Making music in the River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 1998

DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / November 18, 1998

Donnell Glasper has only been in LaPlace for a couple of weeks. The 29-year-old solo rapper, known as “The Don of Rap” in some music circles in Chicago, Is looking for a place to record his work.

Turns out he doesn’t have to look very far.

Budding performing artists no longer have to travel to Nashville or even New Orleans to get a professional tape or CD.

Donald Davis of Reserve has opened the ZOW Sound Music Publishing Company and Recording Studio (ZSM) in the Plaza LaPlace where he says he can handle most any kind of recording needs.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur is no stranger to the music business.

For the past 10 years Davis has played keyboard and drums for a band called Glide, recording several CDs and records. During his long musicalcareer as a member of other bands, he’s opened shows for the Nevilles and other artists. As an independent musician, he’s played in clubs up anddown Bourbon Street.

He opened ZSM last month after noticing no other commercial studio was advertising in the River Parishes.

“Instead of going to New Orleans or Baton Rouge, people can come here to record for a lower price and get some good quality,” Davis says.

Davis says his recording studio, with a control room and three sound booths, offers a full line of services to individual vocalists, rap artists, bands, church choir and school choirs and other groups.

If a recording artist comes in with his own track, Davis, along with musicians and songwriters working out of his studio, can put together a demo tape either using live tracks or pre-recorded sound.

With the help of state-of-the-art computer software, Davis can compose vocal arrangements for artists who don’t have their own tracks.

“If you don’t have a track,” he says, “we can find a song that fits your voice, prepare music tracks and produce a demo tape with your vocal tracks on that song.”Some artists come into the studio with their own producers. Others mayneed someone to represent them. Davis says he can also help artists gettheir feet in the door in the highly competitive music business.

“If we make a demo tape,” he says, “we’ll shop it around for you and see if anybody’s interested – see if we can get some feedback.”If you’re interested in recording, you can book time at the studio by the hour or get lower rates by buying a blocking of time or even renting out the whole studio.

While Davis says he’s interested in a variety of music, he requires that rap music recorded in his studio must be non-violent and have a positive message. As a community service, Davis says he would like to record atape of several church choirs in the River Parishes.

As a band member, Davis has played at casinos, riverboats and hotels in Louisiana and out of state. His band plays a mixture of rhythm and blues,pop, blues, jazz and even a little zydeco and country, he says.

Davis says he’s experimented as a vocalist with the eight-member band but has decided to stick to the keyboard.

“I can give them the notes,”he says, “but I can’t sing them.”

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