As any Hootie & the Blowfish fan knows well, one of their biggest hits is a song called “Time,” which Mark Bryan, the Arts Management Program’s artist in residence, co-wrote for the band’s chart-topping 1994 sophomore album, “Cracked Rear View.”
The opening line of its catchy chorus was “Can you teach me about tomorrow.” And Bryan has certainly done that and more during his decade of service at the College of Charleston. Now Bryan is leaving to concentrate on writing songs for a new Hootie album due out in the spring followed by a worldwide tour.
But before he straps on his guitar again, the Arts Management Program recently honored him on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, at the Sottile Theatre during the IN THE MIX speaker series, a creation of Bryan’s that has focused on the music industry and included special guests such as Darius Rucker and Cary Ann Hearst ’01 of Shovels & Rope.
“Apparently, it’s a celebration of me all of sudden, and they got some students involved, which made me feel good,” said Bryan prior to the event. “They’re going to have some of my former students interview me, so that should be fun. We’ll probably play a little at the end.”
Over his decade teaching his Introduction to the Music Industry class at CofC, Bryan brought so much knowledge, enthusiasm and assistance to students that he will be hard to replace.
“Mark’s professional contacts in the music business and use of those contacts over the years to assist students in getting internships, and his overall involvement in the development of the music industry concentration have been immeasurable in advancing the curriculum of the Arts Management Program,” says program Director Karen Chandler.
The music industry concentration began in 2008 under former chair Scott Shanklin-Peterson after students began expressing an interest in learning about the music industry. Up till then, the program focused primarily on the non-profit arts, so Shanklin-Peterson reached out to Bryan, a Charleston resident whom she was hoping might support the program financially after selling more than 25 million albums with Hootie. He confessed an even better proposition: a desire to teach.
“That gift of his time and amazing connections, enthusiasm and dedication was far more valuable than any financial contribution,” says Shanklin-Peterson, now a senior fellow with the program. “The music industry concentration would never have moved beyond a couple of courses if it had not been for Mark. His desire to teach was extremely fortunate for the arts management program.”
Bryan got as much out of it as the students.
“I love having a job where you can tell that you’re making a difference while you’re doing it,” he says. “That was a really cool thing. It was a perfect way for me to be using my skills in music outside of the studio and off the stage. Trying to relay what it took for me to get there to the next generation was really challenging, especially with trying to stay current with it, but it allowed me to educate myself in order to educate them.”
His best memories revolve around performing and working with some of his students, like Matt Zutell ‘13.
“He started off in my class, interned for me and we just kept working together because he’s so talented,” says Bryan. “Next thing you know, he produced a track for me and played drums on several other tracks I’ve released. I’ve had him tech or mix my shows and played on songs that he’s produced, and he graduated five years ago. That’s just one story.”
Bryan isn’t severing all ties with the College. He will still retain the title of artist in residence and guest speak at classes now and then.
“The College will always be a part of me,” he says.
Featured image by Jonathan Boncek