**All photos taken by Ziggy Mack**
Most of us have heard someone say, ‘Don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of making your dreams come true.’ As a young girl, that statement left me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but as an adult… let’s just say, bills don’t pay themselves, doors aren’t always open, and “making it” doesn’t stop once you’ve made it.
We all have success stories we’re trying to manifest, and local recording studio, Studio 88, is doing just that. They are creating a home for local artists who believe that the magic of entertainment lies within the music—not the money, the fame, or the followers.
“We’re all tuned into the work that has come before us, thinking of Stax, Royal Studios, Ardent…” ,” said local artist and Studio 88 founder Havier Green, otherwise known as The Poet, Havi. “Back in the day, people could just walk into a studio, or be found on the street, and be discovered. Nowadays, many places won’t even look at you unless you have a certain amount of cred or money to back you up. When money starts to get involved, it’s easy to forget that passion that produced that hustle, but that’s not how you run a studio that’s really about the music.”
Alongside Havi are founding members,, and Memphis natives, Spekulate the Philosopher, Anna Rose Shull or “Rose A,” and Dame who are helping provide a studio home for the 12 other Memphis-based artists they’ve already sought out, and for those they’ve yet to discover.
And they’re not looking for artists who want to fit into a certain mold or be beholden to a particular genre. They want those artists who aren’t afraid to get a little weird, to get experimental in finding more boundaries to break.
“It’s about stepping beyond what people expect you do to,” said featured artist Dame, or Dame Mufasa.
When asked, ‘What kind of music does Studio 88 make?,’ Rose A responded, “Well, what kind of music do you want to make?”
Their recently released Spotify playlist features a multitude of sounds like Bossa nova, rock-leaning hip-hop, jazz tracks, and new age blues. Not only is there diversity of sound showcased within this amalgamation of artists, but there’s also miscellanea of resources, connections, and skills that are brought to the table to make the magic happen.
“What kind of music does Studio 88 make?”
Rose A responded, “Well, what kind of music do you want to make?”
From audio recording and beat production to songwriting, sync licensing, marketing and more, Studio 88 wants to meet you where you’re at, and help propel you forward with everything they’ve got.
“We [as humans] inherently place glass ceilings above our own heads, but as artists and musicians, we’re creating new boundaries everyday just for them to broken down,” said Spek, studio partner and Audio Engineer. “At Studio 88, we want to dismantle the idea of having limitations, because making art is limitless.”
And at the risk of sounding corny with this Mean Girls reference, the limit for good music and good artists in our city does not exist. This is just the beginning of Studio 88, but they are already laying it on thick with the new releases they’ve got coming soon—Dame and Havi are releasing a song at the end of October that they put together with their friend Shug whose been working with Azealia Banks, Rose A will release her first song “Euphoria” in November (and yes it is, as it sounds, a reference to the HBO show), Spek’s got projects dispersed throughout it all, and we’ll be feeling the heat from the artist’s we’ve yet to meet.
‘I’ve learned a lot about life through Memphis and music, and if I’m ever going to contribute anything that is worth while, it feels like it must be melted in between both of those things,” Havi said. “But that being said, music is just the vehicle. All that we are doing goes so much deeper than that. As much as we’ve been talking about music, and what the music really means, I just want all of us to be happy and peaceful. It’s what we need as artists, and as a planet right now.”
“We are begging for peace—moments of happiness and fulfillment—and we can physically see what happens when we don’t sit down and answer the question, ‘What makes you happy?’ for each of ourselves. If nothing else, this is us trying to answer that,” Havi said.