SouthernNewYorker.com was invited to Inspire The Fire Summer X-perience in partnership with BMI on July 31, 2015. After the panel spoke to 200 plus young professionals inspired by the arts, all media had the chance to interview 3 out of the 4 guests including Producer/DJ Mannie Fresh, BMI Vice President, Writer-Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton and Gospel Mogul Isaac Carree. If you would like more information on Inspire the Fire or how you can support their cause please visit HERE.
SouthernNewYorker.com: Can you give your opinion on the church placing judgement on people or artists who may want to go outside of gospel music and wanting to pursue R&B?
Isaac Carree: I think you have to follow the journey that is set before you. Music doesn’t create or disconnect you from having your relationship with God. Your relationship with God is what you do in your private time. What you do in your career – you know I support everybody. If my dad had to work at Budweiser to pay our bills and take care of our responsibilities – even though he was working for a company that sold alcohol that was his job. People are not going to judge him and say “Oh you’re not right for working at Budweiser when you say you’re a Christian.” Well I can’t say that Beyoncé has a relationship with God, Brandy, or Jazmine Sullivan some of these artists do. They may not sing gospel music, but it’s not fair for anybody, well Christians to judge them, to say they’re not right or they’re not going to heaven. That’s foolishness; you have to follow the path that is set for you.
SNY: Mannie, you had mentioned earlier the importance of showmanship today. What is your opinion on record labels not focusing or including artist development in the package?
Mannie Fresh: Well know this, know it quick and fast. Record labels don’t care about you no more. They could care less; they just want to get the numbers. That’s the only thing that matters to them, it’s about the numbers. It was just like he [Isaac Carree] was saying records aren’t selling anymore, so we don’t have the budgets. Until we take control of our music and bring it back to us, that’s what we’re going to get. Until we sit down as a culture and say we’re going to take our music back, we’re going to keep on getting the “I don’t care, I’m just going to keep putting your records out. Maybe one of them is a hit, maybe one of them won’t.” Then there’s no development, there’s a reason. If you’re not caring, why would they care? If you’re a one hit wonder, nobody cares. At one time a record company would take a chance on a good artist. If a record came out and the record didn’t hit, they would say, “Well you know what, maybe we can go on to the next one and try this again because we know you’re a good artist.” This time, right now you only get one shot at it. It’s over! So just know it’s really based on labels don’t care about you no more. Good luck!
SNY: Being at BMI, considering the other two PRO’s what can you tell artists who are a bit confused on which one to join? Also, do you have any advice for women pursuing the music business?
Catherine Brewton: You have a choice; I don’t ever try to discredit one to have you come to BMI. I think my team is the best, but that’s my personal opinion. I don’t think that they’re not good people. There’s good people at ASCAP, there’s good people SESAC and there are a number of other privately owned societies that come up to do the same thing. What you get at BMI is a Catherine Brewton, Wardell Malloy and an Ian Holder. I’ve assembled a team that really cares about the music and the people who make the music. These guys are my friends, I can pick up the phone and I can talk to Pharrell or this one. Why, because I’m invested in what we do as a team. As a female executive I can compete at the highest level. I went to a HBCU school, I did a post at Harvard, I’m a girl who is really – I look this way, but I’m going to compete. I’m not telling you, “Oh I’m a girl, so treat me like a girl” I’m a lady and I’m going to be treated as such. I’m in this to compete at the highest level irrespective of the gender. I’m just going to be the best.
Interviewed by: Shiyana “Shy” Bellamy