Left to Right: Nigel Mack (Universal), Chris Classic (Dee Town), Jessica Styles (Center- The Fab Network), Amoi Alawoy (Badboy), Autumn Robinson (Univeral Republic), Kiarra Smothers (Viacom)
Representatives from the music industry’s top labels (Badboy, Def Jam, Universal, Viacom & Dee Town )were present for an intimate panel at MTV’s offices, hosted by South Carolina Native Jessica Styles, 28, founder of consulting & networking platform The FAB Network. Dozens of eager onlookers gathered in an intimate session for an exclusive look behind the scenes.
Styles, who coordinated the evening festivities through her organization The FAB Network, came a far cry from where she started in 2009. “I was always interested in a lot of different things. I started working at MTV, but it was a great experience, but there was something missing. So, I started thinking about what I am naturally good at. It was yes I am good at this industry and fashion stuff, but I liked giving people advice and putting things together.” She went on to say “I started asking ‘where am I going?’ What do I want to do with my life? I was always motivating and encouraging people to do things that they want to do.”
After much retrospection, Styles started out blogging for 7 months and went on to host her first event. I switched gears from entertainment to a consulting company. Her work helped her reach her current state to work with Music Industry executives present at The Fab Network event with Badboy, Def Jam, Universal, Viacom.
Participants at the panel had ample encouragement whilst divulging stories of starting out. Nigel Mack, Director of A&R at Universal, who brought on Kid Cudi, started out doing street promotions. From there he went to artist management and started an independent label stating that, he then “got the attention of Universal. They interviewed me. The interview process was over a year.“ For Badboy’s Human Resource Manager Amoi Alawoya her path to the entertainment realm was a bit different. “I was interning at police department. I did not stop bothering people. I got an internship with a police department by asking in the street. I fell into HR because I was poor and I needed work. [But,] I think the fundamental route is hard work.”
According to Kiarra Smothers, Coordinator of Content Distribution and Marketing of VIACOM Media Networks/ BET those trying to make their way in the industry need not fear, because there are many organizations that are happy to see people come. But Smothers believes that one great way to break in the music industry Is to become a college representative.
Chris Classic, Film & Executive Producer of DeeTown, left many with a strong piece of advice stating, “There are risks you have to take. Unlike many panelists I left school early. Create your network. Be careful about how you treat people. You can’t judge someone by their position today. It is about knowing people.”
But, at the end of the day “You don’t have to have it all figured out at one time,” said Associate Manager of A& R Administration, Island of Def Jam Universal Republic Autumn Robinson.