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Studio 15 Productions was founded in June 2011 as visionaries, Justin Isaiah Shider and Kasi Taj McKoy, both at the minor age of fifteen, formed the business in response to a lack of income as young teens and a passion for swift fame. Together, Justin, a talented, diverse, musician with an extensive background of musically inclined family members; Kasi, an esteemed visual artist, that seemingly developed a passion for being behind the camera, integrated their talents across the drawing board.
With knowledge that the two had the right resources to make the collaboration a success, it was with thrill they presented the idea to both of their mothers. Reverend Tracy Shider, Shider’s mother, the pastor of Shekinah the New Generation Church, which both young men attended, may have been the greatest resource from that day onward. Shider allowed an empty room within the church’s basement to be used for the start up business, free of charge; with approval to utilize the small purple room, they began to build.
Starting off with a green screen kit that included: two photography lights, a green screen and multiple demo discs, along with two muslin sheets, a Samsung L100 Point & Shoot digital camera; it was time to set up shop. With many trial photo shoots amongst themselves, social media posts, church announcements, and small holiday portrait events, the photography end of the studio developed a firm financial structure, which funded the studio’s next location.
Their next location required no change of address, as they discovered a sizable room to the rear of the church’s building, initially functioning as a storage room. Walking in the storage room prior to their renovations, it was hard to see any potential, but both young men had a vision for the just cinderblock-enclosed area. Using the funds saved from portrait session events along with their personal savings, it was time to lie out the blueprint.
The young men received a great amount of assistance from a carpenter within the church, Deacon Demetrius Twine. Twine groomed, hand-crafted, and shaped the room into what the two visionaries set forth: a rectangular-shaped room, with black walls, black tiling, decorative doors, recessed lighting, and a recording booth large enough to comfortably fit three to four vocalists.
Since having a place to conduct business, the studio has been publicized by the city of Plainfield, New Jersey, along with neighboring townships, it has succeeded in over 400 sales of apparel with the words “Studio 15” and “Studio 15 Productions” printed across. Revenue, as well as a popular name for the business has positively surfaced, allowing the music department that once lacked the necessary equipment to function, to now serve a host of diverse artists with industry standard equipment.
One of the company’s greatest accomplishments points to the expansion of the business, location wise, in June 2015. The studio increased its perimeters, investing into a new facility, 1122 East Second Street in the Queen City of Plainfield, just across the street from their small location behind the church. The business is forever grateful for the contributions of both founder’s closest friend, Mr. Rashawn Boreland, as his financial assistance made the transition to a new location a very easy process. The beautiful new facility, that was ironically a church, just prior to the change of tenancy, also took a large amount of work to bring it up to the liking of the business owners. Originally a brownstone, the multifamily home storefront, which lacked that of the average dose of TLC, was quickly updated when granted with the keys. The facility, occupied by Studio 15 Productions for just one month short of a year, held a kitchen, bathroom, audio workstation room, and a large area for portrait sessions, as well as open space for events.
Along with the new facility came the evolution of “The Xpress” by Studio 15 Productions. The Xpress is a recurring artist showcase developed by the company in an effort to unite the community abroad, for the purpose of entertainment, while building aspiring artist’s fan base, as we collectively build ours! Studio 15 Productions’ “Xpress,” hosts acts in every stage of their development, although we focus solely on the spotlight of the “aspiring artist.” From 2015 city artists such as Dabarr Joan, Zeke Mar Lee & The Vaters, Rayn, to Troy Reign and many others. We’ve been blessed with some local industry representatives, media members, and fellow musicians combined, such as song-writer/lyricist, “Leana Rytez,” and female producer, “Tayy Svpreme,” both from the Queen City of Plainfield, New Jersey. Starting in late 2015, The Xpress showcased over twenty unique artists, and welcomed nearly 500 diverse guests in total, representing many of New Jersey’s most popular cities.