Wednesday, January 14, 2009
– Music industry veteran James Stroud will bring country music to China and launch an international music and entertainment exchange program this year.
Stroud, who recently returned from China over the New Year's holiday weekend, settled the plans to organize and coordinate a series of concerts to take place at various locations in China. James Stroud, Ronnie Gilley (Ronnie Gilley Entertainment/BamaJam Music & Arts Festival) along with Investors Equity of Nashville, secured an agreement with China to produce a series of concerts and events to be held in both China and the U.S. No artists were named.
During Stroud's early January visit, he was accompanied by the musical trio Lucy Angel; the group performed at the Great Hall Of The People in Tiananmen Square on January 3 before Chinese government officials and more than 280 international dignitaries and ambassadors.
"I was honored and overwhelmed by the gracious welcome, hospitality and friendliness of the Chinese people. They have a genuine love and admiration for American music and entertainment and that was made evident as they enthusiastically embraced the performance," Stroud said. "The reaction solidified our plans...and as far as I know, this series will be a first. We hope it to be the first of many."
The first of the China concert series, officially named 2009 Zhang Jia Jie International Country Music Week, will kick off in May with the first of the series to take place on May 14 in Hunan province.
In addition to country music, the series will feature performances by an international cast.
Stroud and his partners are also in negotiations to host a major concert in the fall at the Bird's Nest/Beijing National Stadium, the structure built to host the 2008 Olympic Games. This final show in 2009 will boast performances by an array of award-winning artists, both American and international, from a variety of music genres.
"We are working diligently with all parties (our partners and China committee members) to not only have great events but establish a strong foundation to substantiate this effort to take this movement of 'unity through music' to other countries," Stroud added.
Stroud, Gilley and partners will produce shows in the U.S. featuring Chinese and American artists. The first cultural exchange concert will take place at Troy University, Troy, Ala. with the date to be announced. "With international affiliate schools in China, Japan, Germany, Korea and more, Troy University is the optimum location to kick-off the exchange concert series," said Stroud.
Stroud is working to host a similar event in Nashville to attract music students and the Music City community. The Chinese committee will bring singers and dancers to the U.S. events. "This not only opens the doors to our community, but to all of America to experience the music and culture of China. Because music is a world language, these mutual, cultural, exchange events will strengthen our overall initiative to establish a successful, long-running relationship through entertainment," Stroud concluded.
Stroud is well known as a producer and record label executive, having helmed Giant and DreamWorks Nashville. He has formed his own label.