The Life & Career of A Bad Boy A&R Turned Entrepreneur
by Sheryl Nance-Nash
Conrad Dimanche always had a love for music. Rhymes, licks, raps and rifts filled his mind, though he ran his own barbershop. He invited DJs to spin records at a club next to the barbershop in Queens. He was more interested in the music at the parties then the parties themselves. His interest in music intensified so much so that he started to manage a few local artists in Queens while running the barbershop. Realizing he would never be satisfied until he pursued his musical dreams, he put down his cutting shears and eyed Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Russell Simmons, pioneers he admired, not only for their musicianship, but their ability to be creative and business savvy. He wanted to emulate their success.
Dimanche got his first break when Bad Boy Records executive Harve Pierre brought him into the fold as an unpaid intern. He would climb from intern in 1998 to senior director of A&R for Bad Boy Records. Though he left Bad Boy in 2007, he worked as a consultant for them during 2008, and rekindled his entrepreneurial fire, first with PMPworldwide.com, an online music related internet company and this past December, he launched The Firm, his A&R consulting company.
The Atlanta Post caught up with Dimanche to discuss his heyday at Bad Boy, his new ventures and the music business.
What was it like starting out in the business?
I worked as an unpaid intern for over a year which was tough. I was 25, had a family and couldn’t pay my bills. I did not skip one step of the process in learning the music business, often to the detriment of my personal life. I would have $1 hot dogs from the corner vendor and the free hot chocolate in the studio was also a meal for me. I paid my dues in full working numerous jobs over the past decade before being named as senior A&R director.
You have said that Diddy was one of your idols. What was it like to become one of his go-to guys?
It was great, hard and exciting at the same time. Everyone was on the same page. We wanted to win. We had each other’s back. Puff is a hard worker, it takes a lot just to keep up with him. I worked 80-100 hours, six or seven days a week. It was trying at times. I learned to micromanage a lot at one time. I was in charge of 20 artists, which can be taxing trying to manage that many people. But I was hungry, ambitious, I wanted to get things right. It’s something to go from nothing to turning out hit records on the radio.