Today at Financial Success for Young Adults we are interviewing two young entrepreneurs, the Co-Founders and Owners of Konture Music Group, January Curry and Toni Brooks.
Konture Music Group is a marketing, management, and artist development company that seeks to represent original and fresh talent. Current clients include D’ATRA, DEON MICHAELS, HOLLYWOOD, & KIM VARGUS.
Financial Success for Young Adults: First off, I wanted to thank you ladies for joining me today. Let’s jump right in. What made you decide to start Konture Music Group?
Toni Brooks: We were going to form a band, January and I. We came across some talented singers to demo our work for us. And they in turn needed management. They were very creative and so we wanted to start a company with these talented individuals, artists with their own ideas and natural talents.
FSYA: So you actually got started doing the music yourselves and found a need on the management side. Are you still making your own music?
January Curry: We steered more toward the business and development side. We came together as partners coming from the background of being artists and being songwriters and also knowing the business side. And we saw an opportunity on the business side since we know both sides of the industry.
FSYA: Why did you choose the music industry as opposed to managing talent in another industry?
JC: That’s where our passion was. I know for me, no matter what I did in any other area or field it was always music that was the fuel for everything.
FSYA: Do you think it’s hard for a new business to succeed in this industry?
TB: It’s hard for a new business to succeed in general, but I think the biggest challenge for us in this industry is the fact that we are females. And this is a male-dominated industry.
FSYA: So how do you market your business to give yourselves that edge even when you are females in a male-dominated industry?
JC: Part of our model, and what makes us different, is that we focus more on the honesty part of it. Because a lot of the music industry is really grimy and dirty, we try to deal with only artists that have a natural gift and are not made up artists. The way we function as managers is that we’re going to give you the real deal and keep it 100 percent with you. We want to teach our artists the business side as well as develop them as an artist.
TB: The business is full of a lot of fluff and managers hyping their artist up and telling their artists that they can sit on top of the world. And you can, but at the same time we want to tell them this what you need to do to be successful; instead of feeding them the dream and there’s nothing at the end. Cause we’ve been there. And we do not work on anything that we do not fully believe in.
FSYA: You’re right, there is a lot of music out there right now that’s really well, crap. Do you think it’s harder now for people with real music to become well known?
TB: It is, because that’s just how the music world has evolved. Right now you don’t really have to sing–
JC: It’s a gimmick
TB: Right, it’s all about a dance and a character. You really don’t have to have any talent, there’s a lot of machinery that can make you sound good. But hopefully it will turn around.
FSYA: So knowing that you have to compete with those types of acts, how do you develop your artists?
TB: We try to create their look from what they had in mind. First we do an artist’s overview; what do you think, how do you see yourself, and what do you have to offer? But it’s really them, we’re not making them up. We’re going to bring out what they have in them already.
FSYA: So when you were getting this business off of the ground, what was your biggest challenge? Was it funding or finding acts?
JC: A little bit of both. The funding is always the biggest thing cause we’re starting from scratch and a lot of it was coming out of our pockets–
TB: And still is! (laughs)
JC: And still is, right. And as far as finding the artist, it wasn’t necessarily finding the talent as it was finding the right talent that had the drive as well. And knew how much work it would take.
TB: And we really weren’t even looking for talent. Most of our talent came to us.
FSYA: So right now you’re working on a portfolio of talent?
JC: Yes, we’re developing four acts but our company consists of a lot more than just the artist management and development, we also have a songwriting team and a non-profit that we’re starting as well.
FSYA: It sounds like you guys are already planning expansions. Where do you want your business to be within the next 10 years?
JC: Well with Konture Music Group our goal is to have major deals and contracts for our artists with major record labels and even independent ones. Our goal is also to become a label, a self-sufficient label so under our house we’ll have a production team choreographers, and everything an artist would need to be developed.
TB: Also a publishing company.
JC: Exactly, that’s our goal, to be a self sufficient company.
FSYA: So do you have any upcoming projects that we should look for?
TB: We do! We actually have a reality show coming up. It’s called Reality Me. It’s being produced by an internet studio that also has shows on Comcast and that show should be coming out by the end of February and it will be an introducti
on of us and the artists that we manage.
JC: That’s through Explore Studios.
FSYA: How did you get connected with them?
TB: We had the idea of a reality show sometime last year. But there is nothing out there right now except for the Real Housewives of Atlanta. We are so unique being that we’re black females in the music industry. We felt like that needs to be shown. We are real people that people can relate to. I ran across Explore Studios looking to capture some real people and we got involved with them.
JC: And they’ve really taken on the project and embraced it and we are really excited about that! We also just started a non-profit called Giving Art Back, it’s an organization of the arts. It offers program and workshops for teenagers as an extracurricular activity. We wanted to reach out to those young adults that are talented and wanted to have something to do. We call it the Gift of Gab. We’re very excited about that as well, so we have a lot coming up.
FSYA: It was great talking to you guys today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules! How can we contact you to keep up with the business and hear more from the artists?
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Update 2/13/11: This article was featured in the Carnival of Wealth Stories!