Middle Tennessee State University has opened a new set of recording studios for its students in the Department of Recording Industry.
The new studios are located nearby to the university’s original free-standing studio, opened a few years after MTSU’s recording industry program awarded its first bachelor’s degree in 1974. The new MTSU studios, Studios D and E, contain nearly 5,000 square feet of customized, expandable, “world-class” space, complete with control rooms, equipment rooms and an open gathering/reception area.
“These are going to be extraordinarily valuable,” department chair John Merchant said of the nearly $2 million facilities. “It’s a massive upgrade from where we were; the previous studios were very modest.”
2018 graduate BryTavious “Tay Keith” Chambers was recently invited back to campus to get a sneak peek of the new facilities. Tay Keith is a Memphis native and an Integrated Studies graduate of MTSU’s University College. The same month that he graduated from MTSU, a track he co-produced, Travis Scott’s “SICKO MODE,” went double Platinum and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and he was nominated for two Grammy Awards.
Since then the 25 year-old has seen “Sicko Mode” reach Diamond-sales status; worked with artists including Drake, BlocBoy JB, Wiz Khalifa, Future, Beyonce, DJ Khaled, Miley Cyrus, Gucci Mane, Lil Nas X and Lil Baby; and was included in Billboard’s 50 Greatest Producers of the 21st Century list.
Also at the tour of the new facilities was MTSU student and Tay Keith’s stylist, Tyland Jackson; Tay Keith’s manager, former MTSU student and Howard University grad, Cambrian Strong; and MTSU alumnus, Tay Keith’s PR director and executive at their Drumatized record label and production company, Nick Brownlow.
“I love these ceilings. The sound’s going to be tight,” Chambers said after listening to recordings, inspecting equipment and answering a handful of students’ questions in a studio control room, then walking out and gazing up nearly 17 feet in the recording area.
Merchant and the college named both Tay Keith and Brownlow “honorary professors” in the recording industry department during their visit, citing their devotion to completing their own education as well as educating future students with scholarships, internships, classes and other opportunities.
“We’re all graduates of MTSU and appreciate the university supporting us like this,” Tay Keith said. “We’re connecting the dots from MTSU and education to the culture.”
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