Otis Music Camp: Day 6

Presenter of the Day: Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson is an attorney in the Music, Copyright and Entertainment Practice in the New York City office of the nationally-ranked law firm Akerman LLP.  In his role, Jackie represents a number of songwriters, composers, producers and publishing companies in connection with their music-related legal matters.

Jackie was born and raised in Macon, GA, where he attended Central High School and was an active member of the Boys and Girls Club of Central GA.  After graduating from Central in 2005, he attended Harvard University from which he graduated with an honors degree in Economics. He then worked at Google’s headquarters in California for two years before attending Stanford Law School.  Although he still considers Macon to be his home, he now calls New York City his “home away from home”. He is ecstatic to be a part of the Otis Music Camp 2018!

Georgia Artist of the Day

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Roderick Cox

Cox was born in Macon, Georgia. He attended the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University, and then later attended and graduated from Northwestern University with a master's degree in conducting in 2011. Cox then went on to further his studies with Robert Spano at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado. He was recently named the Minnesota Orchestra’s Associate Conductor in September 2016, following a year as the ensemble’s Assistant Conductor. Previously, he served for two years as Assistant Conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Music Director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Coaches of the Day: Jayme & Marsha

These two rockstar coaches are sisters but not twins. Jayme has been with us for six years and this is Marsha's first year. The apple does not fall far from the tree, Jayme's Daughter, Malaika is one of our campers! #FAMILIESOFOMC

Jayme Alilaw is classically trained, with a degree in Vocal Performance. The California native has sung with the Atlanta Opera Chorus for four seasons and sings community outreach for The Atlanta Opera and Capital City Opera. A U.S. Army veteran, Alilaw has sung for military ceremonies throughout the U.S. and Middle East. She currently teaches private voice and beginning piano lessons at the Tune Studio in Atlanta.


Marsha Wilson is a film/TV Costumer. A graduate from FIDM & Howard University, she studied Improvisation and Photography in France through SCAD. Marsha’s a California native and LOVES creating playlists!

Sponsor of the Day

Taco about a lunch!! (Pun intended)

Thank you, Margarita's Mexican Bar & Grill, for the awesome taco bar! Our coaches and campers at every bit!

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Otis Music Camp: Day 5


Week 1 is done! Thank you campers, coaches, sponsors and presenters for making this week awesome. Our campers are starting to finish up their songs and some have already been in the studio! We had our annual cookout and ate some of the best BBQ in Macon! Thank you, Mama Honeys, y'all never disappoint.

BMI's Dave Claassen stopped by to talk to our campers and came with gifts! BMI presented three awards to Otis Redding today in recognition of the great national popularity as measured by over 7 million broadcast performances attained by “Respect,”over 4 million broadcast performances attained by “Hard to Handle,”and over 11 million broadcast performances attained by “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.

We would like to thank some of our sponsors, Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Inc., Joe and Evelyn Adams, and  Gordon Berry, for coming down to camp and hanging out with all of us! We can't do this without you guys!

Presenter of the Day: David Claassen

David Claassen is the Director, Writer/Publisher Relations for BMI Atlanta. In his position, Claassen is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with BMI songwriters and music publishers in Atlanta and throughout the Southeast region. He has helped produce BMI’s efforts at SXSW, Lollapalooza, CMJ, ACL Fest, Shaky Knees Fest, Bonnaroo, ACL Fest, LouFest, Key West Songwriter Fest, Florida Music Festival, and more. David is also a Film Producer. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gasoline Films based in Atlanta, GA. Dave has become a tremendous addition to BMI. Along with signing significant writers and producers he has served an important role in such BMI flagship events such as the BMI R&B/ Hip Hop Awards, as well as curating and participating in many showcases, panels and events nationwide. His keen ability to forge national and local partnerships for BMI has resulted in numerous co-branding opportunities, including successful partnerships with the W Atlanta properties and The Loews Hotel Group with their Live from Loews platform.Prior to joining BMI in 2008, Claassen was Owner/President of RFS Marketing Group. Claassen worked to create sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for its clients. Prior to opening RFS he was at Astonish Entertainment and Astonish Records in Orlando, FL. While at Astonish he held the positions of Special Operations and Special Events as well as Managing Director. Prior to that he worked at Defected Records in London in the Press department. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Business Management from The University of Westminster in London, UK, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from The University of Georgia.

Georgia Artist of the Day

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Foo Fighters is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1994. It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the dissolution of Nirvana after the death of Kurt Cobain. The Grammy Award winning band is represented by BMI who also represents Otis!


Coaches of the Day: Isaac & Keenan

Isaac Gibson is a graduate of Presbyterian College as a Vocal major and has been the Director of Choral Activities at Central High since 2006. The Macon native has performed with many groups including the Macon Choral Society, Devidzpassion, Douglas Honor Choir and is Minister of Music at St. John Baptist. Isaac is a freelance multi-instrument musician as well as singer/songwriter/arranger.


