All Articles Tagged "roc nation"
When you think of Roc Nation, a few people come to mind — Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna — and, hopefully, Bridget Kelly. At least that’s what the latter, and one of the newer members of the label, is working toward. The slender brunette first caught everyone’s eye in 2009 when she began filling in for Alicia Keys on “Empire State of Mind” alongside Jay Z. At the time, everyone wanted to know, in the words of Eve, “who’s that girl?” But since that time, Bridget’s come to be known not only for her vintage mezzo-soprano R&B sound, but also her raven locks — sometimes with just a hint of blonde — red lip, and killer fashion sense. Since Bridget inspires so many through her music and her style, we had to have a chat with the 27-year-old to see what inspires her musically and what’s on the horizon for her career and upcoming album, “Something Different.” Check out our Q&A from inside the Opia Lounge and Bar at Renaissance New York Hotel 57, a boutique hotel in Manhattan.
When did you know you wanted to be a singer? “There was always music in my house. My parents were really big on The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder—my dad was really big on Motown and my mother was really folky — and I was always encouraged to have my own voice from the beginning. So when I was a kid, I could get people’s attention and relate to them somehow by using my voice. And when I was 12, my dad put me in the church choir and then I went on to a performing arts school which was really the nail in the coffin for me. It was a time when I was figuring out who I was and who I wanted to be and to have the creative freedom to be who I was and express myself in front of my peers was really great for me.”
At what point did you realize you made it? “Singing ‘Empire State of Mind’ was the moment I realized I’m here; I’ve arrived, so to speak. That was really the beginning for me. I had been signed for a year at that point and we really didn’t know what we wanted to do, and at that point I was going through a really bad breakup when I went on tour with Jay [Z] and I experienced really early on the heartbreak people describe when your professional life starts to skyrocket and your personal life goes to s**t. At the time I wanted to make an angry music album. I said just give me a rock guitar and I’m going to set everything on fire and all the girls are going to love me. But as I was gradually writing and recording more, I felt so much more soulful and I realized I couldn’t just be the angry girl who hurts people. I had to talk about being hurt, and so in the songwriting and recording process I did a lot of soul-searching and some of it was not pretty or stuff I wanted to talk about on this album, but I would’ve had to front if I did something different. So I just stuck to my guns and put it all out there.”
Is hell freezing over!? Is it 1999??
Just kidding! See, folks are capable of putting their differences aside when the spirit moves them to, and it looks like that’s what has happened between Jay Z and Damon Dash. The two were seen shooting the you know what at a party for industry exec Chaka Pilgrim, Dash in a white T, Jay in a denim button-up looking straight out of Cali. After years of talking about one another in interviews (more Dash talking about Jay than the other way around), and not being in the presence of one another for years, they were able to chat and take a picture together. As Jay said in a recent interview about Dash:
“The thing, what we built, you can’t take that away so no matter what, no time or space — the love is still there. Because what we’ve done will forever be stamped in history. We created something that’s gonna go down forever. So I can only have love for Dame. I just don’t know where we are in our life, we’re not the same two men at that time when we gelled in that way. We were two different people. I haven’t seen him in a while.”
Definitely a good look, and also an adorable one. So how would you caption the above pic? And be sure to check out the cute one below and let us know what you think. The Roc is in the building!
Add sports agent to Jay-Z’s already diverse resume. The rapper-turned-entrepreneur has now officially become a licensed sports agent for NBA and MLB players. And he can work for his newly created sports agency, Roc Nation Sports.
Roc Nation Sports spokesman Ron Berkowitz confirmed to ESPN that, as of this week, Jay-Z is now licensed to work as an NBA agent. Juan Perez, president of Roc Nation Sports, has also been certified with the National Basketball Players Association. (Perez and Jay-Z are longtime business partners. In addition to the sports agency, they co-own the 40/40 Club.)
MLB Players Association spokesman Greg Bouris further confirmed the news to ESPN.
There might bee a hold up for Jay-Z to actually start working as an agent. The hip-hop mogul had not sold his small ownership share (less than one percent) of the Brooklyn Nets, reports ESPN. Jay-Z will have to give up his share of the team in order to sign players because owners of NBA teams cannot represent players.
Despite this Jay-Z already has clients. According to the sports outlet (and us), Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is expected to sign onto Jay-Z’s agency. The NBA player reportedly informed his current agent, Rob Pelinka, that he would sign with Jay-Z. Jay-Z’s firm has also signed New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and ex- Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. Also in the works is New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who last week accepted a one-year free-agent tender offer of $2.879 million.
