Hey ya'll. Here is another one of my homies that is near & dear to me (My CREOLE brotha) and making his mark in the entertainment business!
Jamal "Reality" Meeks, A&R at SRC, is one of the coolest cats that I know. Although I consider him a friend, I still appreciate him taking the time to do a Q&A with me.
And for all of you indies...it is a MUST that you see him regarding the Faces In The Crowd Showcase. He really does deliver the industry professionals and the possibilities are endless. See info at the end of the Q&A.
SN: On the SRC side, who are you currently working with?
Reality: I am currently working on Shire' (pronounced Sha-Ray) she is from Baltimore and she has a real soulful voice and a distinctive sound. She is definitely a name to look out for. Her album is coming out in 1st Quarter 2009.
SN: Where do you feel that you have made the biggest impact in the entertainment business?
Reality: I feel like I make the biggest impact when helping artist get to the next level in their careers. That goes for helping a new signed artist put together a great album and set up that artist to become a huge success as well as unsigned artist who want to develop their music so that they will be able to get to a deal with a major label.
SN: How did you get started?
Reality: I got my start in the music business from an initial internship with Universal Records working with Katina Bynum and Ayanna Williams in the Marketing Department. That was in 2001 and I was in my Junior year of college at Hampton University. Once I finished that internship and gained a lot of knowledge, I came back to school to finish up my Senior year. During my Senior year I was a college rep for Universal Records and helped promote their artist on my campus. Upon finishing my college career I moved up to New York and ended up landing a position with Steve Rifkind and SRC Records.
SN: Do you believe it is WHO you know or WHAT you know that will get you in the door as an artist? And why?
Reality: I do believe that it is partially WHO you know, because relationships count in this business. You have to have people open doors for you and vice versa. Nevertheless, a lot of it is WHAT you know as well. You can have the best connects in the world, but if you don't know a lot of about the business and your job requirements, you will soon be without a job. So make sure you have great relationships and strive to know more than the next man once you get a position in the business.
SN: What is your take on artist development? Does it still exist?
Reality: Artist Development exist to a certain extent. It is not really done by major labels these days. I believe the reason is because labels don't have the time and money that they used to have to have a artist development system. However, a lot of labels do production deals with artist and producers because they know that the artist can be developed to a certain extent with a great production team around them. This is a less costly way to have an artist develop a unique sound that could end up leading to revenue for the company.
SN: What is your favorite type of artist to work with?
Reality: My favorite type of artist to work with doesn't really necessarily have a particular genre. I just like to work with artist who are highly talented and most importantly highly motivated. They have to be open to criticism and have thick skin. If they are a hip hop artist they really have to be original and charismatic. If it is a R&B artist they have to be able to be a great performer in the studio and on stage.
SN: Is there is a formula for discovering talent?
Reality: I think the best formula for discovering talent is being able to see artist perform live. This to me is where you truly see an artist at his/her best. The definition of a star is someone who can get on the stage and do something that the people in the audience can't do. If an artist is a great performer on stage more than likely he/she will be great at recording in the studio. However, sometimes it doesn't work the other way around.
SN: What was your objective when you first came into the business?
Reality: My objective when I first came in the business was to find unique and talented artists who could bring quality music to the main stream. I was on the outside looking in for years and I felt like a lot of the music that I grew up on was not really what labels were looking for these days. I really wanted to find out the reason why that was happening. I wanted to know if that was based off what the labels wanted, or what the consumers wanted, or what the actual artist wanted to put out.
SN: Tell us about Faces In The Crowd?
Reality: Faces In The Crowd Showcase is an event that me and my partner Chalant produce once a month in NYC. It is for signed artist as well as unsigned artist. We have a competition with unsigned artist where they get a chance to win a prize package that will enhance their presence in the music industry. We have signed and unsigned artist perform on the same stage in front of a large crowd (400-500 people) of music executives, A&R's, producers, publishing companies, taste makers, and consumers. We have been the catalyst for 4 artist getting major record label deals. The most notable of those artist was Chrisette Michelle (Island/ Def Jam) who was scouted out at our showcase by Shalik Berry (A&R for Def Jam).
Faces In the Crowd is the premiere showcase to get your artist seen and heard by the right people.
** You can check them out at http://www.faceshowcase.com/ and the You Tube channel (www.youtube.com/facesinthecrowdtv
SN: What's next?
Reality: I am currently working on Shire' pronounced Sha-Ray debut album called Picking Up The Pieces. I am also working towards making Faces In The Crowd Showcase bigger to help more artist get record deals. I am also part of Rock NYC with my partner Matt Maroone. Rock NYC is a company that puts together Premiere Rock Showcases in NYC. We currently have a exclusive deal for our showcase with Universal Motown. I launched my company, Future History LLC, which is an umbrella company for a production company, clothing company, and management company. My goal is to bring quality music to the masses and leave a positive legacy in the entertainment business.