Keenan Billups cultivated his musical skills by participating on the praise and worship team of his local church. He attended the Atlanta Institute of Music.  In August of 2015, Keenan released his debut project, “Mind Blowing”. Since then Keenan has shared the stage with the likes of Todd Delaney, Tina Campbell, Alexis Spight, and many other artist.

Sponsor of the Day

Today was our annual cookout! Campers and coaches always love this day. A cookout is the best way to unwind, enjoy each others company and even get a little bit of sun! Thank you,Mama HOneys, for the delicious food! Can't have a cook out without good food!



Otis Music Camp: DAY 4

Presenters of the Day: John Roberts & Aiyisha Obafemi


One of the most sought after Jazz and R&B Drummers of his generation, John “Lil’ John” Roberts has maintained his status in the industry as the ultimate heartbeat. A native of Philadelphia, John quickly became noted as a child prodigy, playing alongside Christian McBride and Joey Defranceso at the age of 16. Collectively, the trio was also a part of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, a project created and directed by Wynton Marsalis, composed of 22 of the countries best young jazz musicians. His list of credits also include many of the industries greatest such as: Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Prince, Sheila E, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Al Green, BB King, Paula Abdul, Yolanda Adams, Ne-Yo, Bruce Parham, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Patti Labelle, Juanita Bynum, India.Arie, Queen Latifah, Joss Stone, Raphael Saadiq, Lucy Pearl, Musiq Soulchild (Musical Director), Jill Scott, Kindred, Bilal, Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dog, The Time, Frank McComb, Mos Def, Common, Earth, Wind and Fire, again, and a host of others.

After writing producing with various Jazz and Funk Artists such as Walter Beasley, Rachelle Ferrelle, as well as his band “The Chronicle” and completing records with Anita Baker and Kirk Whalum, John has concentrated his efforts on his debut album, Heartbeat, released in June 2014. Heartbeat features friends of Lil’ John such as Stokley of Mint Condition, Eric Roberson, Robert Glasper, Anthony David and a number of up and coming artists.



Aiyisha Obafemi comes from a family with a love of music.  As a toddler, Aiyisha traveled the world with her mother who sang with Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone.

On a professional level, Aiyisha has been in the Music & Entertainment Industry since 1990.  She started as an Executive for the socially conscious rap group X-Clan’s production company, Scratch Me Productions.  Aiyisha was an integral part of the BLACKWATCH organization, as the National Spokesperson and toured with X-Clan to promote the philanthropic organization.  Currently handling a variety of positions for Disturbing Tha Peace Records including C.O.O., Marketing Director, and Video Commissioner, she has been a solid part of the label’s success.  Aiyisha is also an instrumental part of the management team for Ebony Son Entertainment of which Ludacris is the marquee client. Now as the CEO of her own company, The Blue Nile Group, she ties together all of her skill sets. She will consult others as it pertains to achieving their companies’ goals. Aiyisha will always represent a lineage of strong and intelligent women. She has raised her twin daughters, her greatest accomplishments, to do the same.


Coaches of the Day: Sarah & Charlotte Command


Born and raised in small town Alberta, Canada - the Command Sisters have been singing and picking together for over 10 years. The sisters honed their craft with a country background, which led them to their first publishing/production deal at the ripe age of 12 and 15 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Co-managed by now Tim McGraw manager Scott Siman.) This opportunity took the sisters on wild ride with 4 showcases at the famed Bluebird Cafe, a tour in Shanghai, China, a John Lennon Songwriting Contest award, a performance for Yoko Ono during John Lennon’s 75th birthday celebration, and a personal invite to meet Prince William and Kate back in the spring of 2013. In recent years, the buzz from their acoustic shows has led them to perform tributes to Chaka Khan, Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes, and The B52’s at the She Rocks Awards in Los Angeles. These performances secured sponsorship affiliations with Martin Guitar, PRS Guitars, and Marshall Amps.  Songwriters at heart with a love for harmony driven, guitar-lickin' pop music, as they grew older the sisters knew their music had to change with them. Now residing in Toronto, Canada the Command Sisters debut pop album is on the way with a cross-Canada radio tour on the horizon. Through work with organizations such as MusiCounts, TEMPO Educates, and The Stollery Children's Hospital, and recently The Gretsch Foundation, they strive to inspire young girls (and boys) to pick up the guitar regardless of the fear that comes with learning something new.

Sponsors of the Day

Thank you, Carraba's Italian Grill, for the tasty pasta! Nothing will inspire you more than a good plate of food.

Otis Music Camp: DAY 3

It's only day three but our campers are starting to really settle in and are in the beginning stages of song writing! We got to hear from Rob Shirakbari today and learned how to not "crowd the thing." Read more below.

