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Henry studio aims to help recording hopefuls

Photo by Valerie Baldowski
Maurice Hawk, also known as "Muzicville," plays a drum solo at the McDonough recording studio where he works.

Photo by Valerie Baldowski Maurice Hawk, also known as "Muzicville," plays a drum solo at the McDonough recording studio where he works.

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Entering Cunningham Enterprise, a recording studio located at 125 McDonough Parkway in McDonough, visitors are treated to the sound of music drifting from the back of the business.

A walk through the front office to the rear reveals the source of the music -- a work space set up for the studio's producer and assistant producer.

The space contains a set of electronic drums, two keyboards connected to a computer used for digital recording, and a microphone. Other instruments can be brought into the room as needed.

The studio's co-producer, Maurice Hawk, goes by the name "Muzicville." He demonstrated his musical abilities by tapping out a fast beat on the drums, then playing a Glenn Miller tune on a trumpet.

Hawk, 21, graduated in 2009 from Gordon College, with an associate degree in fine arts. His other name, the Jonesboro resident said, was developed in his teen years.

"I brought that name upon myself, when I was 16," he said.

One of his duties, he explained, is working with clients during the production process to help them find the right sound to suit their musical preferences.

"We get a lot of clients that come in that love the digital age, and love the kind of sound you can get in the studio, but they want that same live feel inside the studio," he said. "I try to incorporate that as best as I can."

Much of the music recorded in the studio is gospel, hip hop, rap, rock, and contemporary Christian. "We try to do it all," Hawk continued. "We try to stay well rounded."

Hawk works with Tafoya Sutton, the studio's other producer.

Sutton, who goes by the name "Mozartt," supervises the creative process in making music.

The time frame for creating an entire piece of music can vary, and hinges on whether the client has a clear idea of what they want, the 25-year-old Lovejoy resident said.

"It depends on the artist, and how prepared they are," he said. "We can probably do a whole song in two days."

Sutton said he regularly listened to music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a child.

"My mom was a churchgoer," said Sutton. "She didn't know who it was, but obviously she knew it didn't have any lyrics or cussing, so she was fine with it."

In 2004, he said he obtained legal permission to use the name, "Mozartt," as a trademark in the music industry.

The recording industry is a challenging field for aspiring musicians, said Joseph Cunningham, of McDonough, the owner and chief executive officer of Cunningham Enterprise.

Cunningham, who is also a motivational speaker, said prior to starting the studio he regularly gave advice to individuals trying to break into the music industry on how to publish and copyright their songs. Eventually, he decided to package that knowledge and direct it toward clients in a business environment.

The service the studio provides focuses not just on working with clients to help them produce their product, but also grooming them to market themselves to the public.

"A lot of times, individuals are very excited about their material and their music, but it's almost like when you go into a restaurant and you don't have anyone to serve you," Cunningham said. "We can provide the service for them, and at the same time give them the information so they can take it to the next level."