Interview SummaryBorn in the 1930s, Fine details her early beginnings as a music education student at North Texas University, as well as her work for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Fine talks about her struggles to break into the music business in New York, and discusses the types of jobs she was not interested in. She talks about how she came to work for Mercury Records, at the insistence of an artist who was impressed with her work. Fine talks about Mercury importing music from Europe and their policy of remastering them. She talks about why she worked to change that policy. She talks about her rise through Mercury Records, eventually becoming the Vice President of the New York office. She talks about her work recording orchestras and her emphasis on quality during the recording process.
Fine talks about Mercury Records' process of stereo recording. She talks about their microphone placement, the equipment they used, and how she focused on quality during the recordings. She talks about how changes in types of records and the transition from record to tape changed the recording industry. While she wasn't the only woman working in the industry, Fine recounts feeling that her gender wasn't a critical part of the importance of her success. She states in this interview that she believes that her worth ethic, drive, dedication, and skill gave her the upper hand to succeed and do the work she wanted to do. She offers advice to young women facing discrimination and hardships breaking into the industry to persevere and let the quality of the work one does stand for them.
Fine talks about her husband Bob's work as an engineer for various studios and labels throughout his career, including Reeves, Majestic, and Miller, among others. Born in Long Island, Bob Fine got his start in music technology and engineering as a young child. Having been an inventor and having many patents, he was familiar with innovation and technology. As a small child, he would repair electronics and various household products for his family. While he was self taught and had an early passion for technology and innovation, he fine tuned his skills in sound production when he was drafted in World War II. While drafted, he worked with radar technology which built on his curiosity and passion for music and sound innovation.
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Fine, Wilma Interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. 05 May. 1999. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Fine, W. (1999, May 05). Interview by S. S. Horning. Chasing Sound Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Fine, Wilma, interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. May 05, 1999, Chasing Sound Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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