1. Introduce yourself and how you got started in the entertainment business.
My name is Devon Brabham, but often referred to as the Ghost. I started in the industry, ironically as a “Ghost Writer” when I was 12 years old. Being from Las Vegas, there were few opportunities for aspiring writers and artists when I was growing up. I wrote my first rhyme for a lot of the world’s favorite artists’ both in the hip hop genre, R&B, and even in the gospel sector. I met a lot of A&R’s and music executives at an early age, who helped strengthen and increase my music IQ before I went to college.
2. What was your first job like when you finally got your start?
My first job in the industry was filing contracts. I didn’t know anything about the percentages and or what the words meant, but I was determined to learn. I wrote down every word I didn’t know and went home and looked it up in the dictionary. I became addicted to learning how the entire process came about. Basically, I was hungry to learn.
3. What’s been your favorite project or task thus far?
My favorite project I have done, is the Year of The Monster 2, which I executive produced. It’s a great collective of some of my favorite independent artists and some of my major artist friends. I really dug deep inside myself to put out a collective mixtape that all fans from any genre will enjoy. My favorite task that I have had the joy to be a part of has been the recruiting when I was with an A&R with Indie Music Factory/Ingrooves/Universal Music Group. I really enjoyed the entire process, and it helped increase my industry IQ and carve out my credentials as an industry professional.
4. Give us the most challenging part of your role and the easiest.
The most challenging part of being a manager of artists is finding a way to get the artists to listen and provide content. Artists sometime get the conception that a manager must invest in his or her artists and do everything but record the famous track. This is the hardest fallacy to overcome. The easiest part of the job is building the brand for the artist. A lot of people may think that this is the hardest, but it is the easiest part of the artist-manager relationship.
5. What are some of the biggest differences in the industry now from when you started?
One of the biggest differences is the industry is primarily digital. The industry has changed so much because it has so many shortcuts to get artists exposure. The internet has provided an advantage and a disadvantage. The artists are given so many shortcuts to get them to where they want to be. The artists are causing themselves a disadvantage because the fan engagement is lost. When I started the artists were made to work the streets, vendors, barbershops, shopping malls, and many more avenues to build their fanbase of new listeners.
6. Why can having a great team benefit a new or established artist?
There are so many nuisances that go into the daily success of an artist, having a developed and knowledgeable team can catapult the new artist, and sustain the established artist for many years to come. A team can protect an artist from the pitfalls of the industry.
7. For those dreaming of making a living from this industry, what advice could you provide?
Be humble, be prepared, and above all be mindful of your character. Your character must remain even through your growth within the industry. Finding a mentor, a PR, a publicist, a social media marketing team, a booking agent, and a road manager are among all the necessary things that is needed for an artist to be successful. More than anything else, these things are not free, and that fact is one of the major reasons some young artists fail.