Chris Jerry has wanted to run his own recording studio since he was 13 years old.
The 2006 Southaven High School graduate said he fell in love with producing his own beats and mixing sounds from the time his brother brought home FruityLoops, a computer music recording program.
“We had just gotten a new Compaq computer and played FruityLoops for hours and hours trying to create drum patterns,” Jerry said. “I would spend hours on this.”
Jerry’s musical roots began when he was a teenager. He started out playing trumpet in the school band, but later switched to drums because it was “cooler” and he “wanted to catch the girls”.
After high school, he studied music at Northwest Community College. He sold his first “beat”, a hip-hop instrument on MySpace, for $150 and it was there that he realized he might have a future in the music business.
“A guy contacted me on MySpace and I’ll never forget him,” Jerry said. “It was a hip hop beat that I did on the same program I used as a kid. I was so proud of it. It was a great feeling to sell my first beat and realize that d other people saw the value in my music.
A year later, bored with college, he decided to join the navy instead. He served as a boatswain aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and served until 2014.
After the Navy, Jerry went back to college and studied computer science at Strayer University in Memphis and currently works as a network engineer.
Jerry said that after college he was able to focus on his music a lot more. In 2014, he was invited to participate in the MMT (Memphis Music Town) Consortium, an effort to develop local musical talent and better promote the music industry in Memphis. The organization was started in 2012 by National Songwriters Hall of Famer and Stax Records legend David Porter. The Memphis native has been active in mentoring the next generation of Memphis musicians. Jerry participated in the Soulright Music mentorship program which helped him learn more about the music industry and allowed him to work with established professionals with the tools to succeed.
A manager took him to Atlanta and introduced him to several hip-hop record company executives, which led to him working with hip-hop and rap artists like Waka Flocka and Mishon Ratliff, who appeared on the Lincoln Heights TV show.
“Waka Flocka was really big back then,” Jerry said. “He acquired a few beats from me.”
More recently, he worked as a producer on songs for Paul Wall, Lil’ Flip and Cashis, a rapper who was featured on the Shady Records album Eminem Presents: The Re-Up with Eminem.
“Over the years I’ve done stuff for some really good artists and big labels,” Jerry said.
Jerry recently opened his own brick and mortar recording studio called Slim Productions Studio at 9102 Millbranch Road in Southaven. The company is a full-service music production studio where musicians can come in and record music, podcasts, video, as well as mixing.
“You can bring your band in and we can record live sessions and create tracks for a record,” Jerry said. “I’m a music producer, so I can set up a session for someone. I can have a guitarist and build a song for them from scratch. I can also do podcasts and pretty much lay the groundwork for production and music video mastering.
Jerry said starting his own studio has long been his career goal.
“It’s been a dream of mine to own my own studio since I was a kid,” Jerry said. “I had one in my house for years. Basically, I wanted to come out of my shell and eliminate foot traffic from my house.
Jerry said he had already booked a few sessions and there was a great need in the area for a recording studio.
“In the hip-hop world in general, people need a place to record where they feel safe and where they feel like it’s a home environment,” Jerry said. “A lot of parents want their kids to try their hand at music, but they don’t know where to go. They don’t want to go to Memphis. And they don’t know what kind of recording studios exist. I want to be a studio where they can feel safe because Southaven is a safe town.