Rolling Out

Arrested Development founder Speech and wife open dynamic workshop center

Photo source: Speech
Photo courtesy of Speech

Arrested Development was one of the hottest groups of the early ’90s. With hits like “Mr. Wendal” and “Tennessee” from their debut album, 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of …, the socially conscious lyrics of the alternative hip-hop group struck a cord with people around the world and continues to reach music lovers today. But these days, Speech, the co-founder and leader of Arrested Development, is now stepping from behind the mic to open an artist development center in Fayetteville, Georgia.

Together with his wife, Yolanda, Speech has opened Victory Spot, which will empower the next generation of budding artists to hone their craft. The couple, along with other teachers, will conduct classes and workshops focusing on artistic and lifestyle topics such as funk and rock guitar, cooking, business, beatboxing, and more.

Speech and Yolanda spoke with rolling out about what we can expect from Victory Spot, what’s next for Arrested Development, and who’s on their playlist.

Why did you and Yolanda want to open Victory Spot?

Speech: We’ve been talking about a win-win situation to empower students and touring artists for over 15 years, and this just happened to be the right season.

Yolanda: I wanted to be able to give opportunities for kids to work with professional artists. We’ve traveled all over the world and seen so much; I just wanted to bring a part of our industry experiences to Fayetteville.

What sets Victory Spot apart from other art workshop spaces?

Speech: First of all, we’re on the south side (most progressive stuff is up north). Secondly, I’m an artist myself, and I’ve had great successes from Grammys to headlining tours. What we share with the students, they can’t just get any ole place. In fact, we invite other full-time teachers to take classes with us, too, so even they can benefit from our experience.

Yolanda: We help with the students’ talent, but also to be victorious in their life as an entertainer! You come to grow in your character and skills. We also have an outdoor performance area — 1 acre — and a cute cafe!

Will you or Yolanda be teaching any of the classes?

Yolanda: I’ll be teaching side courses on health, juicing, homeschooling techniques and business guidance. But my top focus is making sure the relationship between parents, instructors and students are as helpful as possible.

Speech: Initially, I’ll be helping to guide the overall curriculum and getting involved with our students to ensure they grow.

What is the price range for the classes and workshops?

Speech: It’s very affordable for everything, and soon, we’ll even have scholarships for passionate students who can’t afford our rates.

Torrie Imzadi (artistic director for Victory Spot): Our classes are also wide-ranging, from $20 novice dance classes to $228 for 8 hours of intermediate to professional workshops. Speech’s vision being an artist was to assemble industry professionals at the top of their respective fields, pay them dignified wages, yet not a long-term commitment because of their already busy schedules. This makes our classes an even better deal!

When is the next time Arrested Development will perform in the metro Atlanta area?

Speech: We don’t do many shows in Atlanta. We tour Europe, Australia, Canada, Africa and Asia. Ironically, though, we recently did two shows here (one with the amazing 20-plus piece Atlanta Pops Orchestra, and one for PBS). We’ll definitely be doing a show at The Victory Spot within the year also.

Why do you think Arrested Development is so popular in Japan?

The Japanese are very loyal to the artists they enjoy, plus they’re big into melody, which we have a lot of in our songs.

Who are your top two favorite new artists and why?

Yolanda: Alessia Cara, because of her delivery — she flows and sings, [and] she feels authentically herself. Very fresh!

Speech: I’d say Drake, because of the diversity of his delivery, being a singer and rhymer. I also like vulnerability in rap, it’s rare.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Yolanda: Arrested Development’s Zingalamaduni, Gumbo’s Droppin’ Soulful H2O on the Fiber, Andy Mineo, Stevie Wonder and Alessia Cara.

Speech: Everything from Drake and older Jay Z to Benard Wright, Prince and Chicago.

To learn more about Victory Spot, visit Follow Speech on Facebook here.

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