Photo: Marcus Ingram/WireImage
T-Pain, Ari Lennox & More Heat Up Atlanta At Recording Academy Member Celebration
Atlanta loves a good party, and the Recording Academy Atlanta Chapter especially loves its Summer Celebration — always a raucous reunion of friends and colleagues, clients and collaborators, and performances by artists at the top of their craft.
On Thursday, July 25, Atlanta's music community came out in force to Terminal West, a popular music venue in trendy West Midtown, who took a night off from hosting some of the industry's hottest acts to welcome Recording Academy members, special guests and honorees. Chapter-affiliated artists Baby Rose, Michelle Malone, Ari Lennox, Blanco Brown, and T-Pain took the stage in individual sets, heating up the joint just when guests thought they'd cooled from the hot Georgia heat.
Atlanta Chapter Executive Director, Michele Caplinger, started off the evening welcoming the standing room only crowd and recognizing Josh Bonner (R – Fayetteville), Beth Moore (D - Peachtree Corners) and Matt Dollar (R – Marietta) — members of the Georgia House of Representatives in attendance, who supported the Music Modernization Act nationally and House Bill 347 locally, revising certain tax laws and exemptions aiming to bolster the music industry and associated spending within Georgia.
Newly elected Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Tammy Hurt, announced that earlier in the day local advocacy group, Georgia Music Partners, in partnership with Sound Diplomacy, a global music strategy expert, unveiled the launch of a comprehensive study of recording studios, rehearsal spaces, music festivals, and music venues within Fulton County. The study will map related businesses across the geographic area and assess the economic impact of the music industry within Fulton County. Al Nash, CEO of Select Fulton, and Robb Pitts, Chairman of the Fulton County Commissioners, were on hand to announce the study in the morning, and they celebrated the announcement alongside the supportive Recording Academy in the evening.
With essential business concluded Jorel "J-Fly" Flynn, Atlanta Chapter president, took the stage and reiterated what has become the mantra of his tenure: engagement. Flynn explained afterward that he wants active and prospective Recording Academy members to know that the Recording Academy, "Reflects working musicians and artists, and with that comes connectivity. We meet musicians and artists at their place of understanding, and the new membership models validate inclusion through intimate conversations where we make connections with one another. Together we balance new innovation and industry experience that can be shared."
Baby Rose, a young performer who embodies Flynn's message, performed first. Afterward she excitedly said, "Performing for the Atlanta chapter of the Recording Academy was a dope experience! I am honored and happy to have been able to share my music with them."
Diane Durrett, stalwart of the southern Blues scene and Atlanta chapter VP 2019-20, kept the excitement going when she stepped up to the mic and crooned, "Diversity is unique, soul is deep," enticing the crowd to sing the line with her before introducing another of Atlanta's favorite female musicians, Michelle Malone.
Commanding the stage in her full-on rock-n-roll set, Malone later echoed Durrett's call, saying "It's always an honor to be asked to perform, but it's a special treat to perform for a room of [Recording Academy] members, music industry peers who love music as much as we do. Plus it's a kind of reunion, because I don't often get to see a lot of these folks. Then there's the added plus of playing to members in other genres who would've never otherwise heard us."
Recording Academy members continued grooving the night away to performances from Ari Lennox, 2-time GRAMMY winner, T-Pain, and Blanco Brown. Ian Schumacher, Atlanta chapter Secretary, welcomed Brown to the stage and presented him with a plaque commemorating Brown's first single, "The Git Up," reaching gold status.
Said Brown about performing at Summer Celebration, "It's a blessing. From the day I can remember seeing my first GRAMMY show on television, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (Off the Wall), TLC… I was always figuring out, and I tried to wonder, how would I ever make such an impact to be a part of that stage. And I just followed my dreams and my goals. To be here tonight and to perform and have the love in the room filled — and the purpose in the room — feels so magical to me."
That magical feeling was everywhere at the Atlanta Chapter's summer celebration, from the passionate performers to the supportive veteran industry professional to the aspiring future moguls of music, everyone in attendance could feel the warmth of the good vibes and rejuvenating feeling music provides. Or as Brown so eloquently put it, "Every time I touch the edge of that stage, I touch a new life."