307: Preserving the Blues with The Music Education Initiative


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Welcome to another great episode of Startup Junkies!

On this episode of Startup Junkies, hosts Caleb Talley, Jeff Amerine, Davis McEntire, and Victoria Dickerson sit down with Orson Weems, the executive director and co-founder of The Music Education Initiative, a diverse-led nonprofit that exists to engage, educate, and elevate the next generation of professionals in the business of music and entertainment. Prior to heading The Music Education Initiative, Orson worked as the chief operating officer with the legendary music and entertainment icon Al Bell and his global music, entertainment, and artist development company, Al Bell Presents. Throughout the episode, Jeff, Matthew, Davis, Victoria, and Orson discuss BC’s Blues Shack & Juke Joint and the initiative behind preserving the blues genre.


(1:15) Introduction to Orson Weems

(1:49) Introduction to BC’s Blues Shack & Juke Joint

(6:04) The Influence of Tradition and Blues in the South

(9:04) What Fueled the Blues

(17:43) Initiatives Behind Preserving the Blues

(25:29) Orson’s Entrepreneurial Journey

(29:18) Demographics of the Blues

(36:14) Location of The Music Education Initiative

(42:00) Furthering The Music Education Initiative’s Mission

(44:39) Closing Thoughts


Caleb Talley

Jeff Amerine

Davis McEntire

Victoria Dickerson

The Music Education Initiative


“These folks, they themselves were bringing enjoyment to people so that people could actually have some good times to try to think about things other than what they were dealing with in their tolls and everyday lives.” - Orson Weems, (8:16)

“... he likes to find rare and unique artists because when you have rare and unique artists that are giving something of themselves back to the audience where they can feel a memorable experience and they can go away talking about it.” - Orson Weems, (18:49)

“This exhibit here is for those that may not have seen what a larger juke joint was, but you can get a feel for it here with the way it’s been built and the way it’s open for the community.” - Orson Weems, (31:17)

319 episode