Carin or Ben for more information.
Price estimates for enduring and timeless projects vary and a quick quote is available by contacting Tom, Carin or Ben at The Audio Bakery, (507) 922-0066 or visit www.audio-bakery.com.
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