About Fighting Okra Studios
Fighting Okra Studios, located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Cleveland, Mississippi, is positioned to offer a unique, affordable, and professional recording experience in “The Most Southern Place On Earth.”
The studios, constructed inside of the old Whitfield Gymnasium, were opened in spring 2009. The design for the studios was drawn by veteran engineer/producer Norbert Putnam, and consists of two main recording spaces. Studio A serves as a large format studio, able to accommodate symphony orchestras, concert bands, mass choirs, and other large ensembles, while Studio B serves the recording needs of commercial ensembles and/or solo performers. Studio C serves as an additional flexible recording space, and the Sandbox production space is set up for ‘in the box’ production and mixing.
The old Whitfield Gymnasium, on the campus of Delta State University, was built in 1939 as part of WPA Project. It is significant as an example of a Mississippi university building funded by the Works Project Administration, and as a rare surviving example of a university gymnasium from the period before World War II. It was designed by engineer J.S. Sigler, loosely employing principles of the Art Moderne style.
An important aspect of the Fighting Okra Studios facility is its part in reaching out to the community and beyond in bringing the Mississippi Delta's rich musical and cultural soul to light. This, in turn, fits with the bigger picture—a political drive over recent years to actively develop the creative economy in Mississippi. To this end, Fighting Okra Studios will be encouraging professional and community clients to come in and engage with the Delta State students both creatively and commercially.
In late fall of 2015, the DMI Studios hosted Grinder Blues, a super blues group made of dUg Pinnick [King’s X] and the Bilhman Brothers. It was the first commercial ‘destination recording’ session at Fighting Okra Studios. With the Mississippi Delta being such an historic place for American music, Fighting Okra Studios plans to build on the concept of destination recording in order to offer a unique opportunity to recording artists and entertainment industry professionals. Other notable musicians who have visited Fighting Okra Studios include the late B.B. King, Amy Grant, Keb’ ’Mo, Thelonius Monk, Jr., Rosanne Cash, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Marty Stuart.
An additional community boost in close proximity to Fighting Okra Studios is GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi, the first satellite GRAMMY museum outside of Los Angeles. Located on the Delta State University campus, GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi opened in March 2016 and is dedicated to “exploring the past, present and future of music, and the cultural context from which it emerges, while casting a focused spotlight on the deep musical roots of Mississippi.”