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Meet Maggie McDonald of Pure Life Studios in LaGrange

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maggie McDonald.

Maggie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Pure Life Studios started as Pure Life Fitness, It was a holistic fitness and nutrition studio. A servant scholar student at LaGrange College, Angela Hutchins, wanted to bring the schools Acoustic Cafe back to life and I would alternate Friday evening with Angela. We would find local musicians and we would just hang out for a couple hours and play music. She was a senior and had a lot on her plate at the time; she would call and ask me for help finding folks to play or to cover her Friday. The building we were using wanted to start charging us and I offered to use Pure Life Fitness instead. Angela graduated before we really got going and I continued. I would hide all the workout equipment under drop clothes and it would look like an old house under construction. I would rent tables, table clothes, and chairs have guests in then after the evening was over I would tear it all down and do it all again the following Friday. Fortunately, I had my three sons, Samuel, Liam, and John McDonald help me and my husband, Charlie would help when he was in town. The family just embraced it. Shortly after starting, I invited my friend Barry Waldrep, who is a musician, to come by and tell me what he thought. He loved the place and said I can get you your first five singer/songwriters if you really want to do this listening room thing. I said yes and that was January of 2015. Since that time, we have had artists such as Barry Waldrep (Played with Zac Brown on Breaking Southern Ground tour and Pass the Jar CD/DVD.) Randall Brambeltt, Jennifer Knapp, John Berry, Travis Meadows, Malcolm Holcombe, Harpeth Rising, Jontavious Willis, and so many more from the singer/songwriter world, it has been amazing.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has definitely been a learning process. I do all the advertising, marketing, booking, and negotiating as well as work sound and all the behind the curtains stuff that require time. If I am focusing on one aspect too much the others suffer, so learning how often to book, learning when to book locals over touring artists and when to plug in teens has been like juggling a feather, a chainsaw, and a porcupine – sometimes something is missed. So . . . smooth road is in the five-year plan.

Please tell us about Pure Life Studios.
Pure Life Studios is a true listening room for singer/songwriters, composers, and as of recently a little comedy, spoken word, and short films. We focus on original works and highlight the creative process of the artist. We are known for being small, intimate, warm, and friendly. The evenings may or may not consist of a guest chef from Guatemala, or Korea, or a local caterer from a downtown restaurant or lighting the grill in the back yard (boneyard) and having potlucks with local entertainment an hour before the main show starts. It is all very social and never gets too big so everyone is connected and gets to know each other. We are brown bag approved so always BYOB.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I would have planned it out, I would have never started. At this point, we are enjoying bringing such a unique space to a small town and just appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the town.


  • Teen writers Round, Teen Nights, Open Mic, Open Jam, and Raise a Ruckus $5.00
  • Writers Round and new artists $10.00
  • Out of town artists $10-$15
  • Touring artists $20-$40

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Whit Perry
Louraimondi Photography
Ray Sullivan
Amy McDow

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