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Sound Judgment: Laura Sisk a Swift Staple

Woman sitting in a recording studio
Laura Sisk, who studied at the IU Jacobs School of Music, is a freelance recording engineer who works in Los Angeles and New York. Courtesy photo.

A skim of the credits of Taylor Swift’s last eight albums will reveal a common phrase: “Vocals recorded by Laura Sisk.”

The Grammy Award-winning recording engineer is a constant in Swift’s discography and contributed to Swift’s Album of the Year Grammy wins for 1989, folklore, and Midnights.

Sisk, BS’10, grew up in California and has always been heavily immersed in music—playing piano, clarinet, and the oboe. Her passion for recording arts began in high school, where she first learned how to use a recording system.

“My friends and I started applying for all-state honors bands and orchestras, and we needed to record audition tapes,” says Sisk in a Huffington Post interview.

That need turned into a passion that led her to the IU Jacobs School of Music: “The recording arts department played a huge part in getting me where I am now,” says Sisk. “The program gives you an incredible amount of hands-on experience and a pretty expansive foundation to build any career on.”

She adds: “I feel forever grateful for the education I received at IU, and I consider all of the recording arts faculty I worked with to be my mentors; they have been huge influences in my life. Their support and mentorship have continued long since I graduated.”

Following IU, she moved to Los Angeles and made her way in a typically male-dominated field. Experience, personal growth, and the guidance from IU professor Mark Hood—“trust your bullshit meter and your judgment”—helped Sisk shift her perspective and acknowledge what she brings to the table.

And she brings plenty, and not only to Swift—Sisk has worked with artists such as Florence + The Machine, Diana Ross, Lorde, Bleachers, and P!nk.

“I feel that as a woman, I have a unique perspective working in the studio,” says Sisk, who has earned a total of four Grammy wins and nine nominations. “I connect with artists differently and add diversity to the control room that I think makes the projects I work on better.”

Written By

Lacy Nowling Whitaker

Lacy, a Bloomington native, earned two degrees from IU Bloomington (BA'08, MA'14) and is the Director of Content with the IU Alumni Association.

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