MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, second from left, poses with university alums and three members of the award-winning country music group Lanco. Pictured, from left, are Chandler Baldwin, McPhee, Jared Hampton and Eric Steedly. McPhee, on behalf of the university, presented certificates for their outstanding accomplishments and excellence in artistic expression on Wednesday, April 17, at BMI in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by David Foster)

Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry honored alumni and Lanco members Chandler Baldwin, Jared Hampton and Eric Steedly for their outstanding accomplishments and excellence in artistic expression on Wednesday, April 17, at BMI in Nashville.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee presented certificates honoring Baldwin, (Class of 2014), Hampton, (Class of 2014), and Steedly, (Class of 2013).

“I can honestly say I can attribute a lot of what has happened to me and us to being at MTSU. I am forever thankful for that,” Steedly told the crowd.

Added Hampton, “We call it the incubator. It is where everyone grows, meets and can network. That is what MTSU was for us, so I am forever thankful.”

The three met while in college and joined Lanco, stylized commercially as LANCO, before graduating. They signed a deal with Arista Nashville and released their debut album, “Hallelujah Nights,” last year. Lanco’s double-platinum No. 1 double hit, “Greatest Love Story,” was included in the Netflix show “The Ranch” and ABC’s “The Bachelor.” They have toured with Luke Combs, Dierks Bentley, and Brothers Osborne and will launch a United Kingdom tour on May 1.

In late March, they received an unexpected call from Carrie Underwood, who let them know that they won the Academy of Country Music’s 2019 New Group or Duo of the Year Award.

“This is extra special to MTSU because Pete Fisher, who is the CEO of the Academy of Country Music, is also one of our graduates. So we have an outstanding alum honoring other outstanding alums,” said Beverly Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry.

“I am really thankful for the audio production program at MTSU,” Baldwin said. “I was able to be close to Nashville and get a degree that I enjoyed getting and also learned a lot.

“It was great to learn practical ways to advance in the music industry that we have legitimately used,” Baldwin added. “When we are having some band discussions or meetings, we will bring up some things we have learned, like, ‘We should do it this way.’ I am thankful to MTSU for giving me that foundation.”

Keel said the three are serving as wonderful role models for MTSU students.

“They recently released the single ‘Rival,’ which is the first song from their upcoming second album,” she said. “The song is about grit and dedication, which captures the spirit of so many of our students, who are scrappy, hard working and driven by their passion for music. The song’s message is, no matter who you are and where you are from, be proud of that. Be yourself and take pride in creating your own path.

“Like Chandler, Jared and Eric, our students aren’t going to let anything stop them from pursuing their dreams of having a career in music.

“They are changing lives with their music, inspiring our students, and serving as great role models and ambassadors for MTSU.”


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