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Jason Davis: “Be humble at heart and always speak the truth”

People need to know that staying focused and being diligent in incredibly important. Diligence will eventually bring promotion and prosperity. Proverbs 21:5 clearly says that the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Diligence and faith turns dreams to reality, impossibilities to possibilities. As a […]

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People need to know that staying focused and being diligent in incredibly important. Diligence will eventually bring promotion and prosperity. Proverbs 21:5 clearly says that the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Diligence and faith turns dreams to reality, impossibilities to possibilities.


As a part of my series about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Davis.

Jason Davis has spent his entire two decade career in the music industry and worked with many worldwide stars, including Boyz ll Men, Sugar Ray, P. Diddy, Alabama, Lonestar, Dolly Parton, among many others. Davis is an entertainment industry executive with a broad range of titles including award winning songwriter, award winning author, independent record label president, executive TV producer, entertainment consultant, former Senior VP of A&R for Dolly Parton’s management company CTK management and a serial entrepreneur. He has also secured record deal offers with CEO’s from the largest music companies in the world, including Capitol Records, Sony, Interscope, Island / Def Jam, Epic, Atlantic, RCA, and J Records.

Traveling between New York, London, Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville, he built a reputation working with the top songwriters, producers, and recording artists in the entertainment industry on a global level. Over the span of his career, he has not only pioneered new approaches to the signing and development of some of the world most successful recording artists and songwriters but he has consistently championed innovative business models and partnerships with a wide range of companies around the world.

His career began as a songwriter when he was discovered by Grant Cunningham, the former VP of A&R for Sparrow Records. Davis went on to write a #1 Billboard hit, received several ASCAP songwriting and publishing awards, and was nominated for a Latin music award. Davis has also co-founded other cutting edge entertainment companies such as Radar Label Group (Jimmy Eat World, Plain White T’s, Neon Trees, The Unlikely Candidates), One One 7, Awaken Records (Austin French), Noble Management, and Care For Kids. He is also co-president and partner of booking agency Higher Level Agency.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I had a passion for music from the moment I held a guitar in my hands. Throughout High School I was writing songs, recording and performing. That lead to my career beginning as a songwriter. I was discovered by SVP of A&R for Sparrow Records heard one of my songs. At age 23 my life changed when I wrote a #1 Billboard hit, that received several ASCAP Songwriting awards, and was nominated for a Premios Tu Mundo Latin Music Award. After that, everything changed. Doors began to blow open.

I can say personally that my faith, leaning on God and asking Him for direction has always helped me to know I am doing what I was born to do. That is what brings me happiness

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Although there are always a number of exciting projects occurring, recently our artist Austin French released his single “Wake Up Sleeper.” We also have another newly signed artist to Capitol Records Anne Wilson. Anne’s music has not been released yet, but her vocals, and back story are sure to change the lives of many as well. She’s one of the greatest singers and artists I’ve ever worked with.

Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?

Almost every business study, regardless of the actual type of business, has concluded that an unhappy workforce leads to less customer satisfaction; thereby leading to less profitability, productivity and wellbeing. That can be translated into the Music Industry as well. It has been my experience that having positive relationships with both employees and artists alike can change an entire situation. Building relationships with understanding and trust is the key, because we all know it is never what is said, but how something is said and how it is interpreted that determine the next response or outcome.

Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture?

1) Leaders are servants. It is a God given honor to be in a leadership role. Great leaders ask “What can I do for you?” more often than asking “What can you do for me?”

2) Always strive for excellence. In a business world filled with mediocrity, place quality over speed. Take the time to deliver the perfect product.

3) A good reputation is better than gold.

4) Leaders listen.

5) Be humble at heart and always speak the truth.

It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture.” What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?

People need to know that staying focused and being diligent in incredibly important. Diligence will eventually bring promotion and prosperity. Proverbs 21:5 clearly says that the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Diligence and faith turns dreams to reality, impossibilities to possibilities.

How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?

Always pursue excellence and surround yourself with people who believe in your goals. In my book Business Backwards I describe my current management style and beliefs, which is about learning to grow and succeed by doing business in God’s way. By using ten simple but powerful principles I transformed my life and career. After leading an International Corporation for over 20 years, I observed the ups and downs of the business world on a Global level. I’ve seen companies flourish and grow and succumb to defeat in the face of adversity. I believe that by putting others, humility, serving, integrity and diligence first success will be the outcome.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Throughout my career I’ve worked with a large variety of people, so several people come to mind. I have truly learned something from each individual that I have worked with. Various artists along the way have taught me how to love people well and to put the relationship above the business deal. Some important advice that really stands out came from Jimmy Iovine, who founded Interscope Records. He told me that he “tortured songs for a living.” That sentence changed my life. He taught me to really dig in and bring the song to the highest level.

There is also Grant Cunningham who always comes to mind when I am asked this question. As I mentioned, I initially began my career as a songwriter. I was fortunate to have a song discovered by Grant, who was, at the time, the VP of A&R for Sparrow Records. My song “Captured” became a #1 hit, which also received several ASCAP songwriting and publishing awards which included one of the most radio air-played songs of the year.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have been very blessed. The artists and speakers that I look to work with already come to the table with a heart of service. I care for the people that I work with a tremendous amount and I never settle for anything but the best that I can do. I’ve been fortunate with the opportunities I have had and I believe in living by example and paying it forward. God gives me passion for the every day grind. Through that passion I have been able to watch the artist’s life bloom while seeing how God is allowing their music to change and save lives.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To Quote Will Smith, “You start out saying, ‘Each day I’m going to lay one brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.’ If you do that every single day, one day you will have a city.”

That can be easily applied to artists or anyone in the Music Industry who should always pursue excellence and keep your bar extremely high. Artists should always stay focused on their craft and set their bar or standard for excellence really high.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

To quote Ephesians 4:2:“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” God calls on us to be love others. If we could all base our actions on loving others, even when they may not be that loving towards us, the world could change.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you continued success!

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