Entrepreneur and Gospel music industry executive
Ever since she can remember, Tracey Artis sensed her life’s calling was to help bring people together for common good and to make a difference. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in communications from Ohio University, she moved to Atlanta and launched her career with several jobs in corporate America.
Artis’s life changed direction when she met Bryron Cage, an up-and-coming recording artist, through her church—and began working with him. Her passion for the Gospel music industry was ignited, and she never looked back.
Artis’s trailblazing achievements led to various positions, including national marketing director for AIR Gospel, vice president of gospel promotions for GospoCentric Records, and vice president for Verity Records, a division of Sony BMG. In 2009, she founded her own Cincinnati-based business, I Hear Music, Inc., a marketing, promotions, and event firm representing international Gospel artists.
Using her gifts to glorify God, Artis has represented some of contemporary Gospel music’s biggest names. National award-winning artists include Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, J. Moss, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Tina Campbell, Mary Mary, Marvin Winans, Byron Cage, Israel Houghton, Kurt Carr, Charles Jenkins, Ruben Studdard (American Idol winner), and countless others.
She is credited for helping her clients earn over 100 Stellar Awards, 10 Grammy Awards, five Platinum Records (selling more than 1,000,000 units), and 20 Gold Certified Records (selling more than 500,000 units). And Byron Cage, who helped inspire her career change? That came full circle. During her tenure at GospoCentric, Artis helped him attain numerous Stellar Awards.
Artis’s three-day signature “I Hear Music in the Air National Gospel Conference” is coming on its 17th year. The event draws thousands to Cincinnati— including industry leaders and Gospel headliners — to honor, learn, and enjoy music and fellowship.
Programming includes a kick-off concert, teen summit, educational workshops, ministry, and concluding Legends Ball.
Since 2014, Artis has been the director of the Midwest Black Family Reunion (BFR), a three-day celebration that attracts over 15,000 attendees. She’s currently preparing for BFR’s 30th Anniversary (August 2018).
Artis is a sought-after speaker in the music industry. In June 2007, while serving on the board of the Gospel Heritage Conference, she was a guest at the White House celebration for Black Music Month.
Through it all, Artis says it’s her faith, family, friends, and community she cherishes the most. Artis is married to Bobby, and they have two lovely children, Jazmyn and Jordan.
Her mother, Ms. Susan Upton Farley, is the mayor of Woodlawn, Ohio, and Artis has six siblings.
Awards and Recognition
- 2016: Voted “Most Influential” by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio Leadership Academy
- 2016: Received the “Exemplar Award” at the All-White Party & Showcase, a Stellar Award event. Award presented by Byron Cage, Vicki Mack Lataillade, and Pastor Charles Jenkins
- 2013: Earned two Gospel Music Workshop of America Awards: “The Crystal Mic Award” and “Lady of Distinction”
- 2012: Awarded the “Wendall P. Dabney Spirit Award for Diversity” from the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
- 2010: Named a “Dada Rafiki Honoree,” a Celebration of Sisterhood. Honored by the Eye of the Artists Foundation with a permanent collection of art at the Cincinnati Art Museum
- 2010: Awarded Cincinnati Herald’s “Nefertiti Award” for Outstanding Achievement
- 2009: Chosen as an “Unsung Hero” by Radio One
- 2007: Listed as a member of “10 to Watch” in arts and entertainment by the Cincinnati Enquirer
- Received the Gospel Heritage Conference Award for “Outstanding Achievement”
- Community Service and Event Participation
- Current president of the Princeton High School’s Alumni Association (2014 – current)
- Member of the Princeton Education Foundation (2013 – current)Produces the annual “Evening of Faith” event for the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
- Current member of the community advisory board for The Hoxworth Blood Bank
- Current co-chair for the Youth Docent Program for the Cincinnati Chapter of The Links in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (2013 – current)
- Current chair for the “Red Dress Club” of the American Heart Association’s Greater Cincinnati chapter
- Current member of the Princeton City Schools Scholarship Board
- Current “Go Red For Women” member of the American Heart Association
- Her company, I Hear Music, Inc., awards a scholarship annually to a senior at Princeton High School (her alma mater)
- Scheduled entertainment for the National Baptist Convention in Cincinnati (2017)
- Produced 3CDC’s Summer Gospel Series for Washington Park (2017) and Summer Gospel Series on Fountain Square (2016)
- Scheduled entertainment for the NAACP’s 107th Annual National Convention in Cincinnati (2016)
- Was a “Go Red For Women” member of the American Heart Association’s Greater Cincinnati chapter (2016 and 2015)
- Member of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Ambassador Group (2016)
- PTA president for Stewart Elementary School (2011- 2016)
- Produced two Gospel concerts for the Cincinnati Reds. Headliners: Grammy-award winning artists Fred Hammond (2015) and Donnie McClurkin (2014)
- Girl Scout Troop Leader for 8 years (2006 – 2014)
- Chairperson for the Princeton Education Foundations Gala; raised over $25,000 to assist with scholarships. Artis continues to serve on the committee annually (2014)
- Served as a chairperson for the Princeton City Schools levy (2012)
- Developed a clergy gathering program at Princeton City Schools to bridge the gap between the faith-based community and the school district (2011). To date, over 500 service hours have been contributed by the clergy, and programs continue to be implemented.
- Assisted in the production of the Cincinnati’s World Choir Games Opening Ceremonies on Fountain Square (2012)
- Worked on the Lincoln Heights Health Care Centers annual fundraising event; coordinated guest artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Boney James, Kirk Whalum, and Gerald Albright
- Served on the board of directors for Black Entertainment Television (BET) for Dr. Bobby Jones