Icon Studios is one of Atlanta’s hidden gems. Located in the city’s Berkeley Park neighborhood, the studio has been the launching pad for the careers of Canadian recording artist Justin Bieber and producer Drumma Boy.

One of its many secrets, however, is its night manager, Ian Burke.

On first glance, Burke can be easily mistaken as the guy who just locks the studio up at night.

However, as he guided us through a tour of the studio, it became aware that his role was much more elaborate. A TLC poster hangs on the walls of one of the studio’s rooms. It’s signed by former member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who also wrote:

“Whaszop Ian! Without bein corny I can’t express 2 u enough how much I appreciate and thank u 4 bein there from the very beginning. I owe u a lot and will never forget where I came from.”

Burke is credited for creating the group out of his and Crystal Jones’ (the original C in TLC) idea for a tomboyish hip-hop/R&B girl group.

Before TLC, Burke started his career managing hip-hop group Arrested Development. He then went on to manage hip-hop duo Outkast and R&B group Xscape at the same time.

Later, while working with Elektra records, he signed Senegalese artist Akon. Burke also signed R&B group Mista, which included eventual R&B star Bobby V.

Burke was also responsible for signing 15-year-old D-Roc of the Ying Yang Twins. He went on to head the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in the Southeast.

Now, as night manager at Icon, the man who has been the start of so many careers maintains a very low profile. His work speaks for him.

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