Magazine article Black Enterprise

Hitting the High Notes: Renowned Music Director Shares What It Takes to Succeed in the Creative Arts

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Hitting the High Notes: Renowned Music Director Shares What It Takes to Succeed in the Creative Arts

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Typically it's a struggle for creative professionals to manage both their craft and the business aspect of their career. Has that been your experience?

We've learned from the mistakes of our jazz ancestors; people who were told that they should do the music and leave the business to others. That was a mistake. A lot of our jazz greats wound up dying penniless. I've focused on having a good grasp on my business, learning how to navigate and manage my time, and also trying to be aware of where the business itself is going and how to put myself in a position to succeed.

What have been some strategic moves that have enabled you to get where you are now?

There's a lot of planning and focusing. I remember touring at a very young age. While a lot of my friends were hanging out and partying I was inside learning about production. I toured with the Commodores and they had these huge arena shows. I learned a lot about lighting and every job out there. When it came time for me to get involved in television production, I knew a lot and was able to put that into effect. I was the artistic production director on Alicia Keys' first big tour because I was knowledgeable about every job out there. Research and commitment enabled me to do a job that wasn't specifically designed for someone who just plays the piano.

What have you learned from other creative professionals that has furthered your own career?

Quincy Jones told me on numerous occasions about commitment not only to your craft but also taking chances. …

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