MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee State University’s strong influence within country music was on display this week, with five former MTSU students claiming spots on national Top 40 country music radio charts.
Former students Sam Hunt, Brett Eldredge, Chris Young and Eric Paslay can be found as solo artists on the Billboard and Mediabase Top 40 country airplay charts, while Hillary Scott continues to enjoy chart recognition as a member of Grammy-winning group Lady Antebellum.
By ranking order, Hunt’s “Leave the Night On”, Lady Antebellum’s “Freestyle”, Eldredge’s “Mean to Me”, Young’s “Lonely Eyes” and Paslay’s “She Don’t Love You” all made this week’s chart. All attended MTSU before launching their music careers.
“This is an exciting time for our students and faculty as we see the success of our former students in so many areas,” said Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry. “To see five former students on the country radio chart is gratifying and thrilling. I can remember seeing Hillary Scott at the campus grill, and now she is a superstar and inspiring a generation of college students with her singing, songwriting and grace.”
The Department of Recording Industry’s program part is recognized among the top music business programs internationally, recently named to The Hollywood Reporter magazine’s “Top 25 Music Schools 2014.” The program also was recently named by Billboard as one of its Top 5 schools to study music internationally.
Recording industry undergrad majors in the College of Mass Communication at MTSU can focus on audio production, commercial songwriting or music business. A Master of Fine Arts degree in recording arts and technologies prepares MTSU graduate students for advanced work in audio production, recording and integrated electronic media.
Such an in-depth program has produced alumni who’ve found success not only in front of the mic, but also throughout the many facets of the music industry.
“Of course, we also continually celebrate the success of other alumni who are more behind-the-scenes, such as Michael Knox, who produces Jason Aldean, and hit songwriter Luke Laird, who also produces Kacey Musgraves,” Keel said. “We are so grateful to our many alumni, such as Eric Paslay and Michael Knox, who are giving of their time to help MTSU students.”
Knox gave a guest lecture to students about his industry experiences earlier this month, while Paslay will perform next month in Nashville as part of the MTSU Songwriting Series to benefit the recording industry program.
“As the accolades continue to roll in for our program, we strive to do our best to prepare the next generation of music industry leaders and creators,” Keel said.
For more information about MTSU’s recording industry program, visit http://recordingindustry.mtsu.edu.