Five MTSU Recording Industry Major Trailblazers Part 1


Continuing the recognition from Four Artists You Didn’t Know Attended MTSU, here are five Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Recording Industry major (RIM) degree holding, movers and shakers, trailblazers, and downright way makers:

brett eldredgeFellow Illinoisan and transfer student, Brett Eldredge, made the switch to MTSU after singing before a Nashville crowd during his sophomore year at an Illinois college. Many writer’s nights, public performances as learning experiences, daily trips between Murfreesboro and Nashville, and a degree later, he is signed to Atlantic Records Nashville. In addition, his 2013 single “Don’t Ya” hit Number One on the Country Airplay chart.

You can find Brett Eldredge here:

dj williamsGuitarist, singer-songwriter, and producer Donald Jeffrey Ilory Williams, Jr, better known as D.J. Williams, walked through MTSU’s doors an experienced musician and performer. He honed these skills, as well as his music production skills until his graduation in 2003. An excellent example for current students, D.J. Williams began his music career two years before graduation. Since then he has he has toured in the US, Canada, and Europe, founded  the funky Richmond based band, DJ Williams Projekt, the hip-hop/R&B group, The Breaks, an acoustic duo, Williams & Jones, and performed as the guitarist for San Diego’s critically acclaimed group, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. He has even shared the stage with the likes of John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Soulive, Levon Helm, Citizen Cope, Robert Randolph, Slick Rick, and more.

You can find  D.J. Williams here:

erin enderlinCountry Music artist and songwriter Erin Enderlin was born and raised on Country music in Conway, Arkansas. She has literally loved it since she was a small child. She even started her own music collection with singers such as Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Trisha Yearwood. She began to write and perform her own songs around Central Arkansas at an early age, and followed her passion to MTSU to pursue a career as an artist and songwriter immediately after high school. Her music has been recorded by Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, Randy Travis, and Terri Clark. She has also appeared twice on the Country Throwdown Tour as a member of their Bluebird Cafe songwriter stage. Specifically, Enderlin wrote Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church” which went to number 5 on the Billboard Country Chart in 2004, “Last Call” which was recorded by Lee Ann Womack and went to number 14 on the same chart in 2008, and “You Don’t Know Jack” which was recorded by Luke Bryan for his Tailgates & Tanlines album in 2011, but was never chosen as a single. As an artist, Erin Enderlin has had two albums released, one recorded and produced by Jamey Johnson and Jim “Moose” Brown.

You can find Erin Enderlin at:

Fisher_PeteFourteen year Vice President and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry, Pete Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Recording Industry Management, and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus in 2004. In addition, he recently chaired a search committee identifying their newly-appointed Dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, Ken Paulson. His industry service includes: National Trustee, 25-year voting member, and national membership committee Co-Chair, of The Recording Academy, best known for the Grammy Awards, Board member for The Recording Academy’s charitable arm, MusiCares, Governor for the Nashville Chapter of The Recording Academy, Board Member for the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund, Board member for the Academy of Country Music and its charitable arm, Lifting Lives, Board Member for the Professional Advisors for the Middle Tennessee State University College of Mass Communication, and Board Member for the Board of Advisors for the Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University.

Fisher’s entertainment industry experience ranges from artist management to music publishing, with a special emphasis placed on service to a variety of music industry and charitable organizations.Prior to joining the Opry, he was a partner in Fisher Raines Entertainment where he managed the careers of Warner/Reprise Records artist Paul Brandt and Sony’s Marcus Hummon among others. In addition, Fisher spent seven years at WarnerSongs, Inc. as Director of Creative Services where he managed the joint-venture publishing operation between Warner/Reprise Records and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. -

You can find Pete Fisher at:
The Grand Ole Opry
The MTSU Mass Communications Board of Professional Advisors

dave barnesMusician/singer and Grammy nominated songwriter David Mckee Barnes, better known as Dave Barnes, began attending MTSU to further his studies playing the drums, but as time progressed, began playing guitar and writing songs for fun. He was initially only interested in writing material for other performers, but was later encouraged by his peers to perform his works himself. Barnes took their advice and began performing on campus at Middle Tennessee State University, and then began performing at various nearby universities. After graduating from MTSU, Barnes began touring, and in 2002 released his five-song EP Three, Then Four, as a purely guitar-and-vocals release. With this release, the touring performed around it, and the assistance of internet promotion, Barnes’ fan following expanded. Barnes toured heavily for over a year after that. Since then he has released eight albums including two Christmas albums. His most recent album, Golden Days, was released January 28, 2014.

