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Leon Russell's Daughter Finds Magic In Tulsa's Church Studio

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Leon Russell bought the old church at the corner of 3rd and Trenton and created Tulsa's iconic Church Studio. Leon Russell bought the old church at the corner of 3rd and Trenton and created Tulsa's iconic Church Studio.
"This is easily the coolest recording space I've ever set foot inside," Alex Chiger, producer and composer, said. "This is easily the coolest recording space I've ever set foot inside," Alex Chiger, producer and composer, said.
Tina Rose, Russell's daughter, recording one of her father's favorite songs. Tina Rose, Russell's daughter, recording one of her father's favorite songs.

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Church Studio is a significant landmark in Tulsa's considerable musical history.

Leon Russell converted the old church into a recording studio in the early 1970's and over the years various artists have created enormously successful records there.

Now a new generation hopes there is some musical magic left in the Church Studio.

Singer Tina Rose is recording in the house her father built.

Her father, Leon Russell bought the old church at the corner of 3rd and Trenton nearly 40 years ago and created Tulsa's iconic Church Studio.

"The heritage of The Church is so long," Michael Block, The Church Studio, said.

Michael Block is the new operator of the studio. He acknowledges The Church's significant recording history.

"The history becomes a lot more important if you can have a future," Block said. "If we can make it go further."

That's what he's doing with Tina Rose. Michael Block has had successful recording studios on the east coast, but sold them to come to Tulsa because big studios like this not longer exist.

"This becomes crazy luxury, and its here in Tulsa," he said.

"This is easily the coolest recording space I've ever set foot inside," Alex Chiger, producer and composer, said.

Alex Chiger, Grammy winning producer and composer,  is in Tulsa too, to work with Tina and her music.

Michael heard Tina and her band one night, liked what he heard and asked her to record something for him.

She sang a little song for him she has sung for years. She says it's one of her father's favorites. It's always acappella, because no one's ever written music for it she liked.

"I was pretty blown away by it," Chiger said. "Immediately I had all these ideas about where I could take it musically."

But Tina was skeptical.

"I know I'm not gonna like it," she said. "How am I gonna break it to them, I don't like it?"

But she loved it. Alex did two versions for her she loved them both.

In the church turned recording studio her father built, Tina Rose finally found music she loves for the song he loves.

They're just beginning this collaboration, like a big game of musical scrabble, sorting and sifting the letter tiles that will eventually spell out success.

Michael Block and Circulus Records hope this will be the beginning of a long and successful relationship at The Church Studio.

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