The 40 Watt Club is one of the most iconic concert venues on the east coast, helping shape the American punk rock and new wave music scenes. Its stage has held iconic bands like R.E.M. and Pylon. On Thursday, October 12, however, 40 Watt was home to the Classic City Cypher, a hip-hop competition put on by Midnight Music Productions, LLC. and Music Only UGA.
The lights dim, the crowd begins to cluster around the stage and the performers are introduced. At a table near the back of the venue sits Kelsey Reddick, sending a series of text messages with a smile on her face. Music is what she lives for.
Ever the busy woman, Reddick is simultaneously making sure that her show goes on correctly, booking travel plans to Nashville for the International Entertainment Business Association conference and making sure she’s back for her University Union meeting.
She’s one woman serving three roles.
Reddick, a fourth-year health promotions major whose love for music has shifted her focus away from public health, serves three roles in the historic Athens music scene. She’s the co-founder of Midnight Music Productions, the president of Music Only UGA and the Live Entertainment Coordinator for University Union.
Three roles with one overarching mission: to unite the Athens community through music.
“I want to create experiences for everyone to enjoy music,” Reddick said. “I feel like my purpose is to heal, and music makes me happy. Music heals me, so I want to heal other people through it.”
Through University Union, a student programming board, Reddick is responsible for finding and suggesting artists for the spring concert as well as coordinating the live show. Reddick, who is completing a Music Business certificate, plans to use the knowledge from the program and her summer internship at United Talent Agency to create an experience that students will remember.
“When the student population finds out (the spring artist), I want there to be only positive feedback,” Reddick said. “It would make me feel good as a Live Entertainment Coordinator to know that I’ve done something for the students and the community and they actually appreciate it.”
Two years ago, Reddick took over Music Only UGA, a student organization that was once dedicated to serve and embrace the hip-hop community at UGA. She’s refocused the organization’s mission to creating music projects that involve the community and the campus.
Last year, by partnering with Clarke Central High School, Music Only was able to connect with high school students by allowing them to create music through hands-on projects. After winning a grant from the French embassy, Reddick and Music Only was even able to allow the students to shoot a music video.
“Creating this piece where students got to help create the lyrics and choose what vibe they wanted for the beat was something that integrated different cultures,” Reddick said. “It was something that unified all people for the greater good of music.”
Courtesy of Clark Central High School and Music Only UGA
Reddick frequently uses her role as president of Music Only to collaborate with her business, Midnight Music Productions.
Through event planning and concert promoting, Midnight Music fulfills its purpose by creating unforgettable experiences through the power of music. Combining that mission with Music Only, Reddick is creating a sense of community with up-and-coming artists from the university, the community and around the country through shows like the Classic City Cypher.
“My working relationship with Kelsey has allowed me to expand my network and work with people I would’ve never had the opportunity to work with,” said DJ Bigg Bang, a disk jockey from Detroit. “She gave me a platform to be able reach more people.”
As the show comes to an end, Reddick sits backstage, where so many legendary musicians have been before. She’s watching artists from the university, the Athens community and around the state mingle. She sits back on the couch, takes off her heels and smiles with a look of satisfaction.
“Good show, but I hope we broke even tonight,” she says.
She’s one women serving three roles with one mission. And tonight, mission accomplished.
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