From Michael Jackson and “Thriller” to Sir Paul McCartney to Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola and John Landis
One of the hallmarks of a Clayton State University education is experiential learning -- the opportunity to further one’s education, and the learning process, outside the classroom.
Clayton State’s Student Activities Center will be just such a site on Thursday, Nov. 7, when the Clayton Media & Entertainment Association (CMEA) hosts a special guest lecture by producer and recording engineer Matt Forger.
While the term “special” tends to be over-used, Clayton State Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Shawn Young says that this is one occasion that fits. After all, it is rare that students (and that includes high school students, students from other colleges and anyone else who wants to attend) get a chance to hear from someone who has worked with… Sir Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Patti Austin, Missing Persons, Michael McDonald, James Ingram, Siedah Garrett, Quincy Jones, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Giorgio Moroder, Larry John McNally, George Duke, Patrick O'Hearn, Gilberto Gil, Simon Lynge, Rod Temperton, Bruce Swedien and more than a few other giants in the recording and film industries.
Forger will be lecturing from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Student Activities Center (SAC). As noted, his presentation is free and open to the public. However, the ballroom only seats about 650, so it might be a good idea to come early.
“As an educator I am committed to offering students a glimpse into the entertainment industry,” says Young. “What better way than to connect them with the person who has worked with some of the biggest names in show business? Given Georgia’s emerging position in film, music, and gaming, Clayton State University is uniquely positioned to prepare students for a field that promises to outlive many other industries.”
Clayton State students, especially music majors and the officers of the CMEA student organization, are already excited about this experiential learning opportunity.
“There are a lot of locally-famous people in the music industry around here,” explains sophomore music major Ryan Stegall of Jonesboro, who is already doing music management in his spare time. “I would love to get experience from someone who’s above locally-famous. (This is) monumental to me.”
Evonee Mitchell, a Berkmar High School graduate from Gwinnett County, is a sophomore Music Performance major (on the viola) who also plans to teach music. She also has a lot of friends who are interested in the music industry but, as she puts it, “don’t know where to get information” about the industry. As a result, Mitchell will be in the SAC Nov. 7, and encourages everyone who does want to hear first-hand about the music industry to also be in attendance.
Jonesboro’s Avys Burroughs is a performer, a jazz saxophonist who is part of the Clayton State Jazz Ensemble. He’s trying to broaden his view of the music world.
“To be successful, you have to understand each little piece of the music world,” he says. “This is how I can better prepare myself for that world.”
Educated at Syracuse University and SUNY College at Buffalo, Forger began his involvement in the music business by mixing live sound for rock bands in the northeast.
Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, he secured a staff position at Westlake Studios, where he met and worked with producers Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey, Harold Faltermeyer and George Duke. Later he teamed up with producer Quincy Jones, songwriter/arranger Rod Temperton and engineer Bruce Swedien, working on albums by Lena Horne, Donna Summer, James Ingram, in addition to Michael Jackson’s famed “Thriller.” He also worked on The E.T. Storybook Album with Jones and Steven Spielberg, and the Thriller Video with John Landis.
Forger recorded and mixed the Captain Eo attraction for Disney, produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He continued his association with Jackson on the albums “Bad,” “Dangerous,” “History” and “Blood On The Dancefloor.”
His production contributions also reach across the globe for artists like Japanese pop superstar Yumi (Yuming) Matsutoya. In 1984 he was first asked to bring a new sound and production techniques to her recordings. Overall, he has worked on 15 albums as recording engineer, mixer and co-producer, 14 of which entered the Billboard chart at #1… a pretty decent track record.
Forger’s current involvement with up-and-coming talent and independent artists has helped bring production expertise to a number of singer/songwriters and alternative bands, including songwriters Larry John McNally, Barry Keenan and Greenland artist Simon Lynge.