American Music Producer Ronnie “Lil Ronnie” Jackson Gears Up to Launch Einnor Studios in Alpharetta

Often referred to as the Hollywood of the south, Atlanta has become the new epicenter for the entertainment industry, driving opportunities to the city, like never before. Multi-platinum music producer and Atlanta resident, Ronnie “Lil Ronnie” Jackson, is bringing a business of his own to the city with a state-of-the-art production house. Ronnie has worked behind the scenes of hit recordings over the years of well-known artists like Britney Spears, Chris Brown, Usher, Neo, just to name a few. And he joins us today to discuss Einnor Studios and his journey as an entrepreneur.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thank you so much, Ronnie, for stopping by the studio.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. So first of all, I want to get out of the way, the name, you’ve got to tell me. Where’d you come up with the name?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
It’s just my name backwards.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s my name backwards. Pretty easy, right?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
It looked pretty cool. I look like… People were like, “What does that mean?” Then after they look at it and I tell them, they’re like, “Makes sense.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Einnor Studios. I love it. Yeah. It’s Ronnie backwards. So that’s great. So let me ask you, right now everybody’s shaking their head and saying, “Wow, COVID.” In some cases it’s shut down businesses and others, it froze them in place until things come back around. But you’ve made some bold moves here and said, “No, this is a great opportunity for me to open up a studio. Build a studio.” Which we know is not cheap and that’s a huge overhead. So talk to us about A, why Atlanta and why now?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Atlanta is just the hub of entertainment, period. I mean, we have some of the biggest recording artists that already live here. And it has been the number one producing music for R&B, rap, even pop music. Some of the biggest songs come right out of here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. It really is number one?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I mean, everyone thinks New York or maybe LA.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
No. And Atlanta is one of those towns that it gives you the opportunity to create a certain sound. So people copy the Atlanta sound.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, no kidding?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
All around the world.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow. And you’re part of creating that.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I’m part of that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s pretty cool. I mean, these names are very impressive. Brittany Spears and Chris Brown and Usher and Neo, I mean you know your way around a studio for sure.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah, just a little bit.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So, why now, of all times when everyone’s sitting there thinking, “Uh-oh, we’ve got COVID on the brain and are businesses going to come back strong,” and such.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Well, it’s actually just perfect timing for us. We had started right before COVID hit and with the regulations, we didn’t know if we were able to keep on working, not working, but Georgia was pretty open about it. So we were able to keep on continuously doing construction through the pandemic.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, that’s great.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
We just put certain protocols in for all the contractors that they must be tested and different things and we were able to safely do it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great. And when will you be open for business and produce?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Within a couple months we should be up and running. We’re just putting finishing touches on it. And what’s unique about the space is we have a workout facility.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow. That’s great.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
We’ll have a butler service.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Very cool.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
So we’ll have full liquor license in full for beverage.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Really?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I just wanted to create a place that almost had everything in it. I travel a lot. I stay in a lot of nice hotels. And I wanted to have the same service as a St. Regis or Ritz Carlton.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, that’s great.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Actually for the creatives.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. And a lot of… You talk to, I don’t talk to… But you see a lot of artists out there and TV and such. And they’ll show you their home and in the basement or some wing of the house, they’ve got these incredible studios. And it sounds like you’re trying to also make these individuals feel at home.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Well what happens, we work with so many different people because I have personal studios at my home. And what happens is you just don’t want everybody at your house.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, right, that’s a good point.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
You have your closest friends, but there are some artists you just meet and you want to actually do it in a professional place. So even though you have personal studios, most of the majority of major artists still use big studios.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. For sure. And they want to bring their entourage.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So if it’s at a home and they’ve got 20 people between videographers and photographers, PR people, whatever they’ve got, and you’re like, “Wait a minute. This is my house. I can’t be doing this here.” Right?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Exactly.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, no question about it. So what is the movie industry or I should say the music industry, like right now in Atlanta? Is it strong? Is it coming back?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
It’s amazing. It’s never left. Actually, during the pandemic, music picked up even more because people actually had time to stream.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s a good point.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
To stream the music and stream movies and stream everything because everything is on those platforms now. So it actually just enhanced it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. We also saw podcasts. Everybody doing podcasts now shot through the roof, because people had the time, to your point. And they’re locked down in their homes and they’re trying to get every piece of media that they can get their hands on.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I feel the pandemic was a blessing in disguise. I mean, a lot of people got the time to actually spend time with their families and actually to attack the dream board or the vision board that they’ve been working towards. You’ve got some time to actually do that stuff you really want to do.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure, sure. So now for some of the people out there that feel they’re musically inclined and they have a good voice or they want to get into hip hop or whatever the case might be. Is it easy for them to contact a studio like you’re building right now and say, “Hey, I’d love to get in.” Do you make provisions for that? Or is it just all of the big players out there?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I’ve been going back and forth with it. I am going to leave opportunity for a certain amount of people, but I think I’m going to do a members-only type situation.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh really? Yeah, okay, that’s a great idea.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah, because you want it to be capped out. You want it to-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Stay like a club.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Stay like a club, absolutely. But I am going to leave some room for certain independent individuals to get in. I’ll also leave some room and openings because I want to do some educational programs to help kids out.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
And let them come in the studio and if they want to learn production or anything they want to do in the music industry, I’ll be there to help.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s right. And those next generation of Ronnie Jacksons are right now in middle school and they’re following you. And they want to know more and maybe some really dynamic sounds are coming out of these kids. Right?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah. Because I’m a big fan of the performing arts schools. I went to performing arts from grade school to high school. So the arts is very important to me. And I just want to give back, like my teachers gave back to me.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
For sure. And are you a native of Atlanta?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I’m actually from Kansas City, Missouri, but I moved down here in 2004. So I’ve been down here for a while. So I feel like I’m from here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, I was going to say that 15 years or 16 years.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Besides being a Chiefs fan.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, that’s right. It’s a good team though. They’ve really come quite a ways. So what’s next? I say what’s next. You’re opening up the studios in a couple of months, but where does this go from here?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
It just keeps on expanding. We’re in the developing stages of doing some rehearsal halls and sound stages and places for people to actually shoot content for the YouTubers and different stuff like that. So we just want to expand it. You know what I mean? And just keep on going and building onto the vision.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great. And do you have the real estate around you to be able to do that physically, to build on?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely. Yeah, the current building is about a hundred thousand square feet.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh my gosh.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
So we have plenty of room and just the area, it’s in Alpharetta, Georgia. You can’t get better real estate.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
No, there’s no question about it. In fact, Atlanta is getting a bad rap right now in Buckhead, as you know, unfortunately, the crime situation, but it’s a real issue. Isn’t it?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yes. And that was one of the reasons I chose this location because it’s out the way, but it’s not too far out the way. You’re literally 10 to 15 minutes from Buckhead, still a 40 minute drive from the airport. You still could get to downtown. And a lot of the stars, they don’t want to be in the inner city or even in Buckhead. It’s working out.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, that’s great. I live in Alpharetta as well. We have Avalon and we’ve got the whole downtown area,

