The studios are meant to evoke “state of the art.” The studio is a collaborative space. We’re looking to get musicians together in live spaces and let them jam together and get a real feel in the music. We will have our own staff rhythm section, who will be working in one of our spaces on an ongoing basis, coming up with signature melodies and sounds that will be incorporated into the music. Over time, even though we’re expected to bring a freshness to the music, we would like people to say, “I can tell that’s a Made in Memphis hit,” because there’s a signature sound to it.

Our vision is that the Made in Memphis Entertainment studio is going to be an iconic location for music production in the city. Our guiding principles include the locality (we’re within walking distance of FedExForum), the composition of its construction, and the uniqueness of the design.

We have the original Stax Records sign, which sits in the in-house production wing. Our songwriters, artists and producers walk past the sign every day when they go to work and it gives a nod to the history that got us to where we are today. Now, we’re moving into the next phase of that history: bringing more hits to the city of Memphis.


Michael Cronin — The Studios of Made In Memphis Entertainment

The master studio architect and acoustician talks about how the organization’s new recording, mixing and editing facilities came to be By Dan Daley

You may not know his name, but you know his sound. Over the last quarter century, Michael Cronin has been involved in designing and building over 200 recording studios globally that have been the homes of hundreds of records sold. These include Guillermo Tell and MEGA in Paris, France; the renovation of MOSFILM in Moscow, Russia; BOP Studios Bophuthatswana, South Africa; The Tracking Room, Ocean Way, Blackbird Studios and Masterfonics in Nashville, Tennessee; Capri Digital in Capri, Italy, and producer Mutt Lange’s famed hideaway studio Sully Sound in Tou de Pays, Switzerland. Cronin has also contributed his skills to developing culturally significant facilities, including the archival mastering room at the Country Music Hall of Fame and acoustical consulting work for the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which are both in Nashville, Tennessee, where the London, U.K. native now resides. Cronin’s background made him the perfect choice for the new studio facilities that are an integral part of Made In Memphis Entertainment. Here, we talk with Michael about how the studios came together.

MIME: Tell us what the big picture is here in terms of what the studios are intended to accomplish.

Michael: For David Porter, it’s the quality of the musicians, the writers, and the artists in Memphis who really haven’t been given the opportunity to have what Stax Records had — a real studio. That’s how the project came about. From the beginning, he knew what he wanted. We looked at several buildings and decided on one, and this building ended up being perfect for what he wanted. It’s down on Union about three blocks from Sun [Records] Studios.

MIME: Tell me about the building. What is the building like and what makes it especially suitable for a studio?

Michael: It’s very much like a blank canvas. You couldn’t have found a more suitable building. David wanted three studios and writing rooms for the artists, so we started off in the lower level where we put in Studio C, which has a pretty large tracking area [and] a smaller control room with a couple of small booths. Then on the first floor we put in Studio A, which is a large tracking room with two large ISO booths and a large control room, and Studio B, a mixing room with a smaller tracking space. It’s more of a traditional style construction, which is a lot heavier than most people use today. Each room is independently isolated. Studio A’s control is about 720 square feet, so it’s a large control room. You could fit an entire band in there. That was important to David. From a flow point of view, between me, the architects and [David], we came up with a great floor plan. It’s very well thought out. There are lounges and workout rooms. It’s totally a one-stop shop. Each room has its own concrete floating slab systems and independent-isolation floating walls. This place is built to last.

MIME: It sounds very much like you were building a studio that would not have been out of place in 1975, or 1985. A building that was designed also for collaboration — people moving from studio to studio and serendipitously bumping into each other.

Michael: Exactly. It was someplace that’s comfortable. And a space that musicians or engineers will be familiar with, sonically. David’s old school. He wants a great recording facility [and] people haven’t been building [studios like] these for years. We build studios all the time, but they’re typically for independent artists, or writers, or a production team, but this more really of a true recording facility. He loves the analog feel and sound of a record, and that’s what’s there today. That gives him what he had before, like the API console we found and the ATC monitor speakers. It’s got the best of both worlds.

MIME: The studio design sounds like it was intended to evoke Memphis’s past as a music-recording center.

Michael: Yeah, yes that’s exactly it. You go in and it’s hopping; it’s like watching “Fame” when I was a kid. It really has an amazing vibe of creativity. It’s all about working together, which is really what Memphis was back in those days.

MIME: You recently completed the restoration of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, which is another classic recording venue. How does Made in Memphis fit into the larger phenomenon of bringing what made music production from that era in Muscle Shoals, in Memphis, in Nashville, into the 21st century. What do we see happening here?

Michael: It’s the people. When you go to Muscle Shoals, you still have David Hood, Jimmy Johnson and Roger Hawkins still there. Those guys are still making music there. So is David in Memphis.

