WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MUSIC?
I fell in love with music as a kid. I was into Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. Around five or seven years old.
WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR INFLUENCES?
My dad played the guitar and the drums. Like I said the Jackson Five and Motown all the way up to Master P, but I didn’t really get heavily into music until the business side of things, so about three years ago. My family members are artists and engineers and I’m the investor and they get access to studios. So once I got the first studio I became attracted to it. I saw the energy and the vibe. I soon went from one studio in Pittsburgh to three different studios in three different states within two years. Now I have three studio locations in Pittsburgh, one studio location in Atlanta, and one location in Los Angles. I always had a dream of owning a record label. I figured if I can scout the talent for the label that’s why I have the East Coast, the South, and West Coast so I can bring all three regions of talent under one record label. From the studios came the record label and once the record label came 1708 Media came, that is the videography aspect for the record label. So I have 1708 Empire Studios then 1708 Empire Records and the 1708 Empire Media for the videos. I use my studio engineers for my label. I believe I can create my own Dr. Dre so why would I pay someone ten thousand when I can keep it in-house and support my own people from within.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES PUTTING ALL THAT TOGETHER?
It was a dream first then I began to implement my plan. I got together with the people and basically made an order for the studio. We went and got a booth, the equipment design of the room. My studios are in my own buildings so that’s another plus. I own real estate and that was another love of mine and it allowed me to put the studios on my own property. The challenges are small compared to the reward. Expanding my team would be the next big thing on my list.
WHAT WAS THE MAJOR INSPIRATION TO START 1708?
1708 Empire is an address it’s my Grandma’s house. The house is located on the north side of Manchester, like five minutes away from the Casino. My logo is my Grandma’s house it’s where I grew up and where all this is coming from it is like a legacy that I’m following and bringing to light.
When I see the logo and the house I see that I’m doing this for my dad, my dad passed when I was sixteen. That was tragic for me. My grandma passed a couple of Aunts and Uncles passed. Most all through drugs or street violence. I carry on the pain the heart and the suffering of my family and I’m trying to build a family legacy worldwide. That’s my push my drive to get this house, my neighborhood, and my family legacy out to the world. I got a story to tell, I have family members in jail right now, and when they get out there looking to join the label. This is everything to me I eat, sleep, and breathe it every day.
I have 1708 tatted on my back and on my arm since I was seventeen years old. My brother in LA is an engineer and an artist, I have a brother in Pittsburgh that is an artist. 1708 is a family-oriented thing.
WHAT ARE SOME PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
My next studio location is going to be North Carolina and then going to Miami. Those are my future goals. I’m starting a podcast soon that is going to go hand in hand with the marketing of the label. The artist records music and shoots a video. They go from the studio to 1708 Media and I’m working on a promotional campaign next. So the podcast helps the artists promote their music and videos.
I want to keep the step in-house with the whole process of the artist, from the studio to the video, to the promotion of the album. I don’t want it to stop at the studio. I want to carry it on to the next step. Also, I have in mind an idea for venues. I want to purchase some old industrial property to open up venues in some open warehouse space for the artists to perform. Also to make back what we invested in the EP and make revenue to be split with the artist.
HOW CAN PEOPLE LEARN MORE ABOUT 1708?
We have a website 1708empire.com and anyone can contact us through there or any of our social media.
ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE GETTING INTO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OR STARTING OUT WITH A HOME STUDIO?
My advice is branding takes time, so if you’re branding a logo or a company you’ll want to take your time and make a five-year plan. Don’t quit. You want to leave a legacy and hustle for your last name. I want my last name to live on for decades or even centuries. Be dedicated to anything you can dream of you can do if you put your mind to it. Stay focused stay positive keep yourself surrounded by like-minded people. Do what is in your heart. Have a purpose in your life. If you don’t have a purpose you’re just breathing air.