LifeNotes: Music Industry Veteran Tammy Brown Passes

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• July 31, 2017

Tammy Brown at the 2016 SOURCE Awards banquet in Nashville on Aug. 23, 2016. Photo: Moments By Moser Photography

Widely loved music-industry veteran Tammy Brown has passed away following a decade-long battle with cancer.

Brown worked for song publishers, record labels, producers and recording studios. She championed such artists as Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Keith Urban, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lee Ann Womack and Trisha Yearwood. In 2016, she won a SOURCE Award as a game-changing woman in the Nashville music business.

As a Music Row personality with over 30 years in the industry, Tammy Brown’s resume included stints at Sound Shop Studio, Tree Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Nashville and ole Publishing. Throughout her career, she always campaigned for musical and songwriting excellence.

Tammy Brown grew up on a small farm in Oklahoma with no indoor plumbing. Her passion for music led her to move to Los Angeles In 1975. She became a production assistant, spending hours at studios attending to recording session details.

Brown moved to Nashville in 1987. She landed a job at Sound Shop studios, owned by Buddy Killen of Tree Publishing. After a year, she moved over to Tree, booking their in-house demo studios. She assisted more than 100 Tree writers, and organized the publishing firm’s No. 1 parties.

Tree Publishing eventually became Sony Music Publishing. There, Brown became producer Paul Worley’s executive assistant for six years. When he moved to Sony Records, so did she.

She began pitching songs to Worley and to the label. In recognition, she was promoted to Sony A&R supervisor. Her ear for talent led her to match songwriters with artists for writing sessions. She paired Marcus Hummon with Richard Marx, Billy Ray Cyrus with Jude Cole, Mac McAnally with Bob Bennett and Travis Tritt with Casey Beathard, plus Rivers Rutherford.

Getting successful songs to Montgomery Gentry, McBride, The Kinleys, Billy Gilman, Tritt, Marty Stuart, Buddy Jewell and Cyrus led her to becoming Sony’s Associate Director of A&R. During this era, Tammy Brown also became a key figure in Leadership Music’s annual Nashville Music Awards balloting procedure.

After she left Sony in 2004, Brown became the Creative Manager for ole Songs. While there, her efforts for the publisher resulted in six hit singles and dozens of album cuts.

She withdrew from the industry when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Brown conquered leukemia in 2009. At that time, she was honored with a luncheon by the song-plugger collective Chicks With Hits. But by last year, her cancer had returned.

Tammy Brown went into hospice care and then died peacefully on Sunday, July 30.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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About the Author

Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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