It's not easy for musicians to put out a number one hit, but it is easier if Travis Wyrick is in their corner. He's a music producer at the top of his game who turns band members into rock stars. And it all happens in his West Knoxville studio.
"Bands come to me with music and song ideas and I try to help get them to the next level," said Travis.
Every work day Travis' basement studio is buzzing with musicians. This day in particular he was working with Cord of 3, a band from Kentucky.
"His perspective is just incredible. He knows what to do, when to do it and how to do it. It's amazing. He's amazing," said Robbie Bennett of Cord of 3.
During this session, we found out Travis' coaching goes beyond music.
"I am on a diet now, a high protein diet cause he wants you to be physically the best, spiritually the best and emotionally the best," said Robbie.
And Travis would know. He went through quite a transformation himself at a young age. He started in music as a teenager.
"The band was Sage and we started in high school. I think by the time I was 16 I was already playing clubs," said Travis. "It was a fast-paced life."
The band was flying high.
"We played with Bad Company, Steppenwolf, Peter Frampton, Bon Jovi, that era. Great time for music! Great time for concerts!" recalled Travis.
In the middle of their success, Travis found out he liked more than just playing music.
"As the band went on, we would start to do records and write songs and I guess the control freak in me took over and I was writing parts and conducting people and telling people what to do," said Travis.
He soon realized he liked the album he produced better than the one they paid thousands of dollars for.
"It did really well for the band. We had some songs on it that charted nationally," said Travis.
And then other bands came calling.
"A lot of people have so much in them, but they don't know how to get it out," said Travis.
His band had run its course, so Travis started producing full time, all kinds of music from all genres: P.O.D, Eric Baker, Jagstar, even Dolly Parton. He built an amazing studio and started bringing in the accolades, two Grammy nominations, 11 Dove Award nominations, two Dove Awards, 20 number one singles. He was in his element and enjoying every minute.
"Helping break artists, helping take someone who doesn't know how to get from point A to point B or has a ton of talent but just doesn't know what to do with it," described Travis.
His success hasn't come without struggles. When his mom passed away, it took a huge toll on him.
"When you have a death, especially such an awesome role model in your life, you really start for the first time stop being selfish and you start really analyzing who you are and what you are," said Travis. "I really just started praying and trying to get my life straightened up and trying to figure out who I was. October 25, 17 years ago I just made the conscious effort to never drink again."
Now while this studio is consistently churning out chart-topping hits, he knows exactly what's important.
"I don't over work. I'm not a 10-12 hour day guy," said Travis. "To me it's all about family. I mean what good is all this success if I obsess over it and I try to die with ten million dollars in my coffin. It would be worthless."
Travis Wyrick, a big-time music producer musicians flock to who pushes them to their limits, but makes them succeed. Still East Tennessee is the only place for him.
"The more I saw other towns and the more these places that I thought I would one day want to live, the more I realized I loved Knoxville," said Travis.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.