Saturday, August 13, 2011

Capital Hip Hop Soul: Arts-Go-To-Guy Delonte Briggs (@MrBriggsManager)

When it comes to the modern-day Renaissance man of independent artistry, Washington DC-based Delonte Briggs holds this title. His myriad occupations include Founder/CEO of Mr. Briggs Management, Co-Partner of Divine Soul Connections, Booking Agent, Tour Manager, Stage Manager, Step Afrika! dancer, Radio owner/host of Jota FM and the list goes on.  His passion for the arts led to creating Mr. Briggs Management Company in 2008. This company grants a plethora of "conglomerate" services for artist support, promotions, and featured independent artists in Music, Fashion, Dance, Visual Art, Spoken Word, and Theater/Film in DC.

Currently, Mr. Briggs manages six artists: Tamika "Love" Jones, Rayshun Lamarr, Fatso, Tony MoonLB Muzac and Konshens & His State of Mind.  His diverse business mindset and ultimate mission of exposing the world to independent music, aiding independent artists and participating in communal projects exemplifies, according to him, to pursue this career path for the next 10 years. We got a chance to fasten him down to a quick Q & A recently to get a heads-up on what he has going on currently and what we can look forward to in the near future.

Liberated Muse What motivated you to create your own management company?

Delonte Briggs:  [StepAfrika!] started to expand and grow and do some other things and while [I was there] I became tour manager and stage manager.  So by that time I had production under my belt,  I knew what to do on stage. I knew what I wanted to see and what was good. So after doing three years of them, I just sat down and thought to myself…I was like wow I can really do this myself (laughs). The luck of the draw that happened is the company was expanding...then Tamika was also back at home doing a marketing job and she called saying I can’t do this anymore, like I really need to sing, I really wanna finish my project. I said 'Well, I really don’t want to do this either, so let's work.'

So from that Nov 2008, we talked that whole summer about it, listened to music and I went down to-- I think its tax or revenue or wherever you go to get your license stuff-- formed our LLC and I did it. I opened it up and Tamika was my first artist, a couple of other artists followed after that and it just grew from there.  So that’s what happened.

 Liberated Muse How is your management company different from other companies?

Delonte Briggs:  I pride myself on quality not quantity.  A lot of different management teams invest in a whole bunch of mediocre talent or they saturate the market with different things that they are doing. I don’t jump on every project. I believe that there’s power and choice and you have to sit down and research and look at all of the different things that make people artists. Not just the music, but the demographics, how much people they have ah that follow them. It’s a couple different things that go into it. So I think what makes me different is I like quality and I also have various talents myself.

I’m not only a manager but I also do events so people under my management can very easily have a show, [I] can very easily do their CD covers, I can very easily put them in the studio with a producer. I think my management company is much more [cultured] then most other management companies.  I keep it that way by nurturing a lot of relationships and just keeping them together. I definitely believe in teamwork, I use various teams for different things. So that will probably be the major difference.  Also, another difference in my company is that I use all various outlets to get my artists and my music out there. I have YouTube channels, I have a radio show, I have websites, I have a blog, like I do everything that I can to get them out there and it’s turned out to be quite positive.

Liberated Muse:  Due to your statistics, what is your success rate for all of your artists currently under your management company?

Delonte Briggs: The last time I checked [our site was visited by] 68 U.S. cities and 75 countries meaning that at least 20 to 50 people in each market that I counted had access continuously to either my radio show, my website or my blog.  I think that is a definite great determination of the success. Another determination of success is the amount of  YouTube plays and things like that.  People have all at some point at least heard locally my artists and what they stand for. I think another determination of success will be the amount of money they bring in, they are all paid artists full time artists that do this as a living. So, that’s what I use, the actual expansion and coverage of my outlets.

Liberated Muse:  In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of having a management company?

