Our Impact

Since it began programming on June 1, 2000, the Stax Music Academy has educated and mentored thousands of young people to help prepare them for success as adults and, for those who choose music as a career, to become socially conscious and responsible artists. While some of our students are now making their mark in the world as teachers, nurses, social workers, and in other non-musical professions (although many still gig on the side), some are making indelible contributions in the music industry as songwriters, engineers, music business professionals, side musicians, and performing artists.

Just some examples of this include:

  • Kirby Dockery: Stax Music Academy graduate now signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation as a songwriter, 2017 ASCAP “Women Behind the Music” Award recipient, solo performing artist,  first graduate to serve on Soulsville Foundation Board of Directors
  • Mikaela Allen: Stax Music Academy graduate now Digital Content Manager for The Madison Square Garden Group
  • Evvie McKinney: Winner of inaugural season of television show “The Four” now signed to Motown Gospel Group
  • Derek Renfroe: Stax Music Academy graduate now producer, arranger, touring artist. Live arrangements praised by Newsweek. Now working on songs with Spencer, Remi Wolf, Rotana, Felly, and Alina Baraz and Chloe Tang.
  • Kris Thomas: Stax Music Academy graduate who made it to top ten on “The Voice” and was lead singer at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Palm Beach and Orlando, Florida. Now co-host of Candace and Kris, a nationally televised talk show on the African Network.
  • Kameron Whalum: Attended Stax Music Academy and now Bruno Mars’ trombone player and choreographer; served as Stax Music Academy Artist in Residence 2018/2019
  • Jeremy Powell: Stax Music Academy graduate now keyboardist for band Southern Avenue; first graduate signed to Concord’ current Stax Records label.



“(Stax) provided my child with confidence, that she did not have with using her gift/talent before, she also learn a valuable life lessons.”

“My son learned not give up on himself. He is more confident in himself as a musician and as a leader. He found a way to be proud of himself.”

“The level of professionals that shared their expertise in different areas in music and the business of music was an eye opener for our daughter. Thanks a bunch!”

“I enjoyed the classes as well as the red carpet affair. I especially love that Stax exposes my child to history. Children need to know from whence we have come so that they use our past as an opportunity to grow.”

“There were many plus points to my son participating. With us being out of the state it was certainly a blessing finding a host family that was a perfect fit. Kendric learned a lot about the music industry and was able to put some of his fears aside. Having Mr. Whalum was a bonus. You guys provide a great service to students who’s wish is to be professional artists. Thanks for all you do!!!”