Setting up a student-run record label was on the “to do” list of DMI Director Tricia Walker since her first day on the job at DSU in 2006.
“A number of colleges and universities that have music industry programs have either a practicum course or a stand alone organization that offer students a chance to gain real world experience in the planning, development, and execution of all aspects of a recording project in the context of a business setting. An experience like this is an invaluable learning opportunity for students.” -Tricia Walker
The name, Fighting Okra Records, was selected due to the popularity of Delta State’s ‘unofficial’ mascot, the Fighting Okra. “It’s a memorable name, no doubt,” says Walker.
As a student run record label, Fighting Okra Records works with a rotating staff. Each year brings a new group of talented and creative students to operate the label. Each member of the class oversees a particular department of the label, including artist development, sales/marketing, publicity, promotions, new media, finance/legal, and product development.
Fighting Okra Records launched in the fall of 2010, and in 2011 released its first product, Okra Melody Vol. 1: Fighting Okra Fusion, a compilation of “the best of the best” musical selections from the DMI from 2008 to 2011. Artists featured on Okra Melody Vol. 1 were all students, songwriters, producers, and engineers of the DMI and included: Lance Vaughn, Saint’s Corner, Shelby Anderson, Kia-C, Ron Etheridge, St. Paul M.B. Mass Choir, Misspent Youth, Boy Scout Knife, Lil MIC, Ethan Sumrall, and Joanna Sabine.
Now in its second year, Fighting Okra Records is still growing, and a second project is currently in production.