Delonte Briggs:  Pros and cons of a management company… positives will be that  its mine (laughs) and I get to do, pick and choose what I want and when I want to do it. Another pro is that it gives the artist time to be an artist. They don’t have to worry about phone calls or booking and travel and all that other craziness. They're able to be the artist that they want to be-- they can go, wake up, go in the studio, check their e-mails and go about their day. So I think that’s definitely a positive of a management company. Negatives of a management company, I guess for me, is that I have to be the mouthpiece.  I don’t mind talking to people, I actually do like people but it just seems like I’m always talking to somebody about something. I don’t know if there are any cons of a management company. I do have to  take the backlash if everything or something goes wrong.  We have to cancel an event or traveling where something goes wrong,  it’s all my fault which is why I am such a thorough communicator and initiator of things.

Liberated Muse:  Where do you see your company going [at this standpoint from now] in the future, where [do] you think your company is going to go?

Delonte Briggs:  I believe my company is expanding towards this new music industry and I believe it will be a powerhouse in this new music industry as soon as it is solidified. We all know that  CD sales and videos are not where it’s at anymore, especially with national coverage.  Radio stations don’t support [independent music]. I give my company their own independence but I do promote national artists and national venues from time to time.  I’m doing a lot video production these days and I will say in the last three months I probably shot about four videos-- all coming out.

I have very great work.  The radio network that I’m on-- JOTA FM, its actually an International Arabian Hip Hop Station. It’s asking me to keep my eye on DC so it’s asking me not even to pay attention to the Arabic Hip Hop. So, this will be a platform for being the artist in independence on this side of the world, so I see that doing as well. We did a pilot for that in October of last year and in 30 days it got a 100,000 listeners across the globe, so I believe that’s gonna shoot through the roof.  I believe in 5 yrs [we] will be definitely own space  for either a restaurant or performance space or something-- that’s definitely my goal, to get that situated.

I’m working with a few investors to do some artist housing. I believe there needs to be a lot more resources for artists especially great artists that producing good music.  I just don’t believe that there’s a lot available so I’m working on that. I’m working on trying to make an independent artist [have] a sustainable the next 5 yrs I hope to do that. I really do.

Liberated Muse:  What different types of genres does your management company represent?

Delonte Briggs:  Mostly R & B, Soul and conscious Hip Hop.  I’m really not a fan of rap. I just really do not agree with the consistent over saturation of misogyny and money and cars. It's so many other things in life (laughs) than to be pushed for 16 bars and a hook in twelve songs a day on the radio, like its just ridiculous. There are so many things you could be committing your time into. So, I tend to turn down a lot of rappers and a lot [of] hip hop artists that don’t have substance. I do love hip hop. Hip hop is an artform that can change the world if we let it, and I’m also looking into a little more pop and rock.

[There’s] an outstanding band here in DC called The CooLots  that I really like. They have this funk garage rock sound, all ladies, and they're really crowd movers and they bring out a nice audience. I will be working on their album now.  I’m expanding.

Liberated Muse:  Does your company give back to the community or have any volunteer opportunities that the public can do?

Delonte Briggs:  Oh yes, I’m presently looking for an intern (laughs) first of all. Second of all, yes we do work with a lot of community service organizations, every year we support Al Sura which [is a] non-profit here in D.C. that promotes HIV awareness and ah safe sex and all that great stuff. But, it’s basically a men’s organization for that. I also work for Metro TeenAIDS  with a friend of mine [who is also] a social media director  so they have a couple of events coming up and Tamika “Love” Jones is a part and founding board member of Roots To Freedom which is another non-profit that aims to keep African-Americans connected to their roots. So we definitely believe in non-profits and [helping the] community.

Liberated Muse:  What other final thoughts that you want to share with us about your company or just anything that I might have missed?

Delonte Briggs:  I would just encourage people to continue to support independent artists, buy their music, support their shows,  always stay up to date on what's going on with our government and things that are going on.  Also I would encourage people to support the videos and work of independent artists and when they come to a city near you definitely support them. These [independent artists] love what they do and only do it because people support them. Also, I'm just grateful that Khadijah  [Ali-Coleman]  always found it feasible to  support me.  So I thank you and her for this opportunity and the continued opportunities she presents.

-Candace "Ama" Boahene

 Candace "Ama" Boahene is an up and coming peformer and online writer with a promising future in Entertainment by God's grace.  She is an MSU Alumnae and strives for educating individuals about the importance of the arts. Visit her profile on Liberated Muse HERE.

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