Producer, Manager, Educator
Music is more than meets the ear. Behind every great song is hours of work and teams of people making it happen, from production to promotion. The University of Memphis’ Ben Yonas not only teaches this to his students, but lives it everyday with his production and management company, Yonas Media.
His company’s model is full-service and takes artists from studio to development, management and promotion. By keeping services in-house, Yonas is able to see projects through, making sure work is done right for his artists to help the music they create together to succeed. It may be a lot of work, but with the right artist, according to Yonas, it is worth it.
“For me, it is not just about music. Do [the artists] have anything to say? Is there a message that I can get up everyday and fight for to be heard? There is a lot of work; I have got to be excited to send 30 emails to get people hyped up for a show. It can not just be a great song, it can not just be a band that is cool - they have to stand for something and it can not be contrived,” says Yonas.
As a transplant to the Mid-South, Yonas’ 20-plus years of work in the industry and artist development has helped him in his recent job here as a music business professor. What started as a temporary, one-year position has turned into a rewarding and serendipitous experience for the past three-and-a-half years. While Yonas hopes to see his students stick around Memphis and help build the city’s music scene together, his primary goal isto help them achieve their own ambitions, wherever those may take the students.
“Not everyone is crazy enough to wantto do what I do. There are certainly much easier ways to make money than to try it in the music world. I am just a guy in the background who develops careers,” says Yonas.