While we’ve interviewed a range of celebrities on ILS, we pride ourselves on finding and interviewing the “Influencer of the Influencers.” Immanuel Smith is the youngest staff member at Best of Both Offices, a brand management and artist development company (among other things). Check out what he had to say below!
When we met with Immanuel, arms crossed and super attentive, all signs pointed to a slight nervousness. He wasn’t sure why the hell we brought him in, usually being on our end of these things; however, Immanuel has orchestrated successful projects for a number of our favorite artists, as you will read below, and has laid a foundation that could be career defining for these artists (and for himself). Music is the edifice to his life and we couldn’t agree more!
People rarely ask this question to those involved in the music industry. It seems like an obvious question, but everyone’s answers are so different… Why music? Why did you want to become a part of the music industry?
“I really fell in love with it. It was like always explained to me that I could be two things: I could be a teacher or I could work in the music industry and right now, I chose the music industry. I still want to teach but that’s going to be later on in life, after I’m done with this music stuff. But the music industry is what I really what I wanted to do, which is why I chose music for now. Music really was my first love. I still remember buying my first CD; It was a DMX CD and I was like 9 or 10 years old.”
So you just produced a show with Slim Dollars, Mel Carter, etc. Can you talk about the show and how it was producing that?
“The show itself, at Tammany Hall was pretty cool. I mean it was a great show, just seeing everyone come out. It was different from the first show that we did because we didn’t have any females and I really wanted to incorporate some female artists. I wanted to have an R&B artist, a rapper… I just wanted something different because when you normally go to hip hop shows, all you see is a bunch of dudes so I wanted to incorporate the female audience too. that was just something I wanted to do.”
Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Young Savv? What do you think about his new executive position with MMG?
“That’s the big homie. He gave me my internship at Def Jam. Taught me a lot. He was one of the first people that sat me down and was like ‘you can really do this.’ I’m lucky to have him in my life. He’s somebody that I can look up to, someone I can actually talk to about different things about what goes on in my life and not just this music stuff. So he’s like a big brother more than anything. I can talk to him about anything. Not a lot of people have that in the music industry and I’m lucky for that. We talk about life; we talk about relationships; what’s going on in the music industry… just different things.”
“It really doesn’t because you have your basic social media platforms that we market on, like guerrilla marketing and stuff like that. So it’s about finding new trends or that new app that will help your brand and motivate your customers to keep coming back. That’s what those platforms are doing: motivating your customers to come back.”
Are there any apps you’re really in to now?
“There’s an app called Vowch a lot of people are about to hop on to. It’s an app that combines like every single social media platform- Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.”
Earlier we were talking about what drives you. Can you talk more about that?
“To be totally honest with you, it’s probably anger and fear. I say anger because you see somebody, not necessarily to have that spot, but you seem them and you’re like ‘Damn, he’s that much better than me? He has that spot?’ So it’s like the anger to keep on going, keep on pushing, wanting to do more. Do I think I’m the best? No, not at all. Do I want to be the best? Yes… And ‘fear’ also because so many have your back saying ‘oh you’re next up,’ saying you’re going to be great and do all these positive things in the music industry and it’s the fear you’re going to let them down. So I don’t want to let people down. That just sucks. I don’t want people disappointed in me. So I say anger and fear.”
Who’s your favorite artist today?
“Right now? I’ve been listening to a lot of the Phoenix. They’re a Europop-rock band. But my favorite artist of all time is Kanye. I’ve seen him 6 times.”
The compilations are special. I just wanted to highlight a bunch of artist that I think are dope. I wanted no song to sound alike so if you liked that song you would look up the artist and get more music from him or her. We have goals we set for the tapes and I’ glad we reached them. They get a lot of love on the sites and people enjoy them. So with that love and people enjoying them, I want to do more tapes. The goal is just keep making them better and not sounding the same.
Here is Immanuel’s twitter: @ImmanuelJames