From Tennessee to home: the rise and fall of Arrested Development

Grammy-winning Atlanta musician takes a detour from pop stardom to find his calling.

Credit: Tyson Horne

Credit: Tyson Horne

Speech was a 21-year-old college student at The Art Institute of Atlanta when he penned the 1992 hip-hop gem “Tennessee.”

It’s a song that wasn’t supposed to be on Arrested Development’s first album. It came at the emotional expense of the grieving band leader.

Speech had just made a trip to Henning, Tenn., to bury his grandmother, Ardenia Churn, who had died of a heart attack. Her unexpected death shook the family to the core. Barely a week later, Speech’s older brother Terry Thomas, an obstetrician, died of an asthma attack. He was 29.

Speech was about to embark on the road to success, but it would be a rocky road that would lead to some unexpected destinations. Friendships, partnerships and illusions would be lost along the way, and he had to find his own way to fulfillment.

» Read the rest of the story of rise and fall of Arrested Development and Speech's winding path to a place of joy called Victory Spot.