Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s show everyone you’re a normal human being. What are your hobbies, favorite places to visit, pet peeves? Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.
“I enjoy doing many different things for fun, but if I had to pick one I would say that bowling and traveling are my top two choices. The best place that I have visited so far has been Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The atmosphere is great, the people are better, and it’s just a relaxing city. One of my pet peeves would when people smack when they chew! It bothers me whenever I hear it…lol. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with those that are close to me joking around, laughing, and just not being worried about everything else that is going on at the time. I consider myself easy-going and laid back so it doesn’t take much for me to unwind.”
Can you tell us something about you that few people know?
“One thing that few people know about me is that I am color blind. It’s not severe where it hinders me from being successful, but it can definitely be frustrating. I try my best to keep that under wraps unless it is necessary to discuss.”
Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?
“Yes! “FOCUS” my new EP (executive produced by Mighty Mizz) is going to be released very soon. I am currently working hard on finalizing the songs that are going to be on the EP so that it will be in its own league. The first single off the EP is called “Can’t Be Real”. I believe that this single will set the tone for “FOCUS” and give the listeners a small dose of who MJAE THE GREAT is. We are also going to be working on a documentary that will detail how I started my company to fund my music. This will give the viewers a first-hand glimpse of making small sacrifices to work towards accomplishing your goal.”
Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.
“The first person that comes to mind is my publicist, Kiedra Tyson. It seemed like destiny when I ran into her while in Los Angeles for the BET Awards. She’s one of few people that I have encountered that has stuck to her word and put me in the right situations to help my career.
“Second person is my producer/engineer, Mighty Mizz. Working with him has given me a chance to perfect my sound. He took his time and helped me mold my craft, giving us the opportunity to make timeless music.”
Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?
“The thing I could say I had to overcome was singing. Lol. It is not one of my strong suits, so getting in from of the mic and trying to sing was very uncomfortable. Instead of allowing it to stop me and keeping me from making really good music, I went head first and put my voice in my engineer’s hand. So, you’ll hear a lot of background vocals in my new songs and they’re all from me.”
The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation).
“I grew up in a family where going to college and owning businesses wasn’t the end goal. Most of the men in my family were in and out of prison. The obstacle of me growing up in this type of environment was a hard cycle to break. I had to try new things and seek information that wasn’t handed down from the elders in my family. It’s really hard to search for a different way without having a blueprint.”
What are your “3 Lessons I Learned from My Most Memorable Failure”
- Product knowledge. When I first got in business, I had a guy sell me 100 fake Dre beats in which I lost thousands of dollars because I couldn’t sell them. This taught me to be more knowledgeable of what I’m buying.
- I’ve been doing music for 10 years and I could never figure out why the bass in my voice would get drowned out when I recorded. I didn’t find out until last year that different microphones work different per vocal. After finding this out, I went and purchased a microphone that was custom to my voice, which has made recording music easier.
- Credit. I never knew how important credit was until recently. I used to hang up on bill collectors when they called. I thought that as long as I don’t talk to them I don’t have to pay them. I learned the importance of credit when I went to go buy my second car and they wanted $5000 down, my car note was still $400 a month! At this point my FICO score was at 450. My friend Cameron Williams showed me the ropes on cleaning my credit and disputing negative remarks. I’ve worked tirelessly to improve my credit so that I can be put in a better situation financially. I’m proud to say I’m a black man with good credit now!
What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?
“The #1 piece of advice that I can give is to master your sound. It’s literally that simple. You can’t start a business without a product, meaning, you can’t start a music career without the proper packaging. Once they can master their sound, it will be up hill from there.”
What is the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?
“My worse boss taught me to never be a slave to another man’s company. She was the type of person that lived and breathed the shoe store where I worked. She was unwilling to separate herself from the store. You would have to constantly remind her that the store wasn’t hers! I realized that I never wanted to be tied up that much into something that didn’t belong to me.”
What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?
“My efficiency hack is distributing the work. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. I try to bring in as much help as possible to make the dream work. This helped me become more efficient in my music and business.”
All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges.
“I often think about how my bank account would look if I didn’t do music. I’ve invested so much over the years into it and I could only imagine how my life would be if I had the money back. It’s nothing I regret but it’s wishful thinking and those what-if moments.”
Nobody likes to fail. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?
“For almost a year, I was making everything about money. I had no organic relationships, everybody dealt with me and hung around me because of the money I spent with and on them. So, once the money ran out so did the people. I spoke with my close friend and he told me to play broke then see who really loves you, because it’s easy to befriend a person in their glory days, but not easy to stick around when they have less than what you thought.”
What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?
“I’ve thought about that a lot and I’m still trying to decide. I know that it will for sure be a business that will get my family involved, but I am unsure as to what that business will be.”
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
FB: MJAE THE GREAT