In late August of 2017, I was in my soul city – New Orleans – hanging out on the rooftop area of the Omni Royal Crescent Hotel, simply enjoying existing in such an amazing place.
I looked over and saw two gentlemen around my age who were clearly on a mission to shoot a professional looking music video. Being my type A self, I noticed a few things that I thought would improve their shots (force of habit – sorry guys) so I offered my two cents. Instead of being annoyed with a random tourist giving unsolicited advice, they listened. They shared the music and although it was a brief, chance meeting, I instinctively knew to keep tabs on this up and coming artist. Not only did I like his music – I liked him, and he clearly had a good head for business on his shoulders.
After years of being randomly asked for my opinion and advice on various stages of business growth and development, I decided to “get back into the game” of consulting and networking and one of the first people I reached out to in order to expand my network was Bo Dee, the charming east New Orleans native multi talented rapper, content creator, graphic designer, singer, producer, songwriter and Artist Advisor for the up and coming music discovery app, Tweedl.
Bo Dee graciously agreed to let me interview him via Facebook video chat to share his story with aspiring musicians because as he says, he’s “always networking and exchanging services. You never know what kind of history you can make. If it feels good, go for it!”
This Jack of All Trades currently lives in New Orleans where he grew up playing tuba in the marching band and alto saxophone in his school’s concert band, in addition to a number of other instruments which is why he says his influences rang from American pianist and songwriter Fats Domino to rapper Ludacris. For producing, he admires Drake’s producer 40, Kanye West and Just Blaze. In junior high, he moved to Memphis and found himself on somewhat of a musical hiatus to focus on sports then later returned to New Orleans.
“[I] try to mix different elements and be as original as possible,” Bo Dee said, because the goal is to “stay fresh and versatile and not confine myself to a box.”— Bo Dee, September 2019 to MG Small Business Services
For a 30-minute set, Bo Dee charges a minimum of $700, however, he humbly appreciates when venues will throw in extra perks such as nice hotel accommodations and will perform longer. He’s performed live in cities such as New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Shreveport, Austin, Atlanta, Memphis and Miami and hopes to finalize additional tour dates in Los Angeles and New York City some time in 2020.
While some independent artists struggle on the actual “business” side of the music business, Bo Dee is clearly not one of them. His single-member limited liability company TruPhoria Music Group, LLC accepts a variety of payment methods including Square, CashApp and PayPal and his music can be purchased on a number of platforms such as Apple Music, Amazon and Tidal. He’s even branched out to Spotify and YouTube.
In addition to promoting his own music, Bo Dee eats, sleeps and breathes the music industry and is constantly looking for ways to improve himself, his brand and his network. For his own promotion, he uses his background in graphic design to design his shirts and hats and says he typically creates new campaigns in the fall while the music industry is slow so he can work on new content for the following year. As far as software for video editing, he recommends Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects. For music, Bo Dee recommends Studio One.
As far as his network, Bo Dee is the Industry Advisor for the up and coming music discovery app, Tweedl, which is currently available for download for Android and Apple users. He works closely with Tweedl CEO and former CFO of Combs Enterprises (for Sean “Diddy” Combs) Tony Abrahams to give feedback regarding the needs of an independent artist.
“It’s like American Idol meets Tinder,” Bo Dee said excitedly, “[users] can listen to thirty seconds of a song sample and swipe left or right based on if they like it or not.”— Bo Dee, September 2019 to MG Small Business Services
The more a user’s votes align with what other users choose, the user receives a higher voter score and acquires badges. Based out of New York, Tweedl will help artists grow a tangible fan base in the hopes that the artists become discovered by a major record label. While it’s still being developed to add more bells and whistles, users are welcome to create a free account now.
While Bo Dee describes his usual weekly routine as, “Studio, studio, videos, studio, squeeze in conference calls and meetings” in addition to various legitimate side hustles, in his free time, he enjoys water parks, food, video games and roller coasters (even though he has a fear of heights).
Bo Dee and I agree – your most valuable asset as an artist (which is a small business) is your network. He says the premise of his production company is based on giving back. He searches social media for an artist he would like to work with and offers to work for them either by inviting them to perform on a track or even sometimes offering to create content for them. He offers live studio sessions, music videos, mp3 visuals and graphic design services, to name a few. He performs for people but “produces for himself,” which in my opinion, is admirable to do what one loves.
Bo Dee is an example of what hard work, talent, hustle, creativity, networking and learning how to properly market your strengths looks like. Not everyone gets to get paid to live their dream but with the right guidance and knowing when to ask for help, anything is possible.
For other artists who would like to follow in Bo Dee’s footsteps, he advises three key things to remember, “Number one – be you, because everybody is trying to be someone else. Be consistent and move at your own pace.”
When asked what the hardest part about doing what he does is, Bo Dee grinned and said what most entrepreneurs can agree to, “Doing what you don’t feel like doing when you don’t feel like doing it” but for him, the most rewarding part is getting to see peoples’ reactions to hearing one of his songs or seeing him perform live.
“That’s the best feeling in the world,” Bo Dee said.— Bo Dee, September 2019 to MG Small Business Services
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