Music journalist/author Charlie Braxton and GRAMMY-winning engineer Chris Finney were among the participants at the recent GRAMMY GPS: A Road Map For Today's Music Pro hosted by The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter. During the event, Braxton and Finney participated in an exclusive interview with GRAMMY.com, discussing topics such as their favorite GRAMMY moments, the language of music and the value of smaller markets.
"[Artists] need to understand that small markets are very important," said Braxton. "If you are able to conquer those markets and create a confederation of markets around it, you can actually create your own huge market."
Hailing from Mississippi, Braxton is a journalist, playwright, poet, cultural critic, and music historian who played a key role in chronicling the rise of Southern hip-hop. He has contributed to music publications such as Vibe, Rap Pages, The Source, and XXL, as well as The Washington Post. He is the co-author of Gangsta Gumbo, a book detailing the comprehensive history of Southern hip-hop. Currently, Braxton is working on his forthcoming book, Music & Politics, to be published in 2014.
"Being down south [in] Louisiana, you think, 'This is what we do and we understand it. But does the rest of the world understand it?'" said Finney regarding winning a GRAMMY for engineering Rebirth Brass Band's Rebirth Of New Orleans in 2011. "Participating in something that so many people connect to, that's the real reward. But … when Rebirth Brass Band wins a GRAMMY, you go, 'Holy cow, this is great!'"
A two-time GRAMMY-winning engineer, Finney has collaborated with artists such as Marcia Ball, Harry Connick Jr., Sonny Landreth, Zigaboo Modeliste, and Randy Newman, among others. In 2008 Finney won his first GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his participation on Dr. John's City That Care Forgot. More recently, Finney engineered Marcus Miller's Renaissance, which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart earlier this year. Finney is the owner of the Music Shed, a New Orleans-based recording studio.