Fiddler Preston Schmidt Advances Nashville Career

ScreenShot20180709at4.03.24PM.pngPreston Schmidt, BSC’s 2011 Alumni Rising Star, now owns and operates two businesses in Nashville, Tenn., has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and run sound for artists like Zak Brown and Jimmy Buffet.

Eddie Stubbs announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Grand Ole Opry.” As the curtain lifted, Preston Schmidt (’07), played the opening notes to his band’s first song on his fiddle. He said it was a dream come true to play there. “It gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” said Schmidt. His band, Sheriff Scott and the Deputies, has performed there twice now.

Schmidt, BSC’s 2011 alumni of the year and Rising Star Award Winner, lives in Nashville, Tenn., and started taking violin lessons when he was 3 years old. “Ever since I was a little kid after I started playing the fiddle, I told my parents I’m going to move to Nashville. At one point, I had gone to Makoche Recording Studio in Bismarck. After spending some time there, I was hooked. I absolutely knew I was going to do recording.”
 
He was able to fulfill that lifelong dream of his when he started Studio 31 West in 2014 with his friend, Robert Trapp. “It’s so fun. I get to play with music all day long.” They record a variety of music, including country, Americana and punk rock. Schmidt said a highlight was recording a snapchat promo video for The Voice TV show’s 2012 winner, Cassadee Pope.

Because most musicians spend winters in the recording studio and summers touring, the summer is a slower time for the recording business. To stay busy year-round, Schmidt and his friend, Brandon Watson, began The IKB Technology Group, an audio visual company. They outfit universities and businesses with the technology they need for conference rooms and theater rooms.
 
Schmidt said that his time at BSC, and especially being in the honor society Phi Theta Kappa, was valuable in preparing him to own and operate his businesses. “My involvement helped me learn how to be an effective leader and teammate. I believe that those are very important for any endeavor in business or life in general.” To add to his list of accomplishments, he ran and was elected to be International Vice President of Phi Theta Kappa.
 
In addition to the businesses, Schmidt also runs sound at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, a restaurant and music venue in Nashville. He’s even run sound for Jimmy Buffet himself. “He got up on stage, kicked off his shoes, and said, ‘Preston, you know if you (mess) this up, it probably means you’re going to be fired. I’m just joking!’” Every Friday, he runs sound during the Music Row Happy Hour at Margaritaville, which airs on Sirius XM. As part of that, he has worked for artists, such as Luke Combs, Ashley McBryde, Lindsay Ell, Zac Brown Band, Tracy Berg, Tracy Lawrence and Amos Lee.


“BSC definitely had an important role in preparing me for the music industry. The music department offered me great instruction that allowed me to broaden my abilities and musical vocabulary and toolbox, so I could be ready for whatever I would encounter in my future.” The attentiveness of his professors is one of the reasons he’s thankful he attended BSC. “I think the part that helped the most was encouragement and advisement of the instructors that really got to know me. They were able to really challenge me and prepare me for the future.”

He and his wife, Megan, were married in September 2016 and are expecting their first baby, a boy, this May.

He said one of the only things left to accomplish on his list of life goals is to be nominated for a Grammy.     

Preston Schmidt, BSC’s 2011 Alumni Rising Star, now owns and operates two businesses in Nashville, Tenn., has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and run sound for artists like Zak Brown and Jimmy Buffet.

Preston Schmidt, BSC’s 2011 Alumni Rising Star, now owns and operates two businesses in Nashville, Tenn., has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and run sound for artists like Zak Brown and Jimmy Buffet.