Photo: Umeek Images
Panelist (L) Brittany Lenair, Scott Morris, DJ Jazzy T, Ty Sanders, Darius Bradley, Ten, and Joy Young
With the A3C taking over Atlanta the first week of October, music lovers and professionals were able to come together to network, learn, grow, and enjoy all that the entertainment industry and hip-hop have to offer.
From the outside, the entertainment industry seems glamorous with endless perks from being invited to exclusive events and being around some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Some people looking to make it big in the cutthroat industry seek the limelight and dream of being huge stars like Beyoncé or Drake.
However, huge acts don’t make it to the top by themselves. Behind every successful person in the entertainment industry is a team that helps them be the best they can be for the masses.
Darius Bradley, the former assistant to actor Rotimi and CEO/Founder of Gatekeepers Agency, created BACKSTAGE which is a multi-expert panel discussion for those aspiring to have a career in entertainment.
On Oct.3, Bradley created the panel for media professionals, musicians, and creatives to learn more about the entertainment industry from those who make magic happen behind the scenes with “not so glamorous” roles.
At Stankonia Studios, CEO/Founder of Mor.Bookings Agency Scott Morris, 96.7 FM Radio Host DJ Jazzy T, A&R Consultant Ty Sanders, Bradley, Musician Ten, Southeast Regional Promotions Director of Roc Nation Joy Young, and Publicist Brittany Lenair all gave their thoughts on the dos and don’ts of making it in the industry.
Everyone on the panel has had to make significant sacrifices to get to their junior or senior level positions.
DJ Jazzy T, who has been in the business for 11 years states that “there are roles that people take for granted, they don’t realize that to be a Drake, it takes a whole team, not just one individual can do this.”
For artists, the radio host says that it is vital that musicians be diverse.
“Don’t just limit yourself. Acting, singing, being a creative artist are so many different lanes that you can dive into that will help you,” DJ Jazzy T said.
The musicians also learned during the panel the difference between a booking agent and a manager.
“The booking agent is the person that is supposed to build the relationships with the promoters and be able to pitch and give different opportunities,” Morris said. “You’re supposed to be knowledgeable about everything that’s going on for opportunities for shows. The manager then has to play that role of negotiating prices.”
While having a booking agent and manager is significant to an artist’s career, the media professionals made it clear that musicians should utilize music outlets such as Spotify and social media to build a fan base.
Nowadays, artists can become big off of social media if they learn how to market themselves and network with promoters properly.
“To kinda eliminate the management part, if you can take that information and go to a venue, and get a 150 to 200 capacity, you can make moves,” Young said.
Being able to bring in numbers for a venue as an independent artist can make or break someone wanting to pursue music. No artist is going to get a deal if they can’t bring in a following. Record company executives or a&r’s could appear at a show and find the next big thing.
Using your resources as Young stated to build a name for yourself is significant for anyone wanting to work in the world of entertainment.
Some don’ts of those wanting to break into the industry whether you’re an artist, creative, or media professional is NEVER to buy followers.
According to the professionals, they can tell when someone buys followers on Twitter and Instagram. The person’s analytics, meaning likes on Instagram, comments, and retweets on Twitter don’t add up to the number of followers a person has.
Another set of don’ts include burning bridges, being overly aggressive to shove your content down the masses throats, and just posting content on social media.
To build a brand, it takes more than dropping music or content online. Aspiring entertainment professionals and artists need to network with people in all fields of media including DJ’s, writers, publicists, promoters, stylists, assistants, etc.
Those looking to work at a record label like Young, one must learn the importance of timing. While interning with notable producer and songwriter, Bryan-Michael Cox, Young waited until she was in the studio with Cox to present him a song she had written.
“He was like, you know what Joy, one reason why you’re going to be successful is that you understand timing. You’re not always thirsty, you’re not always anxious,” Young said.
Lenair reminded the audience that no matter what position you’re in, that you value your work.
“No matter how small your role is and how big the label or franchise is, never give your work away without knowing what is going to be done with it,” Lenair said.
The panelists wrapped up the panel to let everyone know more dos and don’ts of breaking into entertainment.
DJ Jazzy T has had to learn to keep her emotions in check. “Nobody gives a damn about your feelings, suck it up,” she said.
Bradley stated that people should always be mindful of who they’re in the room with.
“Someone’s always paying attention to you, so I’m always mindful of what I’m saying and who I’m around because people can use that against you one day,” Bradley said.
Lastly, and probably one of the biggest pieces of advice for the next generation of movers and shakers in the industry is to have a spiritual grounding because along with careers behind the scenes in the entertainment world, there is also a dark side to the industry that people don’t know about.
In the future, Bradley plans to expand BACKSTAGE to more festivals and conferences to help those learn more about the “not so glamorous” side to the entertainment industry. His ultimate goal is to collaborate with Revolt Music Conference.