Way before ListenUp was even a thought, its creators had been highly anticipating a chance to check out the area's premier hip-hop and RB music event, the Southeast Music & Entertainment Summit.
Now the 2010 summit is finally here and ListenUp will be in attendance to give you inside access to all the happenings of the weekend with updates from the panels and discussions, interviews with some of the artist and professionals involved, an inside look at some of the artist showcases and battles and much more. Stay tuned to this page throughout the weekend for a summary of all the SMES coverage we've got going on and be sure to check back when you get home for recaps and other SMES-related content flowing in throughout the coming week.
11:45 a.m. - Arrived at holiday inn Surfside and checked into conference. Not much of a crowd at this point. Assuming plenty more will roll in once work lets out for the weekend.
12:02 p.m. - milling about, folks still getting the area set up for artist showcase and doing soundcheck. Run into a couple regional media/bloggers and check out the media room. Small but a nice little setup for interviews, etc.
12:10 p.m. - set up in media room for introductions with smes co-founder James heyward. Introductions from a couple local artists, folks from Carolina Hustle magazine, etc. Heyward gets into his session on setting up a business with some talk about getting your paperwork in order and getting a business plan. He asks if anyone has a written business plan...silence.
12:20 p.m. - Question: at what point should we look to have a more structured business plan. What diference between a sole propreitor vs. an LLC? Legally LLC protects your personal assets whereas sole propreitor means you are the business and if you were to get sued, lose it all, etc. That's all you.
12:25 p.m. - Carolina based company talking about how he's created an online marketplace for artists, producers, designers etc. To exchange services online.
12:30 p.m. - Carolinahustle.com ladies taking about marketing and social media and what they are doing there. Featuring Carolina artists online.
12:35 p.m. - question: how important is your networking and who you know vs. The content of your site/business? Can you have a successful business based on a great idea alone? Answer: it's alot harder to do it without the support. The fact is you are always selling and always building your network. You could have greatest idea in the world and if nobody knows about it, it don't matter. Bottom line is it's a give and take on both sides of knowing what your audience wants and delivering it to them.
12:50 a.m. - 10 minutes worth of back and forth about setting up your business and how to get investors. One man telling his story about setting up and getting investors for his label to pump up his artist/son called flawless Aka real talk. Made a business plan and shot for a million in investments to make it happen.
1-1:30 - lunch time. Artist showcase happening in the main hall. Drop in for a couple of so-so tracks from random artists. Stuck around to watch Young PO$ a guy that was in the morning session. Came back to the end of what a appeared to be hot song (judging from the panelist response it was "best so far" but didn't catch the artists names.
1:35 pm - pretty boy fresh showcasing, doing a track with a pretty doope sample from the old toys r us commericals. I'm a big kid now! Mixed reaction from the judges, but sorta entratining when John "j-dogg" shaw gets on the artist for his lack of originality in his stage name and the fact he'll never clear that sample.
1:45pm - careers in music industry panel starts with introductions, panel includes shaw, serge Durand ( Atlantic records), tiquish tobin (lawyer), delante Murphy (artist manager, Trey songz, k. Michelle), leota blacknor (Capitol records), sha'linda Jeanine (hip-hop journalist). Moderated by "tricky" Montgomery.
1:55pm - An important thing for alot of these folks was admitting that they didn't fit into a certain aspect of the business and finding where they did fit in whether it be artist management, personal assistant, executive assistant, etc. The point in which you realize you want to break out and make it on your own is important as well.
2:15 pm - question and answer session includes an insight from tiquisha tobin that she suggests the first thing any artist/producer that comes to her start their own production company or their own publishing company. ListenUp question about how to be one established as a blog and how to get invovled in journalism in the music industry. Tips include getting out an trying to tour with an artist and blog about it and to cover up and coming artists from all over and trying to build things from ground up instead of giving more commentary on national artists people have already covered extensively.