You can find Dave Barnes at:!/davebarnesmusic?ref=ts

I hope you were educated, and that you enjoyed. Tune in next Thursday for part two of “Five MTSU Recording Industry Major Trailblazers”!


Four Artists You Didn’t Know Attended MTSU


Beyond blogging, I’m a Recording Industry major (RIM) senior at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). MTSU has one of the highest ranking Recording Industry programs in the nation, and produces many successful professionals in the field. After a recent discussion regarding the success of our program’s alumni, Zachary Scott Anderle decided to guest blog detailing the stories of several previous MTSU students:

Four Artists You Didn’t Know Attended MTSU

by Zachary Scott Anderle 

Edited by LaTaevia Berry

            Rockstars, businessmen, audio engineers – Some of the best come from Middle Tennessee State University. You may be a hardcore Belmont or Fullsail fan. But before you throw MTSU off the airplane into a deep dark pit filled with vile snakes, and I urge you to read on. Being a Recording Industry student, I have done some research on the university’s turnover rate for successful students. This list of former MTSU students is sure to make you not only reconsider the university as a leader in recording industry education, but as an university that develops the future trends and sounds of generations to come.


brandon-heath-promo2011a            Brandon Heath

Brandon Heath Graduated from MTSU with a BA in English. Don’t be discouraged, Heath took RIM classes during his time here. He even wrote songs in the Monohan dorm with his roommate, Dave Barnes (Grammy for Best Country Song, God Gave Me You).  Brandon Heath’s achievements include Dove awards for Best New Artist of 2008, Best Male Vocalist of 2009, Song Of The Year in 2009 for Give Me Your Eyes, and Best Vocalist in 2010 for Your Love, and Best Contemporary Christian Album Grammy nomination in 2012 for Leaving Eden. Enjoy a video below of Brandon Heath playing I’m Not Who I Was, at MTSU for a Christian Music Society event in 2011.


hillary-scott-cma-lvHillary Scott

            Hillary was a Recording Industry major from 2004-06, and is now the vocalist for the Grammy award winning band, Lady Antebellum. Hillary’s soothing pop vocals also carry the strong foundation of a country sound. The band has a Certified platinum album in the U.S., and her band’s single, Need You Now won Best Country Album and Album Of The Year in 2011. Their junior release, Own The Night also won Best Country Album. Listen to her speak on her love life during her time at MTSU.




Amy Lee

            This girl is responsible for defining the rock sound of the 2000’s. Amy Lee founded the Grammy award winning band, Evanescence. Her band has been hugely successful as number 6 on CBS’s Top Bestselling Albums of the Last 10 Years (2008), and Best Rock song of 2004 with Bring Me To Life. Amy Lee was also been awarded the Songwriter Icon Award in 2008 by National Music Publishers Association. She came to MTSU in 2000, but ended up ending her college career early to pursue the life of a rockstar.

Listen to the song that skyrocketed her journey, Bring Me To Life.




            One of the biggest artists in not only Holy Hip-Hop, but the urban industry in its entirety . Grammy award winning artist Lecrae is the rap model for Christian Music. He formed 116 Clique, started the 116 Movement, and founded Reach Records, the most successful Christian hip-hop label to date. Lecrae’s latest album, Gravity won a Grammy for Best Gospel Album and a Dove award for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album of 2013. Although Lecrae attended MTSU for one semester, he utilized the same on campus studios many other MTSU RIM students work in daily. He has walked past the KUC, and yes, probably struggled in the same classes and most RIM students.

Read more on Lecre and his journey at MTSU here,