Non-profit uses music to promote Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The sound of Memphis could soon spread across the county, and the people promoting the Bluff City know a thing or two about music.

Here's a novel idea. There are a lot of musicians in Memphis, and musicians travel a lot. Why not pay musicians to promote the city while they're out on the road?

One non-profit is making a push to do just that

Southern rock country band Shotgun Billy's, originally from Jonesboro, Arkansas, has been traveling all over the country and they love the Memphis sound.

The 2-year-old non-profit Music Export Memphis wants to use Memphis bands like this to help promote the city.

"How do we create amazing opportunities for musicians, but do it in a way that's really driving people back to our city as tourists or even to live here because they want to live in a music city?" asked Director of Music Export Memphis Elizabeth Cawein.

A fundraiser was held to kick-off a new Ambassador's program to raise money to pay musicians to promote Memphis' rich music history of blues and rock and roll.

It's also promoting Memphis' new emerging music scene like the band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy that plays reggae.

"When we're on tour and say Memphis, It blows their minds," said band member Omar Karim Higgins. "They're like you're kidding me, no. We'll hit you with some Memphis too."

Cawein said the City of Memphis could be doing a lot more to support their musicians.

"You know there are a lot of cities around the country now who are really investing say a music officer or an office of arts and culture to kind of guide some of this work and I do think we need leadership on that," Cawein said.

Music Export Memphis wants to be a leader on that front, raising enough funds to pay 5-10 artists to hit the road and tell the Memphis story.

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