Hard work and persistence pays off in the end, just ask music industry executive Kevin Black. Born in the Bronx NY he began his career in the music industry by working as a roadie for legendary rap group Run Dmc quickly moving on to become tour manager. His fierce passion and drive along with an ear for hit music led him to the west coast where he became one of the hottest Djs on fm radio. Moving on from that in 1987 he became the National Promotions Director for Death Row Records and has held high level positions at Virgin Records ,A&M/ Twism Records, Warner Bros., and Interscope. Mr. Black has been instrumental in conceiving successful marketing and promotional campaigns and branding solutions. His track record is nothing short of remarkable. While at A&M/Twism he created various campaigns the led to almost immediate visibility for the new label and help to move over 3.5 million units. While involved with Twism he also provided promotional assistance to a wide range of diverse individuals including Shaquille O’Neal and many others. The magic continued during his tenure at Interscope Records where over 150 songs were promoted both regionally and nationally resulting in over 120 million units sold and over 600 million in yearly generated revenue for his department. Working in these capacities he has been personally involved with the making and shaping of the careers of such notable artists as Mary J. Blige, 50 Cents, Black Eye Peas, Keisha Cole, Game, Gwen Stefani and many more. While a senior label executive at Warner Bros. he was responsible for a $20 million dollar budget and directed a staff of 50 achieving a 15% sales growth despite a slowing economy and music industry contraction developing strategies that increased visibility and sales.
Often we think that the wave of urban music executives that we have seen over the last 20 years; especially those that have had the most public visibility such as Sean Combs, Dame Dash, Suge Knight, etc were just street dudes with hustle that got lucky. Success at this level is always much more than that. Look behind the bright lights and expensive suits and you will find people with not only hustle and grind but the EDUCATION that truly prepared them for what they are currently doing. Even if they started in the streets you will find that many returned to the classroom in order to gain the formal knowledge and learn the principles in marketing and promotion. This is true for Mr. Black, he received a college education and graduated with a bachelors degrees in business marketing. In addition to his education , while in college he also involved himself in student activities that complimented his studies and his desire to move forward in the music industry. He has also served in the U.S. military which no doubt also prepared him for future leadership positions.
In addition to his incredible run as a music executive he has also given back to the community by being involved with various philanthropic endeavors such as promoting GEANCO which secures funding for schools and hospitals in Africa. Kevin has also been connected to the Urban Network Connection and Sundance Music and Billboard festivals as panelist, motivational speaker and host. He is currently busy running his own company, U Can Fly which is a full service promotion and marketing company that specializes in assisting independent artists and labels with all aspects of raising visibility and awareness of their brand.
Look forward to Drtybsmnt bringing you information on the industry insiders that you may not know who are behind the most well known artists and personalities in the world. Stay tuned.
written by DJ Sincere DJ Sincere is the founder of Drtybsmnt Multimedia, mobile/mixtape DJ, syndicated radio host and columnist