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Best industry impresario-slash-big-sis-to-the-stars: Malissa "Mali" Hunter

Staff Pick

Rarely does a professional recording studio earn a side rep as a premier comfort food destination. Thanks to Malissa "Mali" Hunter, Tree Sound Studios is the exception. As the studio's general manager for the last seven years, she's helped the eco-friendly Tree Sound — along with owners Paul and Sunshine Diaz, and producer James "Groove" Chambers — become the metro Atlanta studio where celebrities are embraced like family. Known for being the preferred digs for artists ranging from Elton John to Andre 3000, Tree Sound is more than a recording studio. And with a down-to-earth vibe as big as her natural curly fro, the native Chicagoan has created a nurturing culture in a city full of industry vultures. So when acts such as B.o.B, Killer Mike, 2 Chainz, and Big K.R.I.T. are ready to throw a proper listening event, she willingly supplements their label budgets by opening up the studio to the press, donning her chef's hat, and preparing organic feasts (mac-n-cheese, London broil, turkey meatballs) that garner as much buzz as the record releases Tree Sound helps promote. Her experience with getting corporate sponsors to break bread, via her advertising agency, Retnuh Productions, doesn't hurt, either.

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