As a born-and-raised, sixth generation Memphian, Ardent Studios is one of the institutions that makes me quite proud to call it my home. It wasn’t until a fateful day 3 years ago when I met producer, Pete Matthews at the mere age of 20 that Ardent would soon become my second home.
I had just dropped out of college in New Orleans, was homesick, angsty, and felt like I was wasting my time in a classroom when all I could dream, think, or speak about was doing music. As soon as Pete Matthews expressed interest in working together, I dropped everything and went running back to Memphis, with the gracious moral support of my parents and just enough money saved up for a duplex above my 90 year-old grandmother, right in the heart of midtown. Independence had never tasted so bittersweet…I finally had my own place, but didn’t know anyone in the city or a have a clue how to go about getting gigs. But as soon as I stepped through the legendary brick hallways of Ardent Studios and was introduced to the staff by Pete, I felt immediately welcomed and part of something to be truly cherished.
Well…I’ll admit, walking through those hallways covered with golden records and album covers and sitting in the studio with the session players over cigarettes and coffee (Dave Smith, Al Gamble, Steve Potts, Rick Steff) was all a bit daunting at first…to say I was green and timid is an understatement. But after working with Pete Matthews and Nick Redmond in and out of the studio for my first two EP’s and watching the way things work and seeing how graciously everyone treated each other…the potential I began to see in music as a life-long endeavor blossomed. A family of friends, supporters, muses, and motivators is what Ardent became to me and remains to this day.
One of the most unforgettable evenings at Ardent was the night they asked me to play some tunes for their “Ardent Presents” series in the famed Studio A. Intimately captured, and warmly lit, the entire evening was a stirring of songs, storytelling and an amazing, captivated audience. If only every gig could be as tightly connected to the audience as the Ardent Presents series is…everyone truly feels as if they are a part of history in-the-making. Leave it to folks like Rachel Hurley and Jody Stephens to come up with such a stellar way to capture Memphis’ present music scene.
Shooting forward to the present, I have released two EP’s with Pete, with several of them getting placed in indie films and TV pilots, and I have recently released my first full-length album (completely self-produced). If it weren’t for my experience with Ardent Studios and the amazing staff, I honestly don’t think I would possess the industry know-how or the confidence in myself and my craft that allows me to carry on today as a successful musician/songwriter/producer. And for that, I am forever indebted and forever grateful.