Ray Charles RPM Studio in the West Adams district will become a museum honoring the late singer with an education center built next door for inner-city children.
Architects are being consulted in the next several months regarding the design of the center, and the late singer’s former associates expect a groundbreaking to take place next year about this time.
Charles opened RPM Studios in 1961 and did most of his recording there, including sessions for “Genius Loves Company,” which is up for seven Grammys on Sunday.
Charles’ manager, Joe Adams, and a full staff continue to work out of the Washington Boulevard complex. The studio has been open to the public only once — on Aug. 31 to celebrate the release of “Genius Loves Company.”
Staff has begun to collect items for the planned museum, and one room holds four of Charles’ electric keyboards and microphones from the 1960s plus an organ and costumes from the film “Ray.” On Thursday, Adams oversaw the unveiling of Charles’ 12 Grammy Awards, which have been restored.
“Ray’s kids used to play with those things like they were choo-choo trains, and they were all busted,” Adams said.
An exhibit is being developed to celebrate Charles’ country music contributions for the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Attending the ceremony were former Charles associates Billy Preston and singer Mabel John; Charles’ biographer David Ritz; John Burk, president of Concord Records, which released “Genius Loves Company”; and Warner Strategic Marketing prexy Scott Pascucci, whose label has handled Charles’ catalog and released two soundtracks from the film “Ray.”