The schedule of guest speakers for MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry for the month of October looks like a list of red-carpet names from a music awards show, culminating with an Oct. 28 conversation with music icon Barry Gibb.
“I am so grateful that these music industry leaders are sharing their experience and wisdom with MTSU students,” said Beverly Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry.
“They come from different areas of the industry, as well as various musical genres, and will offer their unique perspectives on the music industry. Their personal stories will enhance what our students are learning in the classroom. Our students are buzzing with excitement over these events.”
Great American Country’s Sarah Trahern is first on the itinerary, speaking today, Oct. 1, at 5 p.m. in Room 221 of MTSU’s McWherter Learning Resources Center as part of the department’s Chair’s Speakers Series.
Trahern has more than 27 years of experience in the cable television business, including two decades producing or overseeing country music programming. She is general manager/ senior vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive’s Great American Country, where she oversees all aspects of the network, including programming, marketing, creative and online products.
After beginning her cable career at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C., covering politics and public affairs and producing the popular series “Booknotes,” Trahern moved to Nashville in 1995 to oversee specials and entertainment series for TNN. She joined GAC in 2005 and was named general manager of the network in 2010.
On Monday, Oct. 7, the department will welcome Grammy-nominated R&B singer Kenny Lattimore, artist manager Michelle Tafoya and Grammy-nominated producer Nathan Chapman in the next installments of the Department of Recording Industry Chair’s Speakers Series.
Lattimore and Tafoya will speak at 11:30 a.m. in Room 221 of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building at MTSU.
Lattimore, known for his hits “Never Too Busy” and the Grammy-nominated “For You,” has garnered two gold-selling albums and the NAACP Image Award for Best New Artist as well as nominations from the Soul Train Music Awards and the Stellar Gospel Music Awards.
In addition to his music, Lattimore is an actor, appearing in movies like “The Seat Filler” and “A Cross to Bear,” TV shows “The Young and the Restless” and “Moesha” and theatrical performances “Loving Him Is Killing Me” and “ A Change is Gonna Come.”
Tafoya, who also is Lattimore’s manager, has worked with some of the biggest entertainment names in the world, including Lionel Richie, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Iovine and John Legend. Tafoya, the owner of InHouse Management, began her music career at Interscope/Death Row Records, where she handled confidential projects during the height of the success of Tupac Shakur.
Chapman, best known for producing superstar Taylor Swift as well as The Band Perry, Lionel Richie, Sara Evans, Shania Twain, Colbie Caillat and Jewel, will speak at 2:20 p.m. Oct. 7 in Room 160 of MTSU’s College of Education Building. Also a songwriter with cuts by Caillat, Martina McBride, Lauren Alaina, Sara Evans and Rascal Flatts, Chapman recently signed a deal with Universal Publishing.
On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Country Music Association-nominated singer/songwriter Kip Moore will speak at 6 p.m. in LRC 221 in a lecture sponsored by Grammy U, the college networking arm of The Recording Academy. This event is open only to Grammy U members and recording industry students, per the Recording Academy.
Moore is signed to MCA Nashville and has earned three consecutive No. 1 hits: "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck," "Beer Money" and "Hey Pretty Girl." Moore, who is nominated for New Artist of the Year at the 2013 Country Music Association Awards, also co-wrote two tracks on Thompson Square's debut album and James Wesley's single "Walking Contradiction." His album “Up All Night” was the best-selling country debut released last year.
Grammy U most recently brought Grammy-nominated audio engineer Young Guru, who’s engineered records for Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Ghostface Killah, T.I., Mariah Carey and Drake, to campus last spring.
Ariel Hyatt, president and founder of New York City-based social media PR firm Ariel Publicity, will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, in LRC 221.
Hyatt's musical clients have included Lee Scratch Perry, Kelly Richey, George Clinton, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Derek Sivers of CD Baby. She is the author of "Music Success in Nine Weeks" and co-author of "The Musician's Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter."
In 2007, Hyatt launched CyberPR, an online business venture that represents books and authors as well as music industry clients. MTSU has offered a master class based on publicity principles developed by Hyatt and Cyber PR, including hands-on work with PR campaigns, since 2011.
MTSU will welcome Gibb to Tucker Theatre at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28. Gibb, one of the founding members of the Bee Gees, is the world’s most successful songwriter after Paul McCartney, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and has a career spanning more than 50 years.
Gibb and his brothers have been topping the charts since the 1960s, becoming the only group in pop history to write, produce and record six straight No.1 hits. The Bee Gees had 16 Grammy nominations and nine Grammy wins.
Gibb also has had No. 1 songs in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s 1990s and 2000s and is the only songwriter in history to write four successive U.S. No.1 hits: The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" in 1978, replaced by youngest Gibb brother Andy’s single, "Love Is Thicker Than Water,” followed by the Bee Gees' seven-week run for "Night Fever” and Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You.” The Bee Gees’ and Elliman’s singles all originated with one of the top-selling albums of all time, the film soundtrack from “Saturday Night Fever.”
With the exception of Moore’s Grammy U lecture, all the guest speakers’ appearances are open to the public.
Gina E. Fann, News and Public Affairs - Middle Tennessee State University