During the '80s and '90s, Georgia proved it had more to offer the world than just Scarlett O'Hara, peaches, and peanut-farming presidents. The state harbored a new spin on rock-and-roll. Acts like R.E.M., The Black Crowes, Collective Soul, and the Indigo Girls redefined the Southern sound, ushering in the age of alternative rock.
Though alternative music still thrives around the country, the Georgia scene, centered in Atlanta, has given way to rhythm and blues and the urban styling of hip-hop. Many in the music business have labeled Atlanta the new Motown, and they certainly have a case. The city's LaFace Records has churned out national acts such as TLC, Toni Braxton, and, most prominently, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Atlanta's well-established hit-producing machine holds the limelight, but the local scene is no less worthy of attention. Chris Williams, music director at Atlanta's new rock 99X FM, attributes the wealth of local talent to a great club scene. "Atlanta has strong clubs with venues for each tier of a band's development," says Williams. "We have clubs for the band that can draw 30 people or the band that can draw 30,000 - and a dozen steps in between."
Marcel Daniels, a deejay on Atlanta's WRAS 88.5 FM, chuckles when people suggest that to "make it," you have to live in New York or L.A. "I see more and more people from other places, even from New York and L.A., coming to Atlanta to get their break," he says.
ARTISTS TO WATCH: Look for rappers Mass Influence, the Micranots, or Binkis, whose members also perform solo; and rock-and-rollers pH Balance, Truckadelic, and Brand New Immortals, an alternative group described as "an eclectic blend of personalities and unprecedented talent."