So first tell me more about what you are doing currently and what inspired you to do music?
Well this summer I started my own record label called VLLN Records, and right now we’re currently setting up our main studio and preparing our website to be out in December. So between that, working on my first album, and executive producing other projects as well. I’ve been rather busy.
What inspired me to get into music was when I realized that it could be used as a powerful medium to heal people and inspire them to do great things. My first concert ever was a Kanye West concert, and what got my attention the most wasn’t so much I’m watching Kanye rap on stage, it was the fact that what he was saying was really speaking to the people. They really did FEEL him, because in some form or fashion it was the reflection of how they felt.
And that’s when I was like, “I want to move and inspire people like that.”
Wow, starting a label must take a lot of commitment, planning and organizing. Would you consider yourself to be a strong believer in having a business plan? Did you use one for your label?
Yes I do believe in having business plan. I didn’t have one when I started because I didn’t plan to start my own label until I was strongly established as an artist. But one day I realized I had all the resources to start it, so why not?
A business plan is very important, but what’s even more important is planning your brand and product identity. What is your business going to do, and will your product stand the test of time? If we do music, how do you make amazing records that people will WANT to buy. How do you cater to your artists like no other record label. How do we build something that’s for artists, by artists.
Once you have your business philosophy down, then focus on the financials.
As you and I both know it takes money to get things off the ground what are some of the ways you finance your record label? Have you sought out any potential investors?
Not for right now, We want to keep things as private as possible as far as investors go. Right now we’ve been charging local artists for things like studio time, music production, and selling singles, things of that manner but we’re more so focused on releasing multiple projects around this time next year.
Being that you are an artist and a young entrepreneur what words of advice would you give to people around our ages that want to pursue music or start a business?
Don’t stop! Don’t ever quit no matter what. There’s always a way to have or dream manifest. I recommend that you read book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.
Interview by Kymberly Johnson, student in Developing an Arts Venture Plan–Arts Entrepreneurship at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts.