Roslyn Chatmon, right, warms up with voice student Jackie Lamar at Impact Music Studios, which recently opened at the corner of Stuart Avenue and Slappey Boulevard. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)
Making a musical 'Impact'
Owners of Impact Music Studios in Albany say they are open to any genre of music, though they're focusing on gospel.
ALBANY — Siblings Roslyn Chatmon and Cornelius Drake have been recording theirs and other people’s music for 15 years, focusing on the tiny production details that are the difference between a good piece and a great one.
But when it came to the final steps in the process — the mixing and the mastering — the pair would sub the work out to professional engineers.
There will be no further need for the services of those middlemen and -women for Chatmon and Drake now that they have opened Impact Music Studios at 1118-C Stuart Ave. in Albany.
“Over the years, we’ve sat in with any number of engineers, watching the way they do their job,” Chatmon, who teaches voice and keyboards at the studio, said. “Along with those experiences, we went to Pro-Tools training at OutKast’s Stankonia Studio in Atlanta.
“In 2011, I produced Cornelius’ CD (‘The Invitation: Volume I’) and when we listened to the finished product, we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve got something here.’”
“The Invitation” — featuring Drake and his group The Foundation, which includes Alicia Hardy, Latoria Taylor, Erin Evans, Pastor Roderick Hubbard, Jennifer John, Chandra Clark and Christopher White — includes the single “Lord Have Your Way,” which has enjoyed considerable local success. So much so, in fact, that it inspired Chatmon to make a drastic “leap of faith.”
“Music’s in our blood; we got it from both our parents,” Drake, a deputy with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Department, said. “Mom is a singer and musician, and dad is a Baptist minister and a singer. They inspired a passion in both of us that has kept us around music all our lives.
“But when it comes to going after your dreams, that’s something you have to do yourself. I applaud Roslyn for taking this leap of faith.”
Impact Music Studios is open “24 hours a day” (“We operate by appointment only,” Chatmon said, “so we’re here at a time that’s convenient for our clients.”) and caters to “positive type” musicians.
“We’re Christians, so we’re open to any positive type of music, from R&B to soul to pop to rock and even country,” Chatmon said. “But gospel is our primary genre of music.”
Drake, who calls Nathan Lawson and his Albany-based Toys in the Attic Studio a “significant influence,” said he and Chatmon want to cultivate a family-type environment at Impact.
“We’re not a hip-hop studio,” Drake says, and his sister adds, “We’ve got about a million of those around here.”
Drake continues: “There won’t be anyone smoking weed in here. We want a family-type environment where parents won’t feel afraid leaving their child here (for lessons) while they run an errand. We want parents to be comfortable that their children are in good hands.”
Chatmon, who has been touring as a professional musician for 21 years, offers vocal and musical coaching at Impact, while Drake teaches drums. In addition to their parents, the siblings point to a musical heritage that includes the Drake Family Singers, Bernice Johnson Reagon, who is one of the original Freedom Singers, their uncle the Rev. Theodus Drake and R&B superstar Patti LaBelle.
Jackie Lamar, who is the praise and worship leader at First Bethesda Baptist Church of Albany, said she’s already gained a tremendous amount of confidence after working on her vocal skills with Chatmon for just over a month.
“I basically had ‘ear-training,’ did what I did by ear,” Lamar said before a recent lesson. “What they do technically was foreign to me. I feel that anyone who embarks on a ministry must grow, and I’m growing by working with Roslyn. There are just so many things that I didn’t know.
“I told her when I came in here to treat me as a baby, because I wanted to learn everything as if it were brand new. Already, I’ve learned not to be intimidated. She’s helped me find that confidence.”
Looking for a location for their studio, Chatmon and Drake felt they’d found the right place in the 1,000-square-foot suite at 1118 Stuart.
“It was just a room; there was literally nothing in here,” Chatmon said. “We talked with a couple of contractors, but we were fortunate to find Joria West Sr. and Jr. to do the work on the studio. They’re both musicians, so they caught our vision.”
Now the siblings are looking to spread that impact.
(Contact Chatmon and/or Drake online at www.facebook.com/impactmusik, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (229) 329-3203.)