All these signings may spell trouble for Jay-Z. NFL Players Association officials are looking into if Jay-Z, who is still not certified with the NFL, violated the union’s “runner rule.” According to this rule, anyone who is not certified cannot recruit players. So Jay may have been a little overzealous, but something tells us they’re not going to make too much of a stink about it.
This roster Jay-Z is putting together is becoming chock full o’ big names and at a rapid pace.
NBA superstar and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant has ended his relationship with Rob Pelinka of Landmark Sports Agency and is reportedly about to sign with Roc Nation Agency, according to USA Today.
Pelinka released the following statement regarding the split:
“We are honored and blessed to have worked on behalf of Kevin, for a brief period of time,” Pelinka said. “He is an amazing person and athlete, and we are proud of our work and service towards advancing his brand in a manner that reflects the mutual qualities we share with Kevin. We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors.”
Durant moving to Roc Nation could be an interesting move. One could make the argument that he doesn’t need an agency with a famous owner because he already has huge endorsement deals (Nike, Sprint, Gatorade, Panini, General Electric and 2K Sports). However, he’s still not as globally known as he could be and aligning himself with Jay-Z could be good for him, as Jay is known pretty much everywhere. I suppose for Durant it helps that Jay is one of his favorite rappers.
It should be noted that while Roc Nation is a “boutique” agency, they are partnered with CAA, a huge sports agency, so they would definitely have help in making his brand even bigger.
We’ll see who they pick up next. Maybe if they definitely add Durant to the roster, it’ll be leverage for Jay to lure Lebron James from his agent who is also a childhood friend (which I doubt because James makes outside money from that agency).
We’ve Got Our Eyes On You: Jay-Z & Roc Nation Agency Under Investigation For Signing NFL Rookie Geno Smith
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Agency is picking up clients every time you turn around. But he recently gained a client in the NFL and that is raising many eyebrows.
Geno Smith, a rookie quarterback picked up by the New York Jets during the NFL draft, recently signed to the Roc Nation Agency. The signing immediately raised eyebrows and there are reports suggesting that this was not on the “up and up.”
According to Yahoo! Sports, Smith almost immediately fired his former agents, Jeff Nalley and Erik Burkhardt of Select Sports Group, after he fell out of the first round of the draft and was selected 39th overall. Players do sometimes part ways with agents when things like this happen, thinking that they aren’t doing their jobs. However, its what happened next that has Jay- at the center of yet another investigation.
Smith then signed with Kimberly Miale, a lawyer who only has two “B list” sports clients. This is a little odd because although Smith may have dropped out of the first round, he is still considered a major force to be reckoned with during the 2013-2014 NFL season; in fact, he’s fighting for the starting quarterback position against Mark Sanchez. So one would think that he might want a stronger agent, right?
Representatives of the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) have decided to investigate to see if Jay-Z was directly involved in negotiations with Smith. In 2012, the NFLPA banned the use of “runners,” which are people without appropriate credentials used by agencies to recruit potential clients. Jay-Z doesn’t have any of those credentials and many are wondering if Miale was basically used as a smokescreen while Jay is the real negotiator.
Adding fuel to the fire is John Thornton, an advisor to Smith. He said that he was in the meetings and “Jay-Z connected with him on so many levels.” Of course, he says was misquoted.
A rep for the Jigga man says he was not involved in negotiations and was in London while all the meetings were happening.
It’s obvious why many athletes, especially a young rooke like Geno Smith, would want to sign with Roc Nation Agency. Jay-Z has crossed over into so many facets of business and is able to gain marketing and sponsorship for athletes as soon as they want to diversify. He’s still totally connected to the music world and many find that life appealing. Plus, he’s still seemingly a really cool guy that people like to be around.
It’ll be interesting to see what the outcome will be of the investigation. There’s been no word on what the fine or punishment is if it is found that Jay-Z and Roc Nation agency broke the NFLPA rules.
Wasn’t he just walking around Cuba celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary? Oh well. Business is business.
Jay Z’s Roc Nation has announced a multi-year global deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) such that Roc Nation will run as its own, standalone label. That means albums from Jay Z, Rihanna, and other artists will be released under the UMG umbrella.
“Not only does this agreement provide a dynamic platform for Roc Nation’s exciting emerging artists, it extends our relationship with the extraordinary Rihanna and represents a homecoming for JAY Z-a brilliant artist and entrepreneur, who has been a creative cornerstone of our company,” said Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG in a press release statement. We might not notice too much difference, but on the back end, it means backing from a huge company.
