Ocean Way Nashville began with Gary Belz and Alan Sides in 1993. Sides was no stranger to running a successful recording studio; he owned Ocean Way Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. Belz ran the House of Blues studios in Encino, California, and locally here in Nashville. The two men teamed up to create a powerhouse studio in the heart of Music City. The building they purchased on 17th Avenue provided a dramatic and promising background, and came with a history of its own.
The Church of the Advent, an Episcopalian denominational church, laid the cornerstone in December 1910. They remained in the building until the 1970s. After their departure, the building transferred ownership several times; the YMCA housed a rehabilitation program, the Advent Theater remodeled to seat over three hundred for repertory plays, and Tony Alamo owned the building and used it as a church. Finally, in 1993, Sides and Belz purchased the historic structure with the intent of creating a new history. They spent years transforming the church into a world-class recording studio. In October 2001, Belmont University announced that the school had acquired Ocean Way Nashville. Pat McMakin was brought in to assess the viability, and suggested the idea of using the studio to educate Belmont students. President Robert Fisher took the idea, and hired McMakin eight years later as Director of Operations.
Today, Ocean Way Nashville serves as a premier recording studio, and is a fixture in Nashville’s Music Row. Belmont students work in the studios alongside incredibly talented and noted audio engineers. Notable clients include Blake Shelton, Beck, George Strait, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams, Bob Seger, Dierks Bentley, and Dolly Parton. It competes with such iconic studios as Abbey Road and Ocean Way Hollywood. The partnership with Belmont University has proved to be valuable not only to only of the region’s most prestigious institutions, but also to Music Row itself.