MIME: It’s interesting you say that, because everyone we’re talking about is in their 60s or 70s. There will come a time when these gentlemen may not be up for touring or up even for playing anymore. What all of you are doing is creating a legacy; a very workable, usable legacy in the form of a studio infrastructure that they’ll be leaving behind for generations to come.

Michael: Absolutely. Some amazing stuff was born here and has lived here [in Memphis]. David was a major part of that and he knew that opportunities were going away for musicians here unless someone did something. When you speak to David, that’s what he’s about. He’s a true soul man. In fact, he really is the Soul Man — he wrote that song. And now Memphis has a studio for the next generation of Soul Men.

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Studio Team

Hamilton Hardin

Vice President of A&R A Columbus, Ohio native, Hamilton Hardin has become an emerging force in today’s music.  As a multi-instrumentalist/p... Read More
Kerry Kerman

Kerry Kernan

Chief Engineer

Kerry, who hails from Tampa, is also a talented musician. His keen ear and years of experience in recording made ... Read More

Kevin Carpenter

Staff Engineer / Lead Technician

New Orleans native Kevin Carpenter is a musician with a love for vintage recording gear. It was this love for musi... Read More

Denarious Holmes

Staff Writer Denarious is a Memphis native, and began composing beats and rhythms at age 13 and backing up his older brother’s loc... Read More

Hamilton HardinVice President of A&R

A Columbus, Ohio native, Hamilton Hardin has become an emerging force in today’s music.  As a multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer, Hamilton combines vast musical influences in efforts to produce a fresh and relevant sound.  Starting with drums and piano at the age of four, his love for music led him to fluently play 15 instruments.   By high school, Hamilton was traveling professionally and gigging with local and national jazz and gospel artists, as well as composing works for big band and orchestra.  While continuing to travel all over the United States, England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France, he completed a degree in Jazz Studies and Saxophone performance.  Since then, he has continued to tour all over the world with artist such as:  Kirk Whalum, Christian Howes, Dave Koz, Norman Brown, Lalah Hathaway, Kenny Latimore, Rick Braun, Ruben Studdard and many others.



Kerry Kerman

Kerry KernanChief Engineer

Kerry, who hails from Tampa, is also a talented musician. His keen ear and years of experience in recording made him employee number one for Made in Memphis Entertainment. “It’s my Faith and my spiritual belief that led me to such an incredible opportunity to make this kind of music. “Kerry’s twenty plus years of full-time music industry experience includes: Chief engineer /staff producer at The Grove studio and record label. Kerry was also on the core team behind the development of the Visible Music College where he headed up the audio department and artist development team. Working as an independent with Carried Away Music and Archer records, Kerry has produced, engineered and mixed many projects for film-makers, Indie, Grammy and Dove award-winning musical artists as well as non-profits like St. Jude and Donate Life.



Kevin CarpenterStaff Engineer / Lead Technician

New Orleans native Kevin Carpenter is a musician with a love for vintage recording gear. It was this love for music, and his passion for building and repairing recording equipment that has made him a natural for the requirements of a new label like Made in Memphis Entertainment. The talented young drummer, guitarist, Bass and piano player survived Hurricane Katrina, sticking it out at Festival Recording Studio in New Orleans, and helping to re-establish ‘Jazz Fest’and ‘VooDoo’ Fest in that city. It was a music scholarship to the University of Memphis that eventually brought Kevin to the city, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Production.

Kevin worked for another Memphis when he met David Porter while part of The Consortium MMT. Kevin Carpenter is a talented young producer and engineer, who has the technical skills to compliment any major studio and record label. “It’s really special when the technology matches the incredible young talent we have here.” He adds, “This is our time, and this is our musical gift to the world… all ‘Made in Memphis.”



Denarious HolmesStaff Writer

Denarious is a Memphis native, and began composing beats and rhythms at age 13 and backing up his older brother’s local performances. This incredibly gifted twenty-five year old songwriter exudes wisdom and insight from the first moments of engagement. Fate and destiny seem to be at the heart of Denarious Holmes’ journey from his premature birth, to his triumphant battle with childhood Cerebral Palsy. Nothing came easy, but his Spiritual foundation was built, and layered with a naturally clever way of ‘phrasing’. “A song is basically an idea that expresses a common emotion”, he says.

His musical influences include Bruno Mars, Ed Sherin, and Adele, but his lyrical strength is in understanding a modern audience, and the emotions of a new generation. Denarious studied at the Consortium MMT, engaging on three different occasions before success, and before his talents and determination could no longer be denied. Like so many other aspects of Made in Memphis Entertainment, Denarious Holmes is a young spiritual force, and a super talent. True soul and the human experience shine in his eyes, and his lyrics touch the heart. Why him? Why now? As Denarious points out, “I’m proud that I didn’t have to leave my hometown to experience this level of success and opportunity… Memphis has the heart and soul, and the juice”.