2:25 pm - Favorite quote of the day so far "jay-z needs 80 pair of air force ones! So I became the air force ones guy." Also an unexpected quote from Keanu reeves form the day the earth stood still. "Only at the precipice can we evolve." Deep...
2:35 pm - Panelists talking about believing in yourself and finding people around you that believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. Talking about artist managers and finding the right one. Leota blacknor talks record company 101 with audience about having a manager that really knows the business and because they are your rep to the label and that they aren't just trying to strongarm folks or having a conflict of interest toward a certain label or business and doing what's best for themselves.
2:40 pm - Delante Murphy: artists and producers are fickle. You can't trust that if someone come along with a better deal that they aren't going to bounce. Artist from audience speaks up and starts busting into execs a little about the give and take and that the managers aren't always having the artists best interests at heart too. Good dialogue which pretty much sums up to: some folks work well together and some don't. As long as there's no egos then the team can work together.
2:45 pm - end of panel. Milling about in lobby and met up with Columbia artist ge-oz and with hip hop journalist sha'linda Jeanine.
3:30 pm - got a chance to sit down for an interview with smes music group artist bobby baggumz who is releasing his first single "hip hop" at smes. This cat is from cheraw and was really impressive as far as his views on what hes trying to consign his music and how he plans to make something different to help change the perception that SC artists "can't read".
3:40 pm - finally settled into panel on the art of songwriting and producing songs. Panelists include Chris Henderson (Grammy-award winning songwriter for Jamie foxx and others), DJ Speedy (producer), David D. Brown (songwriter) and K. Michelle (up-and-coming r&b singer).
3:45 pm - Discussion about split sheets and how cuts get doled out on each track. DJ speedy shares a funny story about how cee-lo happened to steal 80% of the cut on a track he worked on by coming in and singing a hook he had sampled himself. K. Michelle joins the panel and talks a little about how she came up with r. Kelly and then got on to bet tour with j. Cole and just had her first appearance on 106 & park. Even in sweats and a ballcap, she's still looking REAL good.
4 p.m. - Skipped out the end of a session to talk with some folks outside, getting set up for interviews with panelists after the songwirting panel.
4:30 pm - Chance to sit down out back for a quick interview with K. Michelle. Seems like a very nice, down to earth lady that has a good shot at being the next big thing in R&B. A little bit of insight about what R. Kelly's really like and what it was like to appear on national tv -- on 106 & Park -- for the first time.
4:45 pm - Hanging out in media room with half a dozen or more panelists. Kinda odd to think about how much money/talent is sitting in this room. Folks include Serge Durand, Tircky Montgomery, DJ Speedy and others. Lots of joking around and talking over each other about what they think about SMES, but in the end got some really good insight about a few great topics.
5 p.m. - Caught first few minutes of Kenny Burns' "B.U.R.N.S." documentary before heading out to dinner.
7:15 p.m. - Back in the house for "King of the Ring" MC battle. First Round pits a guy from CCU vs. a cat from Orangeburg named flames. Poor kid gets schooled and looks disappointed, but I'd imagine it's tough to get up there and spit at someone in his position. Practice, Practice, Practice.
7:30 p.m. - Bobby Baggumz takes round 2 easily schooling last-minute entry guy. Final round proves much tougher to decide as both Baggumz and Flames have good rounds and both judges and crowd cheering proves indecisive.
7:45 pm - In the end Bobby Baggumz wins his third-straight title at SMES although a good portion of the corwd seems unsatisfied. So much so that there's quite a bit of protest from a rather large gentleman, who ends up battling Baggumz himself in a rematch of the 2008 King of the Ring final. Overall, a very enteraining display of lyricism if not a hotly contested one.
8 pm - Producers get their battle under way, ListenUp heads out for an early evening to compile all the great content we got from day 1 of SMES. Ready to hit it up again early tommorow for digital music panel and will be going live all day and into the wee hours tommorow as we hit up the SMES Awards Show and After Party.