by Amiya R.

Over the course of this summer I was given the opportunity to participate in the Memphis Music Initiative summer internship program, and I can honestly say it has been the most memorable two months ever. I would’ve never thought I could have as much fun with a group of people as I did with my colleagues. From concerts to movies to even hanging out on our own time we’ve only grown closer as the summer progressed. We are all so different, but all so alike in the same instance. This group of people I have been so fortunate to meet have become more than just coworkers and colleagues, they’ve become friends.

For the summer, MMI placed me with the STAX Museum of American Soul Music. I was a little skeptical going in on my first day because our job overview described how we would every now and then help with the tours that came in throughout the day. Talking in front of people has never been a strong suit of mine so the thought of me speaking in front of groups of people was definitely not my favorite part of the job. A couple of weeks into the job I began getting comfortable with the museum and all the information in it, so when the time for me to talk did come I was more comfortable.

While being at STAX I’ve learned so much about the music industry, the artists, and even what goes on beyond the scenes, things that an audience never gets to see. Working at STAX was basically a backstage pass to R&B music from the 1950s to the present day. My favorite part of the job had to be working in the back with all the archives and old photographs, it was very calming to be in the back and you’d be surprised by all the interesting things we come across. I was able to travel to Royal Studios thanks to my supervisors to see the recording studio of the late Willie Mitchell. I was able to meet one of his daughters and his grandson that still works out of his studio. I wasn’t aware until we got there that Bruno Mars had actually recorded in that very studio. Being able to go to there not only with STAX but also other places with the rest of my colleagues was amazing because I’ve lived in Memphis for 17 years and most of the places they took us to I’ve never even heard of. It was like being a tourist in my home town.

As the summer comes to an end, I am more than thankful for everything MMI has done for me. It was amazing to have supervisors and employers who think of us as young adults instead of kids coming to work for the summer. They uphold us to the same responsibilities as any other employee and that made the experience much more authentic. I’ve learned so much from not only my work site but from the people around me. I have no doubt that all the professional advice and support I’ve gotten this summer will carry on with me throughout my last year of high school and my upcoming years in college.

Amiya interned at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.