Presenter of the Day: Rob Shirakbari


Rob Shirakbari, also known as Rob Shrock, is the Music Director for pop/soul icon, DIONNE WARWICK, and for years Rob was the keyboardist, arranger and music director for legendary composer, BURT BACHARACH. He is currently the producer, arranger and songwriting partner for UK artist, RUMER.

Rob is a musical Renaissance Man. A true jack-of-all-trades and master of many, indeed, he is at equal ease playing Debussy on the piano or rocking a B-3 organ, orchestrating and conducting for a symphony orchestra or thrashing a Les Paul through a Marshall, programming a drum beat or grooving on an electric bass.

Behind the glass, Rob can guide an artist with the wisdom of a seasoned producer or roll up his sleeves and engineer the session alongside the best technicians. He has produced and recorded with a wide range of artists and projects.


Georgia Artist of the Day

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Dionne Warwick

Dionne is an American singer, actress and television show host. Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era, based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. She is second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist of all time, with 56 of Warwick's singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998 and 80 singles making all Billboard charts combined.

Coaches of the Day: Deonte & Sa'von


Deonte Williams is a Macon, GA native who currently attends Fisk University in Nashville, TN. He studies Music and Biology while being a part of the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers. William’s love and drive for Gospel music led him to join the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a music fraternity. He has been a part of the Otis Music Camp since 2014. Williams was camper from 2014-2015 and a junior counselor in 2016.


Sa’von King has been playing drums since he was 3. He has been on tours while opening up for John P. Kee and Bishop Paul Martin. He has also been a volunteer assistant at Central High School in previous years for the marching band.

Sponsor of the Day


 Are you guys excited for the finale? Make sure you save the date! Doors open at 6:00 P.M.

Are you guys excited for the finale? Make sure you save the date! Doors open at 6:00 P.M.

Otis Music Camp: DAY 2

Today was full of learning new things. Our campers went through vocal warm ups where Coach Jayme taught them to breathe with intention followed by music theory with Coach Ted. We were fortunate enough to host, Calvin Cooke, who taught us about the Sacred Steel Guitar. Keep reading to learn more!

Presenter of the Day: Calvin Cooke


Nashville country steel guitarists have dubbed Calvin Cooke the “B.B. King of gospel steel guitar.” Calvin was born in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio into a musical family that belonged to the Church of the Living God, Jewell Dominion, which had a strong steel guitar tradition. Calvin first picked up the guitar in 1955 when a member of his extended family bought him a six-string guitar, but his fingers were too small to play it. To achieve the sound he wanted, Calvin used a knife as a slide. In time his mother purchased a steel guitar at a local pawn shop. He continues to use the same instrument on stage today as well as a ten string pedal steel instrument which he plays in a unique tuning that came to him in a vision. By 1958 Cooke had brought the influence of Jewell music, which is characterized by slower tempos and boogie rhythms, to the Keith Dominion.  Bishop Henry Harrison was so impressed by the young steel virtuoso that he took Cooke on the road with him to preach the Gospel. Harrison was a carpenter and together they helped build churches by day. By night he played and sang while the Bishop preached. Calvin is hailed today as the most influential living pedal steel guitar master within the Sacred Steel tradition.



Georgia Artist of the Day


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Jennifer Nettles

Superstar entertainer Jennifer Nettles is one of the most admired and animated performers. ASCAP has honored her songwriting prowess with five awards, including the emotionally charged, No. 1 PLATINUM hit “Stay” that also earned Jennifer GRAMMY®, ACM and CMA Awards. As the first female artist to be the solo songwriter on an ACM Song of the Year winner since 1972, Jennifer was acknowledged with the Crystal Milestone Award. Leading with her powerhouse vocals and vivacious energy, Jennifer hit high notes throughout 2016, releasing two critically-acclaimed Big Machine Records’ albums – PLAYING WITH FIRE and TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS – in addition to back-to-back headline tours as well as holiday-themed dates. 

Coaches of the Day:  Dawn & Joiterious

Dawn Jackson is one of our first year coaches. Her family builds pedal steel guitars and other stringed instruments (Jackson Steel Guitar Company). She also writes, records and produces music, and has a publishing company / indie record label called Sho-Bud Music. Her non-profit organization, Shine On Haiti, helps donate instruments and establish music schools in Haiti.


Joiterious Marshall has been with the Otis Music for five years, three as camper and two as a coach. The Central High School honor graduate, is a Singer/Songwriter and Worship Leader residing in Macon, GA. Marshall began his start in music singing in church and community choirs around the Middle GA area. In 2015, he was a camper in The Otis Music Camp which has led to countless opportunities singing around the Southeast doing backing vocals for artist like Andra Day, Fantasia Barrino, and local artist.



Sponsor of the Day

Thank you, The Back Burner, for sponsoring today's delicious meal! Our campers and coaches loved it!


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