The social media age has its advantages & disadvantages, its pros & cons. The disadvantage is that people have forgotten the true meaning of human interaction & genuine communication, because we are so concerned with how many likes a person has or what their social status reflects via their follower count. We don’t connect outside of our initial social circle, because we feel we are better than them, or perhaps they are better than us. They may be from a different place & we fear meeting someone new from a different culture will change or alter our own viewpoints & perspectives too drastically for our own comfort.
Then we have the silver lining through it all, the advantages of this new technological millennium we have entered; which is the ability to connect with professionals & people from around the world, at the click of a button, from the comfort of our own homes. It’s how you view & use social media that will ultimately determine your experience on social media. It’s amazing what can happen when you explore & push yourself outside of your culture norms. Do you believe in fate? Define fate…the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power. It may sound drastic to some, but after hearing my story, maybe you will understand nothing in life happens for no reason.
When I think back in hindsight this still feels rather surreal & bizarre how this all developed. I was in my room scrolling Youtube trying to discover new music as a young A&R (which I do on a daily basis). I don’t even remember what specific song I was listening to at the time, and then of course, if you’re aware Youtube has an automatic playlist at times. I walked away from my computer, came back, and Warner Music Group/Atlantic Records UK artist, Anne-Marie’s record, “Karate”, from her 1st EP titled Karate was on my screen.
At the time the video only had about 100,000 views & I was immediately captivated & hypnotized by the production, songwriting, & melody of the record. The fact that she displayed what seemed like movements of Capoeira in the video & a martial arts skill set fascinated me. It was something I had never seen before, & I knew it just made her a unique multi-talented individual. In my mind she had immediately separated herself from the ton of pop singers I would hear on our Billboard Charts & iHeartMedia stations on a daily basis.
After listening to the record numerous times in my daily life I noticed something oddly peculiar about the record. As I listened closely I heard different sound effects in the background of the production. The sounds ranged from a referee yelling “Fight”, punching sounds, & another referee yelling, “You Win, Perfect” at the end of the record. I paced back & forth in my room for a long time trying to remember where I had heard these sound effects before.
I had been an avid video gamer & consumer of video games since like the age of 5. Owning everything from a Gameboy Color to N64 to a Playstation 3. If there was anything I loved just as much as music, it was video games. Then suddenly it’s like a light bulb went off in my head & I realized where the sound effects from the song, “Karate” came from. It was the video game, “Street Fighter”, a game I played in numerous arcades as a young child, how could I ever forget!
I immediately began doing my research on Anne-Marie & found out she was an English singer/songwriter & 3x World Karate Champion out in the U.K. (United Kingdom) from Essex, England. She sang alongside fellow English pop-star Jessie J as a younger child in earlier productions in her career. She cut a demo in 2013 called, “Summer Girl” which lead to her not only connecting with the band Rudimental as a background singer but eventually lead to her being managed & discovered by Elton John’s management company/record label, Rocket Entertainment. At this point, it was Anne-Marie’s versatility & unique career path that compelled my next idea.
I thought to myself what if I contacted Capcom which was the parent company & creator of the classic “Street Fighter” franchise & notified them about Anne-Maire. She is a world karate champion & represents the characters in the game naturally through her martial arts skills. She instantly reminded me of the character Chun-Li instantly when I saw the video. It was one of those ideas in my head that was crazy enough to work. I shared my idea with business associates & friends of mine & they immediately shot down my dreams, just because sometimes people don’t have the foresight to see a vision that grand. I heard things like, “How are you going to get in touch with a multi-billion dollar video game distributor & manufacturer?”, “Why would these prominent individuals even care about a rapper/emcee from the East side of Chicago?”
Yes those replies filled me with doubt, but the idea constantly pulsated in my head to the point where I had to act on it. I won’t lie I felt foolish when first embarking on this mission to get in touch with Capcom. While everyone was working a 9 to 5, here I was spending money out my own pocket, waking up at odd times in the night, just to call overseas to get in contact with Anne-Marie’s record label & management company on the other side of the world.
I felt really crazy & often times asked myself why am I working so hard for a person I never met. 7 months later, a lot of studying, hours of hard work, & waking up at the oddest times at night had paid off. I got in touch with Capcom in the U.S., told them my idea and they immediately saw the vision, which to this day I’m extremely grateful for.
I never once felt looked down upon or felt a cultural difference when communicating with the Japanese originated company which has produced numerous video game classics. At the end of the day business is business & I appreciate them looking at my inquiry with an open mind which speaks volumes on their staff’s innovative & forward thinking perspective when it comes to their business dealings. I always give them the highest praise for going along with an idea that many people thought was impossible for me to accomplish.
Capcom decided to post Anne-Marie’s karate single to Capcom U.K. & Street Fighter’s official twitter twitter & facebook pages. The day that happened I practically almost passed out & cried. 7 months of my life invested in one idea had finally paid off. I posted Capcom/Street Fighter’s endorsement to my official social media accounts & Anne-Marie being the great spirit she is known for, commented personally on my Instagram telling me, “thank you brother.”
I wasn’t expecting a financial pay out or medal of honor for my accomplishment. It’s the fact that my favorite artist acknowledged my work on a single that inspired me that made me feel the greatest joy in the world. It also had put a stamp on my resume that was undeniable.
I was the last industry professional to bridge the gap between Capcom and the music industry since coincidentally my mentor (early in my career), Mr.Cortez Bryant. Mr.Bryant worked with Capcom by creating the “Lil Wayne Vs. Drake Tour”. The venture used an app & tour supported by Capcom based off the Street Fighter video game pitting both rappers to battle against each other to determine who is the best rapper in the world!
Fast forward a bit closer to the present & Anne-Marie a few months ago finally had her first U.S. solo tour & the Chicago date was sponsored by React Presents (http://reactpresents.com/). I literally was counting the days until I can finally meet my favorite artist in person & the fact that React blessed me with access to the show for two people was incredible. The day of the show literally was my own personal national holiday. Then sadly I was given the news Anne-Marie had fallen sick & I wasn’t going to be able to meet her this time around.
Of course I was disappointed, but I valued her health more than anything first. Anne-Marie once again being the angel she is, tweeted me personally apologizing for missing the show, something she didn’t have to do. We live in an era where signed major artists/acts feel their to good to have personal relationships with their fans & supporters. It’s actions like this on Anne-Marie’s behalf that lets me know she will be one of the biggest pop superstars of our time & generation.
Now 1 year later in 2017 my A&R predictions were correct. She has attained 4 (four) chart topping singles on the U.K. singles chart with Clean Bandit‘s “Rockabye“, featuring Sean Paul, peaking at number one, Rudimental‘s “Rumour Mill” with Will Heard, reaching number 67, “Do It Right”, reaching number 90 and “Alarm“, reaching number 16. On 17 October 2016, “Alarm” reached 100 million streams on Spotify.
I even tried my best in playing my part in supporting Anne-Marie’s team & single again by coordinating an interview with her personal stylist, Ms.Cinta London, who has done some amazing work in the fashion/make-up/ & beauty industries. The interview was done on AM1680 Que4Radio’s show Nitty’s Knocker where you can hear personal details of her & Anne-Marie’s journey while premiering the record, “Rock-A-Bye” ft. Sean Paul & Clean Bandit on the station. I’ll always support Anne-Marie & if the stars align correctly, one day I’ll be able to tell her this in person. I hope this story inspired everyone no matter where you come from to strive for your dreams & goals. You never know where it could lead you in your life!!!!