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Exploring Life & Business with Jerry King of Jamstone Records

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jerry King.

Hi Jerry, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I have always been interested in music and in a familiar way, growing up in the church, was influenced with the choir and the Hammond organ. My mother arranged for me to take organ and piano lessons, but I was more interested in what I was hearing on the radio than from the traditional lessons being taught. I started going to concerts at a young age and somehow always found myself backstage with the stars and, of course, I was starstruck and taking in all of the excitement without actually knowing how the business worked. In college (which will remain nameless) I started working with bands and worked on the entertainment committee to bring in top named performers in concert. Naturally, I built a relationship with quite a few and they mentored me as to the business aspects.

After school and a military stint, I joined a band called THE SIX DEGREES SOUTH, which has a current record on the market distributed out of England. I then formed a Black Rock group called SLICK FLAME and we were doing quite well on with an agency. I then received a call from the “Six Degrees South” who wanted to work out a deal with the legendary Joe Tex in which we joined him and changed the name to THE SECOND RESURRECTION BAND. We recorded and co-wrote with Mr. Tex the “Bumps & Bruises” album with the hit “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman.) The song went on to cross three charts, #86 for the year in “Billboard,” and a Grammy Nomination. We were on tour for two years with that song to include playing all over, at that time, East and West Germany. Being under the auspices of CBS/Epic Records allowed me to meet with the elite of the elite in the record business and they mentored me as they saw that I had a passion and an integrity for it. During this time, I alone traveled with Joe Tex back and forth between Houston and Hollywood in which he encouraged me to start my own music business in Houston. It was at this time I realized the issues between being with a major record label and an independent record label. I was going to have to be highly innovative and creative to beat the odds. I produced quite a few people out of Houston. We also formed a band called ROCKSTARR in which we did shows in our own right and backed up many vocalists and performers. I don’t believe that it’s a secret that independent records from Houston were having a hard time getting support from the local radio stations which led me to re-locate to Atlanta as the major labels set up satellite offices there.

In Atlanta, I also set-up television productions (ATLANTA IN CONCERT) to highlight and bring visibility to recording artists as they are experiencing the same issues from corporate radio here as well. Currently for me, the music business has turned into a somewhat political, social and economic issue and it has to be dealt with in an innovative way using all of the tools technology can provide. I have been inspired to create the much-needed missing infrastructure to empower our community with its own natural resource, which is music and the financial catalyst to ensure not one more generation falls into the abyss of illiteracy, poverty and economic vulnerability. The current genre we are promoting to solve that issue is “Southern Soul,” a multi-billion dollar consumer base seeking its’ music, but is untapped, under-served and under-voiced. This is our current push. By the way, I have my own song recently released “Watch My Lady Dance,” an up-tempo Disco-Funk doing well in Paris, Italy, England and in the Middle East.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
As mentioned before, being an independent music company has its’ obstacles, mainly from the resistance of corporate radio stations and major media not supporting independent music. To be quite frank, Black music is one of the world’s wealthiest industries and the second largest export ($1 Trillion) from the US. However, the problem is not hearing Black music on corporate radio. It is hearing Black-Owned music on corporate radio. When I was with the major label, there was no problem being played. It was not until I formed an independent label with artists not signed with major labels that I incurred resistance. From that point, it has been a constant uphill battle to overcome and eradicate a systemic problem of keeping music revenues from Black-Owned music companies. What we are presently promoting now (Southern Soul) is re-directing music revenues into our community versus steadily feeding corporations we do not own.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Jamstone Records?
Our record label has produced quite a few artists with good music. In fact, we receive rave reviews bearing criticism that listeners do not understand why corporate radio stations refuse to play us. I just tell them it is probably not in their best interest (and you know where I’m going with this) to make our community rich. I have also formed a production company entitled STARBREAKERS which completes the infrastructure of just about anything one wants to do in the recording industry: music production, studio, session musicians, mastering, graphic artists, manufacturing, promotions(radio, television, social media}, distribution, video production, fashion designers and make-up artists, consultation, etc. Being a Black-Owned business, we know the special touch, effects and the intrinsic elements an artist/performer needs to reach the listener/consumer. In other words, you will get a product custom made versus a bland generic product.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Everything we do is taking a risk. That is because we produce intangible products to provide a tangible return. I have always believed “the bigger the risk, the bigger the return.” The support and mentoring I have received has kept me away from people who are afraid to take risks. Most of it is caused by fear, which in some cases is a form of insanity. They fear something that may happen or may never happen. I took one from Martin Luther King in which he said, “The biggest pain of a small-minded man is the fear of change.” I also have a friend who showed how so many in our community think and it’s called, The Fireplace Mentality.” That mentality says, “fireplace, give me some heat and then I will throw in some wood.” I want to stay as far away from them as possible. The reason I push what I push is to generate the win. Regardless of what people think, once you win or create an idea that is unstoppable, they will come to you in a herd or jump on the bandwagon after it is already rolling. We have to create that win.

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