Music in the City explores the future of Memphis music

Join High Ground and EPIcenter for Music in the City on the evening of February 23. This speaker event will offer a discussion on the future of music entrepreneurship in Memphis. Register for free today to be a part of the conversation. 
Join us next week for Music in the City, a speaker event presented by High Ground News and the EPIcenter. This is the next event in our series of discussions on entrepreneurship in Memphis. Held at Cowork Memphis on Tuesday, February 23, the event is free and open to the public, but please register to reserve your spot. Enjoy an opening reception from 5:30pm to 6pm with an audience focused discussion from 6pm to 7pm. Speakers will relate their experiences as entrepreneurs, answer audience questions, and discuss their visions on the future of Memphis music.

Ever since WC Handy composed the Memphis Blues in the early 20th century, music has played a major role in Memphis' identity. From the mid-century musical revolution Sun Studios produced to the recent hit Uptown Funk coming out of Royal Studios, Memphis has shaped modern American music from rock to soul.

Today, the music industry is ripe for disruption through technology and innovation-- and in what better place than Memphis? How can Memphis compete with the infrastructures of music industry cities like Nashville? As a city that has never lacked for talent, how can we ensure our musical legacy continues to thrive throughout the 21st century? With technology allowing musicians to produce and collaborate remotely, how can Memphis remain relevant as a music hub? 

Music in the City will explore those questions and the future of Memphis music with local music entrepreneurs.

"From EPIcenter’s perspective, music ties into our city's entrepreneurial movement as a fundamental part of Memphis’ narrative and authentic personality. Our musicians and entrepreneurs in this space are part of what makes Memphis who she is, and we should embrace this part of our legacy and heavily promote it as one of our city's assets," said ?Leslie Smith, EPIcenter's President. 

While Memphis is home to many resources for entrepreneurs, Smith thinks there is plenty of room for growth. "We're excited to support the organizations that are making an intentional investment in restoring the music ecosystem here, like MMT Continuum and Start Co. This provides huge opportunities for musicians and the entrepreneurs creating supporting technologies to build their careers and companies in Memphis," she said.
 
Our Panelists

Elizabeth Cawein is the CEO and Founder of Signal Flow Public Relations, a boutique music publicity and marketing firm.

She holds a B.A. in journalism from Murray State University and an M.A. in contemporary music from Brunel University. She founded Signal Flow Public Relations in 2011 after discovering her passion for music publicity while working as communications and development coordinator for the Memphis Music Foundation. It was that work that ultimately helped Elizabeth tap into the dream gig: working directly with artists on publicity, promotion and helping them get their music heard by fans and industry professionals. 

In four years, the company has grown from a borrowed upstairs office at a recording studio to a storefront in Memphis’ historic South Main Arts District. The Signal Flow portfolio includes solo artists, bands, venues, recording studios, music start-ups and music non-profits such as Archer Records (Amy LaVere, Motel Mirrors), the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Visible Music College, Wendy Moten, The Recording Academy, Alexis Grace, Beale Street Caravan, Keith Sykes and more. Elizabeth has taught at the Stax Music Academy and Visible Music College and currently serves as an adjunct professor of music publicity at the University of Memphis. In 2013 she was named to The Memphis Flyer's Top 30 Under 30, and in 2015 she was honored by the British Council at its inaugural Education UK Alumni Awards, celebrating outstanding U.S. alumni of British institutions, for her entrepreneurial work.

Zac Ives is co-owner of Goner Records, an independent record label and shop based in Memphis, TN. Goner has been recognized as one of the top independent labels in the country by Billboard Magazine, and as one of the top record stores in the country by Rolling Stone. They have released over 125 records, including albums by Ty Segall, Jay Reatard, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Nobunny. 
 
Every September, Goner bring bands and music fans from all over the world to Memphis for Gonerfest: three days of wild rock & roll abandon in small venues around town. The festival has received raves from Pitchfork, Spin, eMusic and Paste. 
Ives is also founder and curator of the River Series at Harbor Town Amphitheater, a live music series in downtown Memphis that benefits the Maria Montessori School, and is a founding member of the Family Partners Council at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. 
 
In 26 years, George Monger III, has packed more into a career than most accomplish in a lifetime. Following his passions for the music industry and community leadership, his career has included starting his own record label, running for political office and managing an internationally touring artist-- before graduating high school.
George Monger
Inspired by his father's work in finance and his brother's experience as an opera singer, George blended these two interests by focusing on business-related roles in the music industry. He got his first "break" at the age of 15 as music manager for dramatic tenor, Kendrick Jacocks. George managed the promotions, tour scheduling and contract negotiations for Kendrick, which resulted in partnerships in the US and international tours in Europe. By 18, he'd developed his own distribution relationship with Sony's IODA.
 
In 2011, George met legendary songwriter/producer David Porter and began consulting him in business and technology. David invited George to serve as Vice-President/Executive Director of the Consortium MMT (Memphis Music Town), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a viable music industry in Memphis for the future. "I couldn't be happier, more comfortable and confident in anyone to do the job that's necessary for this program more so than George," noted Porter.
 
George's commitment to community and making a difference extends into his personal life as well. He volunteers with various organizations, including the Rose Family Foundation's TeamMax, which provides food baskets to more than 5,000 families in need as part of their "Operation Christmas," since 2012. 
Brian Wentzloff
Brian Wentzloff, Chief Technical Officer of Musistic is both an accomplished technology developer and audio engineer. He has worked for award-winning international bands as an audio engineer, including the Walkmen and the Hives. As a computer programmer, product manager, and team leader, he has helped develop several successful start-ups including Iconify and PHXX Media LLC, and worked for giants in the industry such as IBM and Cardinal Health.Brian started out in the music industry playing drums for punk bands as they toured around the Midwest playing in bars you've never heard of and sleeping on couches of people he'd never heard of. He then studied computer science at Michigan State University and eventually graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in Music Recording Technology. He continues to play drums in his free time and occasionally will draw a crowd of over a dozen fans at a gig.


Music in the City tickets are available for free. Please register here to reserve your spot.

Questions? Contact amy@highgroundnews.com
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Read more articles by Amy Hoyt.

Amy Hoyt is High Ground News' Community Engagement Specialist, which suits her love of Memphis and its inhabitants. 
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