Friday, December 18, 2015

[254] MTSU professor, alumni part of Variety’s ‘2015 Music City Impact Report’

MURFREESBORO MTSU Department of Recording Industry chair Beverly Keel, two university alumni and a former student are included in Variety magazine’s “2015 Music City Impact Report,” which focuses on the people “igniting” Nashville’s latest popularity surge.

The alphabetical listing of 30 artists, record label chiefs, songwriters, entertainment industry executives and government leaders includes:

  • Brad Belanger, a 2001 MTSU music business grad who, as founder and president of Homestead Management, now guides country newcomer Sam Hunt’s career. He was formerly a videographer and photographer for Keith Urban.
  • Brett Eldredge, a 2008 MTSU university studies graduate and songwriter who was the Country Music Association’s 2014 New Artist of the Year as well as a 2013 nominee.
  • Sam Hunt, who attended MTSU 2003-04 and played football for the Blue Raiders and received a pair of 2016 Grammy nominations — Best New Artist and Best Country Album — Dec. 7 to follow up a trio of 2015 CMA nominations.

Keel, an MTSU mass communication alumna, is the only educator on the 2015 list, which also features new Nashville mayor Megan Barry alongside artists Kacey Musgraves and Justin Timberlake.

You can click through the complete list at

This is the magazine’s second annual “Music City Impact Report,” compiled by Variety staff members to “spotlight the talents, producers, execs and key pros igniting the current Nashville boom.

“I am so honored to be included on this list of industry leaders,” said Keel, who’s touted for her co-founding role in Change the Conversation, a group working to advance women’s country music presence.

“What makes this truly special is that I share this with one of my former students, Brad Belanger. There isn’t a better feeling than seeing your students succeed.

“I am surrounded on this list by dear friends, such as music supervisor Anastasia Brown. We began our careers together in this town and have supported and encouraged each other for decades. This is a collection of people who have shown up and worked hard day after day, year after year.”

Keel also was mentioned in The Hollywood Reporter’s recent inclusion of MTSU’s recording industry program in its “Top 25 Music Schools 2015.”

Twenty MTSU alumni or former students and faculty from around the university have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the last six years, and seven have won Grammys so far. The annual Country Music Association Awards regularly include nominations for MTSU-trained professionals, including several repeat contenders.

In addition to Hunt’s Grammy nominations, repeat-winning alumnus Luke Laird is nominated once again in this year’s Grammys: as a co-writer of Tim McGraw’s Best Country Song candidate “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” and as co-producer of Musgraves’ second “Best Country Album” nominee, “Pageant Material.”

The 58th annual Grammy Awards will be held Monday, Feb. 16, at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

You can learn more about MTSU’s recording industry program, part of the College of Media and Entertainment, at

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