Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, has announced that former Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn plans to gift the Sound Emporium recording studio to the university's George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts.
The gift of one of the most important recording studios in Nashville over the last fifty years is part of a $15 million gift from Shinn to the college in support of a new events center and other initiatives. Grammy Award-winning record producer Charlie Peacock, founding director of the university's Contemporary Music program, will oversee day-to-day interactions between the studio and the university, preserving the professional production capacity of the studio while seeking ways for it to serve as a real-world learning lab for contemporary music students.
Numerous artists, including Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, John Denver, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Cyndi Lauper, Yo-Yo Ma, Willie Nelson, REM, Taylor Swift, and Trisha Yearwood, have recorded at the Sound Emporium, which was established in 1969 by "Cowboy Jack" Clement — a producer who worked with Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Charlie Rich at Sun Records in Memphis — as Jack Clement Recording Studios. The name was changed in 1979 when Clement sold the studio; producer Garth Fundis purchased it in 1992 and sold it to Shinn in 2011.
"This generous gift will provide an extremely valuable learning opportunity for our students in the contemporary music program, as well as those who are interested in a variety of aspects of the recording industry," said Mike Fernandez, dean of the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, which was renamed in April in recognition of Shinn's gift. "The Sound Emporium has played a key role in the development of the music industry in Nashville, and we are thrilled that Lipscomb will now get to play a role in preserving this icon in the industry. With the studio located just one mile from Lipscomb, the Sound Emporium will provide students the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and artists at one of the nation's top recording studios through internships, hands-on experience, and other initiatives."