About Us

Sounds Essential is an independent company offering website design and development, FileMaker Pro database and custom app development, and Marketing in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Western North Carolina. Backed by more than twenty-five years' combined experience in the fields of marketing, operations and IT management, we focus on providing innovative yet cost-efficient solutions for small, independent and start-up businesses, organizations and individuals.

Our Team

Sounds Essential got its start as a registered music publishing company, representing the interests of musicians, composers and smaller publishing companies in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. Partnering with artists from all over the world gave us a front-row seat to the challenges and obstacles faced when small or independent groups are scrambling to take care of the business side of things. So we expanded our services to help those artists and other small or independently owned and operated businesses and organizations succeed and grow despite limitations that often include shoestring budgets and stressed out in-house resources.

Duncan Baker

Co-Owner, FileMaker & Custom App Developer

With a background in international operations and IT management, Duncan Baker's expertise lies in finding modern, sensible solutions to the problems that often hinder or prevent a business from running as effectively and efficiently as possible. His previous work experience includes General Manager at World Music Network (London) and VP of Operations at Putumayo World Music (New York). He is a graduate of Kings College in London, England.

Mary Alice (Malice) Grant

Co-Owner, Web Developer & Marketing Consultant

Mary Alice (Malice) Grant has worked for more than 15 years in the fields of music, educational travel and tourism marketing. Her previous experience includes Assistant Director of Marketing in the Expeditions department of the American Museum of Natural History, Marketing Director at Putumayo World Music, and as a freelance marketing consultant for software developers, independent retailers, real estate agents, artists and musicians. She is a graduate of Smith College.


Client Testimonials

  • Sounds Essential is a trusted partner on several demanding and highly complex development projects. Their technical skills, creativity, and most importantly, their grasp of our business needs has helped our company deliver sophisticated solutions to our (very happy) clients. Even when projects reach the "intense" stage, we really enjoy working with Sounds Essential.

    Pam Henry, Managing Partner
    Digital Spark LLC
  • Sounds Essential worked with our staff last year to create the first digital plant database in our organization’s history. This milestone not only benefits the day to day work flow of our organization, it creates the opportunity for us to share our data with others worldwide. Due to our niche high elevation ecosystems, we can share valuable insight about native plant communities and how they are adapting to climate change. Without the help from SE and funding from Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust this project would still be in conception. Working with SE made the development and implementation a pleasure for us gardeners.

    Kelly Holdbrooks, Exec. Director
    Southern Highlands Reserve
  • Sounds Essential is the best! Our company website and database are essential parts of our business. The website and database give us the professional look of who we are while also making our work flow so much easier! We highly recommend Sounds Essential.

    Charles Dwan, Owner
    Chefs Trading
  • Sounds Essential's team is the perfect combination of creativity, aesthetic vision, and technical expertise which enables them to provide innovative products. They are always responsive with questions, issues, and technical support and as the technology changes they adapt accordingly. We highly recommend Sounds Essential and they are indeed ‘essential’ to our business model.

    Wesley Wofford, Owner
    Wofford Sculpture Studio
  • Sounds Essential was a pleasure to work with from start to finish. With their guidance, we were able to update our website quickly and present a more polished and modern interface for our church. The documentation provided was clear and easy to follow, and they have been quick to respond to any questions.

    Kirsten Huscusson, Parish Administrator
    Church of the Incarnation
  • Between their exceptional level of service and versatility of skill, Sounds Essential is my first stop for anything from IT to creative... and they're my favorite partner, hands down.

    Leah G. Fallon, Owner
    Eleven Eleven Creative

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