Tony Brown Receives 'Honorary Visiting Professor' Award at Middle Tennessee State University

From: AristoMedia
Published: Wed Apr 04 2007

Music industry executive and acclaimed producer Tony Brown was awarded the title of Honorary Visiting Professor at the completion of a lecture to students in MTSU's Department of Recording Industry on Tuesday April 3rd, 2007. The award was presented by Dr. Kaylene Gebert, the University Provost. The lecture was part of the newly renamed Brian Williams Entertainment Studies Lecture Series, presented by SunTrust Bank, and hosted by Beverly Keel.

MTSU Professor Bob Wood stated, "Tony Brown has generously given his time over the years supporting the education of our recording industry students. We are grateful for his continuing commitment to our program and we are proud to honor him with this award."

Earlier in the evening, the announcement was made that the SunTrust Lecture Series at MTSU has been renamed Brian Williams Entertainment Studies Lectures Series. Brian Williams was a highly respected Music Row banker, who brought together a traditional way of doing business with the unconventional ways of the music industry to create a niche for Nashville's banking industry. Brian was credited for pioneering the practice of lending money against future royalty income, treating songs as collateral.

Director of the college Development office, Steven Barnes added, "SunTrust has become one of our most valued strategic partners, and we're honored to be able to join them in naming this important lecture series after the late banker to the stars, Brian Williams."


About - Middle Tennessee State University's Department of Recording Industry
MTSU is host to the largest recording industry degree program in the US, with 25 full-time faculty dedicated exclusively to teaching 1,500 degree-seeking students. Located just minutes south of Nashville, MTSU is also the largest university in Tennessee offering four-year undergraduate degrees.

About - Tony Brown
Tony Brown, a native of North Carolina, was the son of an evangelist and played piano in his family's gospel group as a teenager. That experience helped him land a touring job with the Oak Ridge Boys and ultimately put him on the piano bench for Elvis Presley's final U.S. tour. He then joined Emmylou Harris's famous "Hot Band" and played piano for bandmate Rodney Crowell's Cherry Bombs when Crowell went solo. Brown soon wound up in Nashville working in A&R for RCA Records and was asked to produce gospel singer Shirley Caesar in 1983. That work got him noticed by then MCA chief Jimmy Bowen, whose mentorship guided Brown to the president's office at MCA Nashville in 1993. During his tenure at MCA Nashville, Brown worked with platinum artists Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna as well as championing critical favorites like Steve Earle, Patty Loveless, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith and The Mavericks.

In 2002, Brown joined former Arista Nashville President Tim DuBois to found Universal South Records, aiming to create what they said would be "a home for truly inventive, highly creative artists." The pair stepped down from the label last December, with Brown saying he wanted to devote himself once again to fill-time music production.

Brown's 2007 ACM nominations, announced earlier this month, include Album of the Year for Brooks & Dunn's "HIllbilly Deluxe" and for George Strait's "It Just Comes Natural," Single of the Year for Strait's "Give It Away" and Vocal Event of the Year for "Building Brides" with Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, and Sheryl Crow. Brown also is the reigning Country Music Association producer for "Believe," the 2006 Single of the Year by Brooks & Dunn.
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