Meanwhile, we’re also hearing that the Made In America Festival will be returning to Philadelphia August 31 to September 1. We see a trip to Philly in our future! Last year, acts included Kanye West, Pearl Jam, and Drake.
From The Grio
NEW YORK (AP) — Robinson Cano is switching agents from Scott Boras to a new company formed by musician Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and CAA Sports.
Cano will be represented in baseball matters by CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen. The New York Yankees second baseman is making $15 million this season and can become a free agent at the end of the World Series.
While the Yankees usually wait for contracts to expire before negotiating new agreements with players, they have said they hope to reach a deal with the 30-year-old Cano while he remains under their control.
Read more at TheGrio.com.
“I Never Thought It Was A Relationship” Rita Ora Says She Didn’t Take Rob Kardashian Romance As Serious As Him
Remember a few months back when we told you about Rob Kardashian going bananas on Twitter about Rita Ora after their split as a romantic item? The rant was pretty disrespectful whether the claims he put out there about her were true or not (since adults shouldn’t expose people’s sexual lives on social media…or at least they shouldn’t), and included him saying she slept around on him with 20 guys, and ended it with such statements as, “How can a woman who is so busy trying to start her own career have time to be with so many dudes all while in a relationship?!”
“I never actually thought it was a relationship in all honesty. I never mentally defined it as boyfriend/girlfriend. When I split up with him, I said, ‘It’s because I’m never there, I don’t know how to do it.’ That’s all I said, then … the rest happened. He obviously felt that creating myths was the way forward.”
“When you are involved with someone for a while and they decide to express their feelings to the public, well, that’s not my personal way of therapy but I guess everyone takes split-ups differently. You should have to sit an exam before you go on Twitter. To see if you’re mentally stable.”
We’ve heard countless stories of Grammy winning, commercially successful artists going bankrupt. Remember Toni Braxton and TLC? Well, all of that happens because most of the time in the music industry, artists don’t own the music they write. The record companies do. Well Beyonce and Jay-Z have made sure that won’t happen to them, not like it ever would have anyway.
Earlier this week, Jay-Z inked a publishing administration deal with Warner/Chappell from all his music from 2008 until…he retires…for real this time. Roc Nation was also signed to a worldwide publishing deal.
The next day, Warner announced that Beyonce would receive a similar deal. Except Beyonce will have publishing writes on all of her future songs, including those on her upcoming album. Beyonce had this to say in the press release announcing the deal:
“It’s an honor to join Warner/Chappell Music and to continue working with my friend Jon Platt. I trust his vision and admire his professionalism, and I look forward to our partnership.”
This is a dream for any artist who writes their own music. It’s truly a mark of independence. Remember, Prince had a falling out with Warner, saying that creating music under their label was like being a slave. Though it seems terribly unfair that companies would be able to make money from an artists’ work, it’s standard protocol. Now, Beyonce, Jay-Z and members of the Roc Nation firm will make money anytime the music included in this contract is used or played anywhere. Talk about power plays!
Just in time for Black History Month, Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has announced that it is releasing Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, presented by BET Networks at select AMC locations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Atlanta on April 5, 2013.
This documentary of Angela Davis was directed and written by Shola Lynch, whose previous work includes Chisholm ’72- Unbought & Unbossed. According to a press release for this film, Davis was inspired by Chisholm ’72 to “speak to young people in the 21st century and to give them a sense of what it means to feel collectively powerful and capable of changing the world.”
Jada Pinkett Smith also worked on Free Angela as an executive producer, with Overbrook Entertainment and Jay Z for Roc Nation and a number of other names in the entertainment industry. The film was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival a few months ago.
Angela Davis has been hailed as a political symbol and prominent activist in the 1960s for her involvement in the Civil Rights movement and affiliation with the Black Panthers. This film features Angela Davis’ own personal account of what led to her imprisonment. The story focuses on Davis as a young professor and social justice activist who is somehow implicated in a kidnapping attempt and a shootout that leaves four people dead. Davis ultimately lands on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. She also became a global cause, with people around the world calling her a “political prisoner” and demanding her release. The documentary coincides with the 40th anniversary of Davis’ acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy.
Fun fact: Davis became such a celebrated cause that she was the inspiration for a song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono — “Angela” — and another by The Rolling Stones — “Sweet Black Angel.” IMDB also reminds us that Davis ran for VP of the US in 1980 and 1984 under the Communist Party umbrella.
After the jump, we’ve got the trailer. Will you watch this movie?