RESPECT.: When you signed your first contract with Sony to background sing for Mariah Carey, tell us how that was? Please give us the experience back then.
Signing the first Sony contract to perform on the ‘DayDream Tour’ with Mariah Carey was the moment when I realized the door to the music industry had been open for me to walk through. I was familiar with the makeup and structure of live shows, due to consistently touring and attending performances, with my mother since I was a toddler. However, this was the Super Bowl of concerts. Mariah set records when 150,000 tickets were sold out in under three hours at Japan’s largest stadium Tokyo Dome. She broke the previous record held by The Rolling Stones. Being apart of an event, as a freshman in high school, was life-changing. This tour gave validation that my life was moving in the right direction. I was sharing the stage with musicians like Randy Jackson, who would later become an American Idol judge, meeting phenomenal artists like Diana King and, the Fabulous Four as Mariah called them. With being assigned with one of Mariah Carey’s Fabulous Four, Melonie, as our choir coordinator, was ultra amazing.
RESPECT.: Working with some of the heavyweights in the industry, what was your most elite experience while you were backstage and learning first hand?
Having that moment with Tommy Mottola, the Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, dropped a pearl of wisdom to me personally, which sparked my desire to focus on the business of music and not just being an entertainer. One night while I was backstage, Tommy Mottola saw me wandering around looking at the whole operation from the stagehands, dancers, band, sound and light crew. He said, “It is pretty amazing right?” In awe, I responded “Yeah, this is magic!” Then he proceeded to give me the pearl which was, “If this is what you want to do, focus on the business.”
RESPECT.: When doing campaigns with big brand companies, such as Microsoft, Activision, and more, what were some of the experiences you have learned that you transferred to the music business?
I have a background in campaigning for event sponsorships, whether it is pitch meetings or deck creations. Working with corporations, I validated my methodology from how to manage an artist brand to forecasting future trends within multiple genres in the music business market place. I would have to say that working with the software and gaming companies helped me perfect my three-dimensional branding algorithm.
RESPECT.: When you came across Dj Luke Nasty and how talented he was, did you know your career will jump off?
As an established record executive, I was introduced to a very talented group of kids called the 336 Boyz whom Luke was a member at 15 years old. Under my management, I gave the group a solid foundation by creating the brand structure, developing the group’s stage presence, and providing industry education. As opening acts for artists such as Young Dro and Soulja Boy, the group showed promise. To upstream the group to the radio, I brought in my business partner Waleed Coyote founder of Othaz Records. By receiving a job offer, to be the President of Able Ten Inc. Central in Killeen, Texas working for Lil’ Flip, I left management in the hands of Waleed Coyote. In 2010, I took the position as an Urban Director for Executive Music Group/Universal Music Group. That same year, we broke a Billboard record for “Lay Me Down” by The Dirty Heads. A reggae rock song that had been number one on the Billboard charts for 18 weeks. This was the first time a indie major label had ever achieved this. It received an RIAA certification in that genre of music started to broaden my perspectives while researching other niche markets.
The 336 boys later disbanded, and Luke continued to write music and Dj. When Lukes song “Might Be” was starting to grow legs. Waleed called me and told me that Luke wanted me involved in the campaign and with the team to move forward with his career as a solo artist. From that moment forward, “Might Be” received Gold sales status, as well as, the second single “OTW.” To date, we at Othaz records/Highway music/Empire have currently released Luke Nastys’ ‘Highway Music 2,’ which features singles such as “Baby” and “I Like It.”
RESPECT.: I know you remember the So So Def wave, in where, Bow Wow, Da Brat, and other artists, can you tell us how it was like in the room while making music that was so big now?
Well, unfortunately, I was not present at that time. Working alongside with Andy Tadic, founder of The Trinity Factory, have been able to bring some very talented entertainers on board as clients for the last seven years. On that exclusive list, we have the pleasure of working with Bow Wow, 99 percent, Itsamovie, Yvung Swag, So So Def and Ncredible.
RESPECT.: When you moved to Japan, was that a culture shock to you?
I was so young that moving did not affect me in any way, outside of having to understand a new language. Yokosuka, Japan, is genuinely where I call home. I was blessed to grow up in a vibrant culture that practiced the same principles that my family had instilled in me. The moral code of loyalty and respect helped mold me into who I am today.
RESPECT.: With you now living in Colombia, how is the culture there? Have you gotten used to the country?
In my opinion, Colombia is like a mix between Japan, Bahrain, Atlanta, and Uzbekistan. I base that mix on the lay of the land, the people’s energy, and the future developments that are currently in place. Most Colombians I have encountered are hard-working entrepreneurs. Everybody has a hustle. You don’t find too many people solely relying on the government for support. Being a world citizen of my hue, I feel free in Medellin. In my opinion, this is the real land of opportunity based on what you want out of this life experience. I don’t believe in residing anywhere that puts a ceiling on my vision. I believe that the universe provides the vision, and when your third eye is open, you can choose to walk in the path with no excuses. I have been working on www.vibezmde.com and @musicexecpenthousmde, so much that, I have not had time to travel the land extensively. I am used to the city of Medellin, but Colombia has so many beautiful places to experience that I have yet to explore.
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