There is music and much more to explore in the Nashville area, and newcomers and natives alike can find their community.
Defining Nashville is getting harder — and that’s a good thing.
The region ticks all the boxes — urban and rural communities, major sports teams and music venues, excellent health care and outdoor recreation. That’s why people are choosing to build their families, careers and lives here.
Like many talented people, Gerard Longo was drawn to Nashville’s music scene. He has a background in showcasing independent artists on his show “The Quinn Spinn” and later started a blog covering eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey music scene. In 2018, he decided to move to Nashville to grow his platform, which he rebranded Underground Music Collective (UMC).
“It’s a classic story about moving to Nashville,” Longo says. “I had what would fit in my car and took a shot.”
It paid off. Nashville-based UMC is a music publishing, and multimedia company that churns out music-centric content daily, connects artists to audiences and sponsors events. Longo says UMC’s success is tied to finding “community” in Nashville, particularly through Helping Our Music Evolve (HOME).
HOME is Nashville’s 24/7 artist development and music production community that offers shared facilities for recording, rehearsal, live events and content creation. In addition, HOME membership includes an online networking community and weekly activations to accelerate your growth in the music industry.
Nashville is a community of creatives, and HOME helps bring that community together.
“Whether we are content creators, musicians, promoters, we’re all creatives trying to build something,” Longo says. “Nashville is perfect for an organization like HOME. It brings us together to share insights and network. As everyone knows, breaking into the traditional music industry is hard. Here, we are building our own from the ground up in a collaborative way.”
Open for Business
The region is also fertile ground for entrepreneurs with a business vision. For example, Nashville native Courtney Hale founded Super Money Kids (SMK), a social enterprise focused on financial literacy for young people. The company designs digital financial education lessons for students from kindergarten through college and licenses the materials through schools and universities throughout the country.
“The amazing thing about starting a business here is that while it’s a bigger city, it’s still a young city that is open to new ideas and new ways of doing things,” Hale says. “There’s still space here to be innovative. This is a great place for entrepreneurs.”
Hale has participated in the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Connect program, allowing him to engage with the business community. Throughout the six-month program, a small class of entrepreneurs comes together to learn from each other and top area leaders on how to become more involved in building the Nashville community.
“The amazing thing about starting a business here is that while it’s a bigger city, it’s still a young city that is open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.”
Courtney Hale, founder Super Money Kids
He says that connection with other small-business owners has been important to building his business. Hale says the future looks good for SMK. Fifteen states now require personal finance education in high schools. That number was just five when the company launched. In addition, he says Nashville’s elected leadership and the business community through the chamber are committed to supporting education in the region.
“Our company is part of that core value,” he says.
Billy Kilgore moved from Chicago to Nashville seven years ago and quickly found his community and network of friends through a unique Nashville organization, NashDads. The group of Middle Tennessee dads from various backgrounds with varying interests shares the common goal of being good fathers.
NashDads meets weekly to support one another and to involve their children in a playgroup that visits museums, story times, parks and other activities.
As a stay-at-home dad to his two boys, ages 4 and 8, Kilgore says making the connection with NashDads and then to the larger community was invaluable.
“There are great resources for children in Nashville,” Kilgore says. “I’ve been a part of the family scene here for several years now. This city has a lot to offer families, from the Frist Museum to the downtown library to great playgrounds and parks.”
If you’d like to learn more about the Greater Nashville region, check out the latest edition of the Nashville Economic Profile.