Risky Studios is a multimedia production studio and co-working space providing the opportunity for creatives to develop professional projects.
Located in downtown East Lansing, husband-and-wife duo Joshua and Alicia Southern opened the business to empower and support creators in proximity to Michigan State University.
Risky Studios is open to students as a place to gain exposure and jump-start their creative careers.
Their new expanded location at 301 M.A.C. Ave. is just down the hall from their old suite. The studio has separate rooms with equipment available for various services such as audio production, recording, podcasts, videography and photography.
“The big thing is being able to have multiple clients at once, so if I wanted to book a person for a podcast, someone for music and photography, I could book them at the same time. I could have several spaces versus being in one space where it gets crowded,” Joshua Southern said. “The space down the hall was a lot smaller so there was less opportunity for clients to come in so we had to expand as we have been growing over this past year.”
The business idea stemmed from the Southern’s individual passions for music and visual arts.
Joshua always had an interest in music, taking a few audio classes in college.
“From there, I was making music beats, just trying to grow and get better,” Joshua Southern said.
Joshua’s continuous passion for music led him to start Christian record label Risky Music Group in his home.
“When the pandemic hit, I was in the middle of making an album for one of my artists,” Joshua Southern said. “We ended up making that album in my basement. That’s where things started to become real, and more people wanted to collaborate with us.”
As the pandemic went on, Joshua decided to open a studio space for his record label.
“At the end of 2021, we got the space, and we called it Risky Studios because we have Risky Music Group,” Joshua Southern said. “We figured out ways to make money with all the equipment we had in my basement already.”
Alicia does the marketing for Risky Studios on their social media accounts.
“I run our social media pages. I design our website and update it,” Alicia Southern said. “As an entrepreneur having multiple businesses that you run yourself, you wear multiple hats. So whatever needs to be done, I make sure it gets done. Whether it’s simple things like answering emails and phone calls, to building websites and booking sessions.”
Joshua and Alicia were able to turn their hobbies into a business by utilizing their expertise.
“I was a visual arts minor in college,” Alicia Southern said. “I did a lot of black and white photography and different things like that but our hobbies just kind of evolved over the years and we were able to turn it into a business.”
The Southerns’ view East Lansing as a profitable area with a lot of opportunity.
“The location has been great and has allowed us to connect with all different types of people because MSU is there,” Alicia Southern said. “We have a new cohort of students that we can do outreach with all the time.”
They would like to do more with MSU and want students to know that Risky Studios is available.
“We are looking to do more through MSU and get more students to come over,” Joshua Southern said. “We want to have that connection with them. We are here for them and have reasonable prices for creatives who are trying to start early. Sometimes you don’t have that exposure. It may be their side hustle and they don’t have the space or anywhere to go with the equipment.”
Student memberships are $200 and include studio access for studying, meetings, and interviews. Monthly and group pricing is available. Risky Studios also offers internship opportunities, which students can apply for on Handshake.
Risky Studios has a team of sound recording engineers, and Ronald Carter is an intern for the sound engineering department. He has always had a passion for making music and taught himself audio engineering.
“What I really like is the comfortability. Once I met Joshua and Alicia, we kind of grew a little bond like a family bond. So this space provided me the opportunity to do what I love to do which is music production, audio engineering and just helping people create their music, so that’s definitely something that I am very appreciative of,” Carter said.
Carter finds the versatility of Risky Studios valuable to their clients.
We make sure this is an open space for everybody and if students want to pursue their digital media kind of passions we can actually help jump-start that for them. That’s what our space represents,” Carter said.
The Southerns are interested in expanding Risky Studios and are grateful for how far their business has come.
“It’s a blessing, and I’m grateful for being able to expand and be part of this community,” Joshua Southern said.