Photo Gallery | Signal Flow milestone gives perspective to Memphis music industry
Memphis music enthusiasts know that a $2 cover is hard to come by – but that is exactly what they will find at an upcoming show celebrating Bluff City sounds and a public relations firm's second year in the music industry.
For Elizabeth Cawein, the CEO and founder of Signal Flow, this milestone goes beyond applauding the success of her business. It shows an advancing music scene in Memphis, which has had its struggles in the industry but retained the grit to produce irreplaceable talent.
"The one thing I believe hasn’t ever changed about Memphis is the amount of talent here," said Cawein. "The struggle of Memphis music since the 1970s is infrastructure. We need more managers, more booking agents, more companies like Signal Flow."
That infrastructure allows an artist to stay in Memphis, build a team and manage a regional or national career, according to Cawein. But she assures that the infrastructure is growing now – slowly but surely.
"It’s exciting to see artists choosing Memphis and finding what they need here to support a career," she said.
Cawein personally understands the struggle of choosing to start a career in the music industry in Memphis or elsewhere. She worked with local musicians at the Memphis Music Foundation for a couple of years until it restructured in 2011.
"I felt like I had a choice to make between a music industry job and continuing to live in Memphis, and I didn’t like that choice," said Cawein explaining the start of her business. "Since I’d worked with artists for two years at the Music Foundation, I knew that the need for publicity and digital marketing was there. I’d been considering what my next steps would be, in a big-picture, a-few-years-from-now sort of way, and artist publicity was where my heart was – I just never thought it would be happening so soon."
She started out of a small office in a Cooper-Young recording studio with two clients. Recently she moved to an office in the Emerge Memphis building downtown to allow room for possible new employees and interns. The firm now has dozens of clients and successful campaigns
Similarly to the recording terminology describing the path between a musical source and the output, at Signal Flow Cawein takes a musician's story and pushes it online. And clearly there is no other city she would rather share from.
"I grew up in Memphis and absolutely love this city, and especially its music ," she said.
Cawein said some her favorite releases this past year were by Memphis artists. She looks forward to more with some albums coming from her own clients. This fall there will be a new album from Myla Smith and Motel Mirrors, an eponymous EP from Amy LaVere and John Paul Keith.
In the near future, Myla Smith and another Signal Flow client, Chris Milam, will be playing a show this weekend to commemorate the firm and the Memphis music ahead.
WHAT: Signal Flow PR Turns Two
WHEN: July 12, doors at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: 1884 Lounge, 1555 Madison Ave.
HOW MUCH: $2 cover, $2 PBRs