Between burning up the roads (or the skies) between Memphis and Atlanta and working with clients in the studio, Crystal Carpenter doesn’t slow down often. So when we had the chance to ask five questions, we were sure to get the scoop on her life and work at 4U Recording, her best advice for aspiring music professionals and – most importantly – her ultimate take on who’s got the best wings.
So first – we know 4U Recording is a gorgeous recording studio in downtown Memphis, but there’s a LOT going on in your world from publishing to distribution and more. Tell us more about your role – what’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me as the Studio Manager at 4U Recording is opening the studio before the first session and setting the atmosphere/ambience for the day. Lighting candles, incense and making the vibe right. My main job is coordinating sessions and booking artist/bands/labels for recording/writing sessions. Often times I’m in the studio with the talent, interacting with the engineers and producers making sure the session is running smoothly. Studio Managers handle the operations/logistics of booking which involves setting up clients’ accounts, invoicing clients for their time and tracking the invoice to make sure they’re paid in full. Get the money!!
The studio is a hub that brings all creatives together under one roof. Being able to see what the talent has to offer has been a great way to fill the pipeline to help assist with our distribution and publishing businesses. We’ve been able to sign publishing deals to local writers and producers and distribute client’s music from the studio space. It’s been amazing to watch it grow and manifest itself into a space where our clients feel valued and a part of history in the making.
How long have you been working in the music industry and how did you get to where you are now?
I’ve been actively working in the music business since 2008. I graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where I majored in Broadcast Journalism. I was an overnight disc jockey for our college radio station called “The Perch.” There I learned how to program music and run my own radio show. I started DJing campus events and throughout the city of Chattanooga. My last year of college in 2010 I was selected to intern with Radio One in Atlanta as a production intern. I got an up close and personal feel for the music industry through the lens of radio. My GRIT and GRIND was used to navigate through different spaces, network and meet industry professionals. I was always learning. Once I graduated, I moved to Atlanta, where gigging was the only way to make sure people knew what you could bring to table. I found myself DJing in malls, for local churches, community organizations and retailers such as Sephora, Victoria Secret, Madewell, American Apparel, Macy’s and Microsoft.
In 2016, I decided to bring my talents back to city that raised me. While being away and living in another city for almost 10 years I knew I had to re-adjust my thinking about the music industry in Memphis. When I came home, I continued to DJ and navigate the Memphis music scene and build relationships with local music professionals, artists, other DJs and venues. I knew I had a passion for youth and artist development but finding a job in the music industry was difficult. I joined the Made in Memphis Entertainment/4U Recording Family in February 2019, a new studio brand that would help the talent community in Memphis build success, learn and create music. Over the past two years the 4U Recording studio in Memphis has gained national recognition with a strong clientele, hosting the Recording Academy Writers’ Retreat in March 2019 and establishing relationships with major labels such as Interscope, Atlantic, and Columbia. In less than a year, the studio earned its first Gold plaque for rapper Moneybagg Yo’s Time Served album, as well as a Platinum plaque for his single “All Dat” (feat. Megan Thee Stallion). 4U Recording also recorded portions of NLE Choppa’s Top Shotta album, which debuted in the Top 10 of the overall Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Other clients include Yo Gotti, Pooh Shiesty, Wess Morgan, Kirk Whalum, Jessica Reedy, Jozzy, Swae Lee, Lil Baby, and K. Michelle.
I am passionate about the work I do for the music industry and hope to be in the industry for years to come! Now, one of my main goals is to empower the youth to lead, create and build the next generation for our music community.
If you could get on a megaphone right now and tell every artist or producer working in Memphis one thing, what would it be? What do you wish they knew?
REGISTER YOUR MUSIC WITH A PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION (PRO), CREATE A SOUNDEXCHANGE ACCOUNT – PLEASE, PLEASE, FILL OUT SPLIT SHEETS DURING THE RECORDING SESSION SO YOU CAN GET YOUR MONEY!
I wish they knew how to monetize ALL of the earnings from the music they make.
What do you think is one trend in the music industry that we should all be keeping an eye on right now?
Artists can now use platforms like (Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) for promoting their music and premiering videos and monetizing!! YES, MAKING MONEY!!
Last but not least – we know that 4U has recently opened up a studio in Atlanta. So give us the real scoop, who’s got better wings, Memphis or ATL??
Memphis is mostly known for our BBQ but hands down THIS city has the best wings. My go to wing is Hot with a hint of Lemon pepper. To keep things spicy!