'I had some space in one of my properties, so I built my offices here,' Reno says, 'I had this big space at the back, so I built a studio here. I sold one of my clubs to pay for it. 'By the time I started to look at everything, I realised that if you want the best studio, it costs a lot of money. I like buying things once I don't wanna save a $1,000 only to find that three months down the road, I wish I had spent that extra thousand. I like buying the best stuff, straight away.
For Reno, the 'best stuff' includes a Pro Tools HD recording system with a ProControl control surface, 14 Avalon microphone preamps, a Soundfield microphone, and Lexicon 480 reverb. 'I rung around and I talked to a load of people, and then I listened to a load of speakers,' he says. 'Everywhere you go has these Genelec speakers, I had a listen to them, I went to a couple of studios and the guys really raved about them, so I decided on them. I got a pair of Genelec 1038A as main monitors and a 5.1 setup using 1029As.
Then the girls walked in: 'I loved their voices so I produced a couple of tracks for them. The first time we recorded they blew me away. They only needed two or three takes and it was great, so that's how I left it.'
He needed no further encouragement and signed them up. They settled down to writing and recording songs together for a year. Abandoning his original plan to launch the girls' career abroad after 9-11, Reno turned to a contact at Sony. 'I played him the track and he signed us on the spot. I just wanted a one-record deal - my aim was get a gold record on my wall – but the single climbed every week and I achieved platinum.'
Shakaya subsequent released another single called 'Sublime', and their debut album followed before the end of 2002. They undertook their first tour with Human Nature and Bardot, and followed up with support slots with Kylie Minogue, Usher, Ja Rule, Shaggy and Pink.