Atlanta address desirable for music stars and exec.
STORY: D. Aileen Dodd
World-class concert venues. A-list parties. Recording studios catering to big-name talent.
For a growing number of music moguls, Atlanta is a hot address. Entertainers and music execs are moving here to work, live—and play—without sacrificing quality of life. The music industry pumps more than $3.7 billion dollars annually into the state economy, according to an impact study commissioned by the advocacy group Georgia Music Partners.
Atlanta is so influential in the music industry that it has its own sound—and a reality TV show about living and making music here, “Love & Hip-Hop, Atlanta.” The Atlanta sound is that twang and laid-back groove found in hip-hop hits like “Hey Ya” by André 3000. It’s the pounding heartbeat of crunk music. It’s country cool.
Atlanta is the home base of some of the nation’s hottest hip-hop artists, from music giant Usher to the Grammy-nominated Waka Flocka Flame (“No Hands” and “Get Low”). It’s also where music legend Elton John rests and rejuvenates, and Sugarland’s Kristian Bush perfects his brand of roots rock.
“The city is widely recognized as a rap, hip-hop and R&B mecca with artists including Ludacris, OutKast, Usher, Ciara, T.I., Lil Jon and Killer Mike headquartered here,” says Lisa Love of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Atlanta is also a Christian and gospel music hub with artists like Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, Tasha Cobbs and Jamie Grace generating hits and selling music to fans all over the world.”
Jamie Grace, who grew up singing in her dad’s suburban Kingdom City Church, bought the home next door to her parents in Stone Mountain when she made it in the music industry. She travels to Nashville to record music, but calls Atlanta home.
“I am obsessed with the restaurants here,” Grace says. “I love Chick-fil-A. It’s just better in Atlanta. I also love Chow Baby and Marlow’s Tavern. My sister got me hooked on Café Intermezzo. I don’t even like coffee, but I go for the ambiance and the cake. In Atlanta, I can ride horses, then drive 20 minutes and be downtown.”
Grammy-winning Christian rap artist Lecrae, who launched an international following and a new label, Reach Records, in Atlanta, also enjoys the city’s cuisine. His favorite restaurant is Buckhead’s Holeman & Finch, and he loves taking his kids to Legoland at Phipps Plaza, a Schure Media spokesman says.
With an Atlanta address, recording artists are in good company. Some of the city’s most exclusive high-rises and gated communities— including many in Buckhead— house the rich and famous, including actors, athletes and TV producers. Atlanta has practically everything an entertainer could want—a growing movie industry, designer boutiques and a backdrop for music videos that can go from urban to rural in a short drive.
Atlanta is a place where new acts are born, rising stars are nurtured and seasoned entertainers stay relevant. Mark “L.A. Reid” Rooney and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds started the label LaFace Records in Atlanta in 1989. They launched the Grammy-winning girl group TLC, and made Toni Braxton and Ciara multi-platinum-selling artists, too.
Old school rapper Chubb Rock keeps his career thriving as a radio personality on Atlanta’s Majic 107.5 FM. And hip-hop’s hit maker Montell “This Is How We Do It” Jordan makes new music as worship leader of Victory World Christian Church in Norcross.
MUSIC ON A WHIM
CHECK OUT THESE THREE LOCAL BARS FOR SIPS AND SOUNDS.
STORY: Kelly Skinner
You already have your go-to list of prominent Buckhead-area music venues, but what about those one-off nights when you want to catch live music while you’re out? Thanks to a slew of area bars and restaurants catering to live, local acts, you can discover your new favorite band with minimal planning. Here, a few area spots from Buckhead to Sandy Springs.
Originally opened in 1994 on East Paces Ferry, the longtime night spot Park Bench unveiled a brand new location in 2011 on Irby Avenue, with an expanded square footage to boot. The crowd leans young and thirsty, and the vibe is energetic and fun. Aside from the outdoor patio and multiple bars, the spot also boasts a dance floor and stage. Live music starts around 10 p.m. on Thursdays and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and tends to hover between singer songwriter and rockabilly, though the most popular event is the dueling piano show on Thursdays and Saturdays (it’s the only one in Buckhead!). No cover. 34 Irby Avenue, Atlanta 30305. 404.262.3624. parkbenchatl.com
True, East Andrews has long been the place to hang out late-night, but gourmet burger joint Stillhouse offers a quieter oasis for catching acoustic tunes. Music starts around 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday so you have time to grab a table, down a burger and explore the restaurant’s various moonshine cocktails before the show starts. No cover. 56 East Andrews Drive, Atlanta 30305. 678.244.3601. stillhouseatl.com
STEVE’S LIVE MUSIC
Steve’s Live Music is a venue first, but it’s also a restaurant and bar serving pub food, beer, wine and cocktails. Located in Sandy Springs, the spot attracts an eclectic range of local and regional acts playing everything from folk and bluegrass to Celtic tunes. Mondays are Celtic night, Tuesdays feature bluegrass and Thursdays are tailored to blues. Tickets range anywhere from free to $30, depending on the event, and doors open every night at 6:30 p.m. You save if you purchase tickets ahead, but can buy them at the door, too. 234 Hilderbrand Drive, Sandy Springs 30328. 404.418.6777. steveslivemusic.com