[Photo Provided by 2Fik]

The 'Independent' Label Man, Mr. Walt

00:00 November 30, -0001
By: 2Fik

When you think of a record label and a fan of music, names like Columbia, Atlantic, Universal, or Epic, just to name a few. With the new innovative ways to get music out to the public and become your own artist without the big machine isn't always explored or talked about as much as it could.

What about the middle man that helps artists to achieve the desire to be signed to big label? What about the ins-and-outs of the music business that's not discussed in depth? There's a lot of questions that independent artists don't know when it comes to acquiring a ladder for some version of their "success."

…in walks Mr. Walt.

The 'Independent' Label Man, Mr. Walt
[Photo Provided by 2Fik]

The CEO of Extreme Entertainment, which is the home to artists like Tweeday and Tre Parker, sort of reminds you as the go-between for developing artists and then sending them off to the big wigs. His demeanor was completely humbling with a business tonality to match his work ethics. Mr. Walt was impressive in speech and pleased answers when asked out how his company works on behalf of others.

Check out what he had to say on the music industry below:

On the interest of creating Extreme Entertainment:

It kind of all happened by chance. I wasn't kid saying 'When I grow up and I want to be a music producer.' I was busy being into basketball, really. But, my dad had a job at the radio station. He used to work for Effort 98 and when I was out of college looking for a job, my dad suggested I go work in sales. So I'm meeting everybody and all of the celebrities coming through. People started sending me music and I ended up becoming the 'go-to-guy' which led to me managing artists.

On the goal for the label:

We want to be a multifaceted multimedia company. We didn't want to be pigeon holed for just music. We manage artists, we do advertising, we do event planning, and we produce records. We just scored a movie out of Atlanta so we do a bunch of things that people just don't know.

On how the capital is made to create a label:

Starting isn't hard! Donald Passman is the author of 'All You Need to Know About the Music Business.' I bought when I first wanted to get into this and it gave me the knowledge. You do your legal paper with the state but as far as raising the capital, most people get it illegally. I hate to say it, but it happens. We started our legit because we had day jobs that kept us financially stable. I started it the label and literally in about four or five months, we got a record deal so timing for us was everything. Anyone can start a label.

On the content of today's current music in Hip Hop:

Music moves really fast. You can ride a wave one minute then it changes to something else. Rap music these days sound more like R&B records. I don't want to judge these kids music off my taste; I'm not the consumer. I'm the producer who tries to guide them [artists] along because you need structure, but my job is to act as non-judging producer.

One of Walt's talents, rapper Baby Boy (Da Prince) whose hit record "The Way I Live," found his home at Universal Records thanks to Walt's connections he made over time.

So Universal is one of the big three major labels. Universal is the distributor and I'm the independent. Artists used to go straight to the label but these days with social media, it's so many artists that they can't find them all. We're like the D-league for the record label, so we get the artists; we develop them so that they can peak on a major label's radar. If they see where we're having success with a local artist on a local level, they'll try to multiply it on a national level.

We've seen success stories with artists who've been on independent labels like Chance the Rapper who did get the attention of major labels after being developed. The Chicago native even won a Grammy for his work with no big label behind him. As great as that accomplishment is, Walt says that type of success isn't always likely for each person on an independent label.

On the probability of the independent artist becoming signee for a major label:

Well, I think he'd have a better chance to become an independent to help them as opposed to them doing it on your own. If you're out here making music just to make it, you probably won't know all the things you need to get a major label's attention. My mind is on what I need to do to help you get that attention. The major labels takes chances on acts that they've seen developed through an independent label and it's their job to take a risk. It's a business expense. I may sign three artists, spend money on them and the end of the years' time, maybe one makes it, maybe none of them make it. You part ways when it's not working.

A question that remains in this risky business is, "What happens to the dreams of those who invested in a belief that didn't quite come into fruition?" Does it now become "a dream deffered?" Walt expressed that there are plenty of people with talent but don't have "it." He says, "You've got to a have a little 'it' in you."

Walt also shed light on the importance of being one with the craft versus imitation using Lil' Wayne as an example:

Wayne is probably the most influential rapper of our time. Wayne made a whole city get dreds in their hair. Wayne made a whole county wearing skinny pants [laughs]. They just wanted to imitate Wayne's lifestyle but not study the lyrics. When you want to be in this game, it's better for you to be whole heartedly into your talent because that can only go so far. You've got to love it in your soul to emanate that 'it' factor.

Walt's business skills and communication is not only informative but a substantial blueprint between the realities of one's dreams and component of ethics to compliment that success desired. Whatever that "success" may mean to you, an "A for Effort" needs to go far beyond a textbook.

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