So where did it all begin? I guess you could say it started with a simple love for music. There is power in good music, the power to change moods and unify people. Music can tell a story or capture a moment in your life where you could play a song over and relive that moment forever. I saw all this in music and when H.S. was over I had to make a decision as to what I wanted to do. Luckily NYC is a city of serendipity if you know where to look.
After H.S. I decided to take a semester off before college. Most of my people went away to school, but I decided to stay in the city. What did that semester off consist of?? Maxing out the credit card I got as a College age student on McDonalds, Sleepin till at least 12 noon everyday and doing pretty much NOTHING. Mind you this was before I had Broadband internet or a PS3. I was truly a pioneer in shiftlessness.
Eventually I started volunteering at a youth center in the city working with kids ages 6-17 and as I counseled these kids on what they should strive for… I wasn’t even sure myself. Then I got to thinking about music. Before the industry began its death throes and before the shiny suits and album sales eclipsed quality as a priority there was what I believed to be a time where the music mattered… young naivety. I mentioned that I’d either want to write or work in music to one of the older volunteers and he said he might know someone who could help. I said I need more time to think on it because I saw my time not going away to school as a time to really make an impact on my future, so if I was going to get on my grind I had to make sure it was the move to make.
Around that same time I was taking a lot of flights to visit family in Raleigh N.C. on now defunct Midway airlines. Raleigh was booming at that point in terms of growth and a lot of New Yorkers were relocating to get in on it. On a flight down I sat across from the guy that was behind the Whazuuupp budweiser commercial which was huge at the time and I thought to myself, ‘could that be a sign of something? underage drinking perhaps?’ and kept it moving. The flight back was a different story.
I had the window seat coming back, but trust me… there wasn’t much to see departing NC, so I was trying to figure out the person next to me. Rolex watch, which I discovered from Jay Z was kind of a big deal, neatly dressed and reading a booked called… the Hit Men. I thought mob?? But no… it was about the music industry, more specifically the era where music execs were over the top eccentric without forcing it but insightful enough to seek out and cultivated talent… more on the differences then and now in a later post.
So I finally decided to do something I never do on a flight, talk to the person next to me. Turns out he was head of legal at Tommy Boy records. I knew of Tommy Boy from 2 places. One was the GZA Liquid Swords album cut ‘Labels’ where he opens the song with the line “Tommy aint my muthafuckin Boy” and as the record company that put out the Freestyle Music, 80′s-90′s dance music, compilation volumes. Being that all that was played in my house from when I was young was 95% freestyle I saw this as a definite positive. Now this was a sign I could put some faith into. He was talking about what it might take to make it in the industry… and proceeded to break down a lot of shit I didn’t understand exactly at that time. He was rather chatty honestly.So later on that week I spoke to the older volunteer at my gig about his contact. He places a call and tomorrow I’m told to go to 902 Broadway the 13th floor. I head out the next day… the elevator opens up and it’s Tommy Boy records.
It wasn’t so much an interview as me basically getting my internship schedule. Before I left I sought out the dude I spoke to on the plane. He was shocked to see me… as that occurrence could come off a bit ‘Stalkerish’.
All I knew was… I was excited for the weeks and months to come.