Black History Month celebrated with musical discussion

Panel of music experts discussing the music histories of Memphis and Nashville at the ‘Sips and Stanzas’ event at RCA Studios in Nashville.

A celebration of Black History Month was held at a Nashville music studio including a discussion of the musical history of two American cities and the impact on American musical culture and around the world on February 15.

The event, ‘Memphis vs. Nashville: A Tale of Two Musical Cities,’ was held at Studio B of RCA Studios in downtown Nashville and sponsored by the National Museum of African American Music as part of its ‘Sips and Stanzas’ series. Moderated by Sharon Hurt, the event included a panel of experts associated with the music industry discussing the music histories of two major Tennessee cities: Memphis and Nashville. The panel also discussed the musical impacts the cities of Memphis and Nashville had on American musical culture. The panel also discussed how the music scenes of Memphis and Nashville had changed over time with both cities being at the center of different musical genres.

Marco Pave,’ independent hip-hop artist from Memphis, said the forum was informative because it talked about the music scenes of both Memphis and Nashville. When it came to music, Pave’ said the differences between Memphis and Nashville was that Memphis had a more organic music scene while Nashville’s music scene was more established. Pave’ said when it comes to finding musical talent in Memphis, it was not very difficult.

“It’s not hard at all. You can throw a rock and find anybody. You need a pianist, throw a rock. You need a guitar player, throw a rock. You need a rapper, throw a rock,” said Pave.’ “Talent is literally everywhere. Some people don’t decide to make their life, so they’re not pursuing music in a way to make it their career. But there’s talented people all over the city and I’m pretty sure that Nashville is the exact same way.”

Pave’ said the future of music in Memphis was very bright. The city and music leaders are going to embrace artists from different genres that are contributing their work on their music and helping people in the community with their music. Pave’ said Nashville’s music scene will become more generalized with musicians from different musical genres such as hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and jazz. When it came to the music scene in Memphis, Pave’ said it was full of independent artists who will eventually become more successful in their musical careers because of the amount of national publicity they receive.

Joe Johnson, recording saxophonist and alumnus of Tennessee State University, said the forum for him went very well. When it came to the musical rivalry between Memphis and Nashville, he said there was no rivalry between Memphis and Nashville. He said Nashville and Memphis have similarities in music, but the difference was Nashville’s music scene was geared towards country music while the music scene in Memphis was geared more towards rhythm and blues.

“As a musician, I never felt that way,” said Johnson. “Living in Nashville and being from Memphis, I got the best of both worlds.”

Gina Miller, vice president and general manager for Entertainment One Nashville, said the forum, in her opinion, was “very diverse and informative.” She said the music scene in both Memphis and Nashville was more diverse now than in past years. Miller also said the forum gave people a sense of the past music scenes in Memphis and Nashville as well as an idea of what these music scenes will be like in the future. When it comes to finding musical talent, Miller said it was not very difficult.

“There’s the local music scenes in both cities,” said Miller. “If you’re looking for country music, there’s no easier place to look than Broadway. You can go to a lot of places in Nashville and find local music being played. You can find musicians coming from around the world and artists from around the world to play in the small clubs Nashville boasts.”

Miller said that social media use had played a significant role in finding musical talent worldwide. She also said the future of music was improving each day.