Monday, February 21, 2011

P'Tones Records Inspires Youth Productions

MainoFive years ago, a 17-year-old high school student came up with an idea. He wanted to provide a place where teens could go after school to become enthusiastic about learning and exploring their own musical, professional, and/or artistic talents.

So Oren Rosenbaum did what he could do, creating a makeshift basement studio to accomplish his goals. Then, during an internship at Def Jam Records, he expanded the idea to a community center in Trenton, New Jersey. It worked.

P'Tones Records begins national expansion in select urban areas.

P'Tones Records, which is now strategically aligned with Warner Music Group, has been collecting donations and pursuing grants to open additional recording studios. Once opened, each studio is managed by volunteer college interns who oversee work being done by high school students. Students and interns work together to create albums, mixes, music videos, promotional items, and live productions.

From its humble beginnings, P'Tones Records has recently opened new studios in Harlem and Washington D.C. Plans are already in progress to open two more, one in Los Angeles and another in Miami.

Youth-managed recording studios and venues are great ideas.

In the last few years, various youth-managed and youth-supported studios have opened in several cities. Here are a few, including two prominent venues that have been operating for years.

Teh SmellThe Smell. The Smell has succeeded in becoming a powerhouse underground venue for art, music, and creative free expression in Los Angeles. The community-oriented center provides a volunteer-managed space for people of all ages. It has attracted young and professional musicians, artists, and supporters for more than a decade.

The alcohol-free venue is managed by Jim Smith, who also owns the olFactory Records label. Events at The Smell provide reduced admissions. Recently reviewed punk noise band No Age has been a long-time supporter.

The Orpheum. Recently opened in Ann Arbor, Michigan, The Orpheum will be staffed by eight high school students and two staff members who work for the Neutral Zone, which is a youth-driven teen center dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership, and the exchange of ideas.

In addition to providing low-cost recording studio space, the center uses the studio to provide workshops for recording and producing music. The center is also responsible for Youth Owned Records (YOR), which is a youth-operated label that discovers talent and sees them through to producing and promoting their own records.

LivewireLivewire Youth Music Project. While the concept of youth-managed studios and labels is relatively new to the United States, one of the oldest and longest lasting venues for youth production is located in Saltash, Cornwall, England. It originally opened in the 1940s.

Today, the music-based charity provides music facilities, including music lessons, rehearsal time, recording time, live music, and a relaxed social space. Recently, Livewire teamed with Cornwall Youth Music Zone to produce an Internet radio station. It has received support from a host of legendary performers including Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Judas Priest, and Mick Jagger.

Follow Your Dreams. Founded in 2007, Michael Hicks (age 14) and Warren Hill (age 15) noticed youth in their community were resorting to drug sales in order to pay for commercial studio time. The two began working on a solution.

They applied for a Youth As Resources grant to fund a new recording studio. Since, many teens that have participated in the program have not only gained experience in the recording industry but have also gone on to apply for college scholarships and admissions. Their most common field of study is business.

P'Tones Records And Related Studios Are A Good Will Pick.

At least once a month, Liquid [Hip] highlights good will efforts undertaken by courageous people with big hearts. We don’t score them. That belongs to you.

We especially like P'Tones Records because it has developed a sustainable model with a program divided into six branches. Students apply for the program with an emphasis in multimedia, publicity, art, artist repertoire, marketing, and new media.

Once they choose a branch, they still have opportunities to work in other areas with the common goal of producing an entire album. Meeting legendary artists is part of the curriculum. Much like The Smell and Livewire, P'Tones Records is supported by recording artists that include Lil’ Wayne, 9th Wonder, Kevin Durant, and Maino (pictured above).
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