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
You have a five star hotel. It’s amazing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s phenomenal. It really is. So people that are flying in for your studios would get a lot out of that as well.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Correct.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And so, wow, that is fantastic. Did you model this after studios that you have been in? I imagine you’ve worked in a lot where you say, “I like that. If I build a studio I’m going to have that in it. I don’t like this. We’re not going to do that here.”

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah. It was a lot of back and forth for me because you have… There’s three things about a studio. Either they sound amazing and they don’t look well. Then you have some that sound good, or look well, but they don’t have the infrastructure and they weren’t built correctly. Then the third part is I don’t believe in interns being a part of the service. They should actually be there to learn and to help the whole process. And they shouldn’t have to go get bottled waters and food and different things like that.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
So I wanted to put all of those things together, which I haven’t seen at a studio. So, like I said, with the butler service, you’ll be able to push a button. You’ll be able to order cocktails. You’ll be able to order food 24 hours a day. And you’ll just be in a great environment. If you need to work out, you can go work out.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That is fantastic. Sure. I would imagine sometimes some of the artists just do want to take a break and say, “Look, let me get my head together. Maybe I’m not right in the zone right now. Let me go work out. Sit down. Have a drink. Relax.”

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely. It’s actually part of the process. Because my process of writing a song is just having a conversation, because when you write about life, you can’t go wrong.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
So it’s all about maybe having a drink or just talking about what’s going on in your life and that’s the song.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s fantastic, someplace that they’re comfortable.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
What were some of the challenges in putting this together? I mean a hundred thousand square feet, this is a big venture. And I know because we have a much smaller studio, but I happen to know that studio equipment is not inexpensive. So this is a very costly endeavor.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Most of the challenges were more about just shortages of supplies and the actual manufacturers shutting down, building materials and equipment.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. I didn’t think about that. Yeah.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I was lucky enough, some of the bigger things like the speakers and the mixing boards, get those shipped right before the panic started. But we’re still dealing with other shortage supplies, so it’s coming in. So that’s put us back a little bit. But I mean, I’m happy with the place we’re in because some people stopped. So the fact that we were able to keep on going-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, that’s great.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I’m happy about it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Talk to us about some of the vendors that make something like this possible. Because I know that you can’t do it alone. You’ve got to depend on a lot of different other companies to make something like this happen.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yeah. So it was a company called Symphonic Acoustics and George Oxburgh introduced me to him. He’s a super famous speaker designer. And he introduced me to this company because they do all the fabrication for his speakers that are in every major studio. So the owner, P.K., he was just a tremendous help with the whole process of getting everything ordered, getting it in in time. And like I said, they were pretty backed up and with warehouses shutting down. We were still able to get it done. And in a great timeframe.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s fantastic. Yeah. It takes a village in a situation like this whenever anybody’s opening up a business. So it’s certainly interesting that you’ve got such a great group of vendors working with you on your side. That makes all the difference.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you’ve got so many artists that reside here in Atlanta, many of the ones that I mentioned that you’ve worked with. Are they already in camp Ronnie Jackson right now going, “Build that thing and we will be there”?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yes. I have not stopped getting calls. “Is the studio ready? Is the room ready? Is it time to get in?” So I’m very excited about the possibilities and the business that’s to come.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s fantastic. So do you think that there’s other cities or have you identified other cities that you could duplicate this in? To say, “Hey, this area is another hot spot for what we’re doing here in Atlanta.” Or are you all in on Atlanta?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
I’m all in on Atlanta. Georgia, what they have done with the tax breaks, or just everything. I’m going to try to start focusing on getting a lot of the post production here, because I know a lot of that is still outsourced to LA. So I want to have the facilities. And when I started getting into it, it was surprising to me that a lot of the studios don’t have audio capability. So I kind of want to make it a one stop shop.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow. That’s fantastic. That’s great. So when you open, you’ll be able to shoot video as well as having the audio studios and soundstage.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Correct.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Wow, fantastic. Ronnie Jackson, multi-platinum music producer, and now owner and operator of these incredible studios, which is Einnor. Am I saying that right?

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yes.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Which is Ronnie spelled backwards.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Yes, sir.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s fantastic. We want to come by when you open to cover the grand opening and show everybody what it looks like.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Fantastic. Thanks so much for coming by.

Lil’ Ronnie Jackson:
Oh, thank you.


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