When legendary, GRAMMY-winning Stax Records singer-songwriter David Porter founded The Consortium MMT in 2012, his goal was to use his career success as a “door-opener” for the next generation of Memphis talent.
“What hasn’t changed since the start of my career to now is the tremendous raw talent here in the Memphis community,” Porter says. “That raw talent won’t keep putting our city on the map without resources, support, career development and coaching. Through this program, we take young talents and guide them through the creative processes of songwriting, record producing and entertaining. We have developed a structured learning environment that serves this goal in a credible way. The power of Memphis music can never be overstated. I founded The Consortium MMT to compliment that, to ensure that the Memphis sound keeps going and evolving, and that it continues to influence music around the world as it has since the 1950s.”
We asked Mr. Porter to send us a few of those artists, all part of The Consortium MMT’s Emerging Stars Network, to check out – keep reading to learn about (and listen to) the new Memphis sound.
Bartholomew Jones, a local saint of ethereal sounds, smooth black coffee, and unapologetic blackness, uses his God-given gifts and talents to bring to us his magnum opus’s with the drop of his debut album, Cxffeblack.
Cxffeeblack is an amalgamation of the soulful (and probably caffeinated) energies of Bartholomew and some of the friends and family collective the “Cxffeeblack” movement, manifested into a track-list that feels like the emulsification of D’Angelo’s funkadelics, Solange’s airiness, and Outkast’s “alt” dirty south hip- hop energy.
2. Diamond V
Diamond V is a young established audio curator who is currently creating a name for herself as one of the top female producer/engineers out of the south. Born and raised in Memphis, Diamond’s interest in music was sparked fairly early as she became attracted to the historic music culture of the city she calls home. From pursuing her journey of becoming a trained pianist at the age of 11 to having now sat alongside of some of the most recognizable names in the music industry today, Diamond’s extensive knowledge as a producer accompanied by her lengthy list of accomplishments, stellar product, and professional accolades has propelled her to being one of the most sought after producing engineers from the city of Memphis.
3. Keia Johnson
With over a decade of experience in the Entertainment field, Keia has made a name for herself as the multifaceted artist that attacks each opportunity with gusto and her signature smile.
Keia was born in San Antonio and grew up all over the world in a military family, but it was the move to Memphis that helped her establish her sound and style. She has performed with some of the best talent Memphis has to offer, while also building relationships with notable national names like The Bar-Kays and David Porter of Stax Records.
American Idol served as the true catalyst for Keia to recognize who she was as an artist and what she wanted to do with her career. The talent competition led her to Hollywood where “Miss Congeniality” wowed the judges for two seasons. Her audition performance of Celine Dion’s vocally rigorous “My Heart Will Go On” prompted guest judge and musical role model Mary J. Blige to simply declare: “She can sing!”
So sing she has — for everyone from former President Bill Clinton and former Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton to Writer/ProducerTyler Perry, Singer Denise Williams and Author Eric Jerome Dickey. After jumping into the Independent film arena where her music was used on the soundtrack for the film “Lesson Before Love” (available on Hulu and at RedBox) Keia felt it was time to get back to the music. In June of 2011, Keia released her first solo effort, an EP called T.I.M.E. and followed up with serval music videos. In early 2013 Keia received an Emmy for her PSA for the Memphis Music Foundation featuring her original song “Movin’ On” motivating her to release a full album which she did in April of 2014 called Facets.
Prince Juanpré is a Recording artist, dancer, and producer based in Memphis. He is inspired by all manner of entertainers from Michael Jackson to the Migos. He just released his first EP Summer Son. Find him on Instagram (@_princeJuanpre), Twitter (@officialjuanpre) and Facebook (Prince Jaunpre).
Jordan Occasionally is a neo-soul artist born and raised in Memphis. A student at the University of Memphis (majoring in music business with a minor in African American studies), Jordan Occasionally writes music with intentions of empowering generations before and after her to be the change they want to see in the world.