When one thinks of Nashville, cowboy boots, country music, and Johnny Cash are often among the first things that come to mind. However, the renowned “country music capital of the world” has a rich music history that extends far beyond just country, and music business powerhouses Jamila McCarley and Thalia Ewing, also known as Mimi and Muziqueen, founded the initiative Nashville Is Not Just Country Music to bring awareness to the bustling urban music scene within the city.
Mimi and Muziqueen turned their love for music and passion for music business into an opportunity for creatives in Nashville to advance in the industry regardless of the genre they work in. The two driven music professionals are pioneering a movement that empowers musicians and sheds light on Nashville’s urban music scene in the midst of Nashville’s country reputation being both persistent and prominent.
Nashville Is Not Just Country Music (NINJCM) started as a passion project seven years ago and the company is only growing in size. Their mission goes beyond simply letting the world know that Nashville is not, in fact, just country music; the company gives artists and musicians a chance to connect with other artists and reach the audience they are looking to reach on a global scale.
The city is saturated in music and the arts, and NINJCM provides a multitude of artists of all genres, especially within the urban music landscape, the resources needed to shine with networking events, mixers, and other live events that are much anticipated after the last year.
We had the opportunity to chat with Mimi and Muziqueen about their work, mission, and plans for the company moving forward.
So what drove you to start Nashville Is Not Just Country Music?
Nashville Is Not Just Country Music was started for many reasons. One, as a statement to the rest of the world to let it be known that Nashville is not just country music. Two, to offer an outlet for creatives to connect, learn, perform, network, and collaborate. Three, to bridge the gap between Music Row and the creative community in Nashville and allow all the opportunities, resources, and advancements on Music Row available to ALL creatives in Nashville.
What artists and creators are you currently working with who should be on folks’ radar?
Kadence Pat is a producer we work with and believe in his talent. He has worked with many artists in Nashville, Houston, Memphis, Los Angeles and Atlanta. He has a vast range of skills and works in many genres.
A huge part of the music business is the live entertainment aspect. How did NINJCM adapt to the changes over the past 1+ year?
We dialed in more to the digital space. We hosted more educational discussions for creatives to help them use that time to set up the necessary business entities essential to the independent creative. We also partnered with H.O.M.E to host The Best of Nashville Hip Hop Live Stream. As well as host various one on one conversations with indie creatives such as Divinity Roxx, LouisYork and Shannon Sanders discussing how they handled the pandemic.
What is the most rewarding part of running NINJCM and working in the urban music scene?
Knowing that creatives respect and value our efforts is wonderful, but the ultimate reward will come when we are able to change creative lives financially through our efforts to expose their talents. That’s the moment we will feel accomplished when creatives receive opportunities that directly impact the trajectory of their career due to our efforts. We want BIG WINS for everyone we work with.
I see you recently held a sold out Urban Songwriters and Producers Mixer at NMAAM downtown with artists from all over the region. How did it feel to have a live in-person event again, and did you feel it was a success?
It felt great!! We had limited capacity to be respectful of Covid restrictions, however it was great to be back networking and connecting with creatives and allowing them space and opportunity to connect with each other. We look forward to continuing to host the mixers on a quarterly basis.
As individuals, what is the one thing that you think drives your passion for music and the music business?
For me (Muziqueen) it’s pure love of music first. It’s that love that drives me. My passion is fueled by knowing I’m helping creatives who make music that touches people’s emotions all over the world.
As for me (Mimi), it is the love for the people who create the music, even more than the music. I understand the heart, the mindset, life, and role that creatives play in the world. I wouldn’t want to live in a world without creatives. That’s why I work hard to support, serve, and advocate everyday for opportunities to help them to be able to continue to do what they were put on this earth to do!
Where do you hope to see NINJCM in five years?
We hope to see it as a thriving entertainment company that facilitates substantial career advancement for creatives. NINJCM has officially formulated a publishing company and will be doing single song partnerships with creatives we personally vet. In addition, we hope to scale the company and eventually develop a record label and management company.
What upcoming projects and events should we be looking out for in the near future?
We are actively working on building up our publishing catalog, so we will be scouting talent for opportunities. We are back hosting our monthly Urban Writers Round at Acme Feed & Seed every 3rd Wednesday of the month. The next one is June 16th at 6PM. We will host the networking mixers quarterly. We have partnered with The Beat List Official to co-sponsor their next Beat Battle on June 15th, 8PM at Acme Feed & Seed. We have also partnered with Spin Statz to co-host a DJ Battle in July and Nashville Hip Hop Cypher that will premiere on YouTube June 30th.