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

  • 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
  • Duncan is very honest and transparent, and the quality of work has been amazing!! He is also very good at explaining to a lay person such as my self what, how, and why of it all, which I learned a lot from. Would hire again in a heart beat.

    Charles Dwan
    Owner, Chef's Trading
  • Sounds Essential has been instrumental in helping modernize the Chamber’s IT infrastructure. They have been highly responsive and committed to finding solutions that work for us. Our office certainly runs more efficiently and effectively because of their help.

    Stephanie Edwards
    Exec. Dir., Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Sounds Essential were very responsive, everything works and it saved me time and the headaches of navigating the process myself. I've been back to them since and again received stellar advice and service.

    Lisa Kulujian
    Sapphire, NC
  • Duncan has been an AWESOME example of professionalism and service. Despite the time differences, he has been very quick to respond to the requests and has been very thorough, giving his time through Skype/shared screen, to fully understand the project. Bridging the gap between a customer's requests and the technical specifications is not always an easy task, but he was patient, knowledgeable and very helpful indeed. I would recommend him very highly.

    Nik Bishop
    Bishop MacKenzie Int'l School
  • Sounds Essential has become one of the greatest assets to our business and I am very happy with the continued excellent service they have provided.

    Capt. Tim O'Brien
    Blue Ridge Public Safety

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