Monday, February 22, 2010
Omar Grant: In-House A&R For Kelly Rowland Interview
via PMP Worldwide
PMP: Walk us through your 'industry' journey.
Omar Grant: My first official job in the music industry coming fresh out of college was being a road manager for Beyonce on her Seriously In Love Tour. Then for the next 3 years I was a road manager for Destiny's Child as a whole. I realized that I was more in love with the production side more than being on the road traveling because once your own the road you're working an album that's done already but I like the creative part as far as putting the album together and being there from the beginning. So when the girls (Destiny's Child) were in the studio I would always be around trying to soak up as much information as I can. Then I got a position over at EMI Publishing as Director of A&R thanks to Big Jon (Platt). After leaving EMI I'm here currently working on Kelly Rowland's latest project.
PMP: What label is Kelly signed to and break down your specific duties as her A&R?
Omar Grant: Kelly recently signed to Universal Motown but I'm the point person as far as setting up studio time, finding talented songwriters and producers for her to work with and everything else involved with putting together a solid album.
PMP: How is the project coming together?
Omar Grant: The project is near completion, probably a couple of more songs left to fill out the album but we really have a clear picture and clear understanding and its coming out really incredible. All the people that have been close to the project and close friends have been really giving us a lot of love on it and that's honest opinions from people we respect. I think people are going to be surprised with the project, its something different, she's really showing off her vocal ability and overall its just great music.
PMP: In your opinion is Universal Motown putting the proper muscle behind the project?
Omar Grant: Definitely, that was one of the main reasons why she wanted to do the deal with them because of their enthusiasm for the project and they get the vision which is important. They're really excited over there so she feels real good about the situation
PMP: What kind of music should we expect from this project? Will it reflect the current dance/pop sound that is dominating the mainstream?
Omar Grant: Well people have to realize when you think about someone like David Guetta who has worked with everyone from Black Eyed Peas to Akon to Rihanna and others Kelly was the one who really broke him in the States with the 'When Love Takes Over' record. So she's apart of ushering that sound that's out there but at the same time she's going to stay true to her urban and R&B roots and give those that love her for that something as well.
To me it's going to be a fusion of different sounds that's going to take her to the next level. You will hear some dance tracks but you're going to hear some dance with an R&B feel to it as well to round it out. It's a good mix of dance, Hip Hop and R&B. I'm a stickler for real creative songs that tell a story or put you in a zone to feel real good.
PMP: Compare the difference between working for a company like EMI and working for yourself as a independent A&R
Omar Grant: The only real difference is you don't have to clock into an office situation but as an A&R whether you're working for a company or not you're not working the usual 9 to 5 hours anyway. To be successful you really have to hustle and put in long nights and early mornings and just get it in. You have to be out there in the studios and at the different events so you're not in the office much anyhow.
Read the full interview here:
Omar Grant / Kelly Rowland A&R