Smithfield Herald

January 24, 2014

Music nonprofit will mentor teens

A man with a dream to mentor young people through music is making that dream a reality.

A man with a dream to mentor young people through music is making that dream a reality.

Recently, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce celebrated the launch of Cedars Production Studios.

Founder Michael Brock said his mission is to empower young people to find their value while using their talents. “It’s about giving them self-worth,” he said.

Here’s how it works: The studio awards “scholarships” based on applications. The scholarship pays for up to 16 hours of recording time, up to 16 hours of post-production time and 100 CDs in cases with a cover designed from the recording session’s photo shoot. In exchange for all of that, scholarship winners agree to complete a community service project.

“We realize that it is human nature to ‘take for granted’ those things that we receive without a personal cost,” the studio says on its website. “This is why we place a requirement of community service for each of our artists, providing a way to give back to those who have made it possible for them to realize their dream.”

The website lists more than 20 donors, but Brock is looking for more so he can open and equip a permanent studio. But until he can secure a building and buy professional gear, Brock’s recording studio – a laptop computer and a couple of microphones – will set up wherever it’s convenient.

Mentoring musicians

Making records is only a small part of the recording studio’s mission.

Brock plans for mentors to form relationships with the budding musicians. He’s looking for other musicians, music teachers and music lovers to fill the mentor roles.

In his 20s, Brock worked as a disc jockey in Washington, D.C. His grandfather was a DJ too, but Brock jokes, “We played a different type of music.”

Brock said his life changed when he became a Christian and began to see a bigger purpose behind his love for music.

After quitting his DJ gig in 2005, he earned certification as a music engineer; his goal was to launch his own record label.

As part of his music-engineering training, Brock had to record a live demo. He chose two at-risk boys who otherwise would not have had the chance to have their music heard.

“When I saw the joy they had, I knew I wanted to continue helping people make that possible,” Brock said.

His vision is to create a nonprofit similar to the Boys & Girls Clubs but centered on music.

Brock moved to Clayton in 2010 with his wife and two children.

He has just three rules for the young musicians he will help: no negative lyrics, agree to work with a mentor and complete the community-service project.

“It’s important to me to give people a positive influence at an early age, before it is too late,” Brock said.

To learn more or to get involved, visit

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