Michael Blanton, of Brentwood, Tennessee, has had a celebrated career in the music industry and continues to be involved in several areas of IP development and branding. A native of Amarillo, Texas, Blanton got his start in music as an A&R representative at Word Records in Waco, Texas, moving to Nashville in 1978 to open the company’s office on Music Row. He and business partner Dan Harrell launched Blanton/Harrell Production and Management in 1980 with Amy Grant as their first client. In 1981 with friend Brown Bannister (’75), they created Reunion Records and Reunion Publishing and soon launched the careers of artists including Michael W. Smith and Rich Mullins. Blanton served as executive producer for some of Grant’s biggest hits, including the albums Unguarded (1985), Lead Me On (1988), and the multi-platinum Heart in Motion (1992), which sold more than ten million copies and received five Pop Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. He also executive produced hits for Smith including his debut, Michael W. Smith Project (1983) featuring the song “Friends,” The Big Picture (1986), i 2 (EYE) (1988) and Change Your World (1992). Blanton and Harrell worked with authors including Frank Peretti, helping him release his multimillion selling This Present Darkness in 1986 and Piercing the Darkness in 1989. Beginning in 1997, Blanton and Harrell served as co-presidents of Gaylord’s Idea Entertainment, leaving in 2000 and forming Blanton Harrell Cooke & Corzine in 2001. There they signed acclaimed Christian artists such as Point of Grace and Bebo Norman and Joy Williams.
In 2011, Blanton launched Be Music and Entertainment to develop and manage new artists, such as Zane Williams (’99), Dave Barnes, Ginny Owens and All Sons and Daughters. In 2018, he partnered with Vertigo Media to help with their new technology branding. Technology that connects Spotify and Apple into one artist music activation app.
Also, in 2018 Blanton partnered with Gary Glover to form a new consulting and branding team, and they have helped to launch the new on-line digital songwriting venture, called Songwriting University, where anyone around the world can co-write with Nashville songwriters. And finally in 2020 Terry Benedict (producer of Hacksaw Ridge) and Blanton have formed a new film production company named Beacon Hawk Entertainment, planning to move into production of new film projects in 2022.
Blanton is a member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Gospel Music Association, the Country Music Association, and the Americana Music Association, and he serves as board chair of Lipscomb’s College of Entertainment and Arts. The team of Blanton & Harrell was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Blanton and his wife, Paula, have three grown children all married and living in Nashville – Carter and Molly Blanton, Chelsea and Heath Drimmel and Boothe and Conor Farley – and six grandchildren.