Cameron Mann has been the studio manager at Young Avenue Sound recording studio in Cooper-Young for the past few years, though Memphians may know him better as his alter-ego, Lord T — the white-wigged half of the comedic rap duo Lord T & Eloise. Last week, Mann, no longer on staff at Young Avenue Sound, added a new title to his music resume: He's been hired as the director of music industry programs for the Memphis Music Foundation, working under foundation president Dean Deyo.
Mann will oversee the opening of the foundation's Memphis Music Resource Center, which is housed within the foundation's South Main offices and is slated to open May 30th.
The resource center is meant to be an educational and support mechanism open to the entire Memphis music community.
"What Memphis really lacks is a music-business infrastructure," Mann says, citing that the city's music scene has long been "DIY" ("do it yourself") and asserting that the resource center will be a way for the foundation to help local musicians help themselves.
"What we hope to create is a place where anyone can come in," Mann says.
The center will have computers loaded with software to help bands work on aspects of their career, from researching music-biz topics to designing show posters and CD covers. The center also will have an audiovisual room with a Pro Tools rig (purchased during the tenure of former commission and later foundation head Rey Flemings), which will be used to conduct recording workshops led by local engineers.
"We're consultants, essentially, and we want to be able to assist [local musicians] in all areas of their work," Mann says.
Mann began phasing himself out of the Young Avenue Sound operation a few months ago (the studio is owned by Mann's father, Don Mann) and was looking for another avenue within the local music scene. When he saw the foundation job listing posted in March, "it spoke to me on a personal level," he says.
"I've been waiting for one of the [local music] organizations to do something like this that's real," Mann says. "I think it's been disappointing to the arts community that [these organizations] haven't been able to do something tangible."
Mann's hire is the first of what could be a series of support-staff hires for the foundation, with a marketing position, a multimedia specialist, and a business coordinator potentially to follow.
Don't expect Mann's new gig to halt the momentum of his musical alter ego, though. Mann reports that Lord T & Eloise are putting the finishing touches on a sophomore album that features cameos from local rap stars Eightball, Al Kapone, and Nakia Shine. Mann hopes to have the album ready for release by mid-to-late June.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy welcome the family of Stax legend Otis Redding to town this weekend. Redding's widow, Zelma, and his three children, sons Otis III and Dexter Redding and daughter Karla Redding-Andrews, will be in town for two events.
The family will be guests at the music academy's SNAP! After School Spring Concert at the University of Memphis' Michael D. Rose Theater Saturday, May 17th. Otis III and Dexter will perform with the students. The concert starts at 7 p.m.; admission is $5.
The next night, Sunday, May 18th, the Redding family will sit on a panel discussion/Q&A at the museum's Studio A to talk about Otis Redding as both artist and family man. Conversations with the Reddings will take place from 5 to 7 p.m.; admission is $10 or free to museum members. In addition, Stax's current exhibit of items from Zelma Redding's personal collection, Otis Redding: From Macon to Memphis, has been extended through May 31st.
The latest edition of The Ardent Sessions, a monthly concert/recording session hosted by Rachel Hurley, is up on BreakthruRadio.com. This month's concert, recorded at the Midtown studio in April, features local rockers Lucero celebrating their 10th anniversary. You can hear Lucero's Ardent performance at BreakthruRadio.com/index.php?show=3784.