The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will air at 8 p.m. tonight on CBS, hosted for the second time by LL Cool J, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Song, one of the five award nominees is "Your Presence Is Heaven," written by Lee University graduate Micah Massey and Israel Houghton. Regenerate Music of Chattanooga is listed as the publisher of the song.
Name: Regenerate Music
CEO: Christopher Garmon
Services: Artist development, music production, publicity and outreach through social media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
Web site: www.regeneratemusicco.com
As an 18-year-old college freshman in 2005, Micah Massey became the youngest chapel worship leader at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn.
But for all of his musical talent, the singer-song writer credits a fellow Lee University graduate for helping turn his talent into a successful career. Massey, now 25, is nominated tonight for a Grammy music award for co-writing the best Christian song of the year. The Atlanta musician says his predecessor at the Lee Chapel, Christopher Garmon, helped harness and refine his musical skills through a 3-year-old business known as Regenerate Music.
"Chris helped me not only with my song writing, but he and his business assisted me tremendously on the business side of things," Massey said. "I love to stay on the creative end of music, but Regenerate helped to get my songs out there and communicate with people about our music."
Garmon started Regenerate Music as an alternative to the traditional business model for record labels. Garmon, 30, balks at even the term "record label," calling his business an artist development and production company.
With record sales in decline, traditional record labels have cut back on promotional activity for all but the most successful artists, Garmon said.
In their place, Garmon uses less expensive guerrilla marketing and fundraising and promotes artists via YouTube and other social media. The company has recorded artists at studios in Cleveland and Atlanta, among others. But Garmon sees his business as far more than just selling CDs and records.
"We have assembled a great community of video-graphers, photographers, designers and Web developers to create all of the media that is needed for each artist's unique needs," he said. "We help artists form a content strategy, produce videos and engage in the community to gain YouTube subscribers."
A holiday video by one of Regenerate Music's artists produced last year -- "Puppy's First Christmas" -- has been viewed nearly 6 million times on YouTube.
The video features a Shih Poo puppy playing to the music of "Let It Snow" performed by Rusty Clanton.
Garmon and Massey both said the Grammy nomination for the best Christian song should help them broaden their audience and reputation.
"I'm not sure what to expect," Massey said while preparing for the Grammy awards in Los Angeles. He is one of five finalists with a song he co-wrote with Israel Houghton, "Your Presence Is Heaven."
But for Garmon, who is moving his Regenerate Music business to Chattanooga this year, he wants to remain a boutique business targeting upcoming artists who he can help develop and grow.
"It's a new model, but so far it seems to be working," he said.