Long before working with top music labels and interviewing your favorite celebrities and entertainers, Rueben Wood was destined for success.
At an early age, the young entrepreneur used his allowance money to purchase candy from the dollar store and sell it in school for a higher margin.
This innate ability to recognize opportunities eventually led him to create SOM magazine in 2012 and create a platform to highlight up-and-coming artists.
Today, he’s the owner of SOM Media networks which consists of several blogs, magazines, a radio station, and a TV broadcast network.
Check out our interview with Rueben and read his journey below.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. SOM consists of many different branches, from the magazine to the radio show that you host. What is SOM working on now?
What we’re working on now, just to kind of give you an exclusive, is a smart TV channel. It’s going to be all of what we’re doing with media – in one. From the television show, audio broadcast to a lot of other digital content.
We’ve been working on a lot of unreleased content over that past few months. You can expect content with a lot of major music artists and celebrities showcasing what they’re doing. Overall, we want to bring a better experience to the people who are fans of them. It should launch towards the end of July.
You originally started off as a rapper and then you switched to journalism in 2012 when you began SOM magazine. What made you want to make the transition into journalism?
From my time doing music, I’ve always noticed that artists needed more help.
So I wanted to make a transition to media to create a bigger platform that artists could utilize. So that was my initial drive for switching from the spotlight to more behind-the-scenes.
Did you have a vision of where you wanted to take SOM Magazine?
I thought that if I could do something for the independent community, then it will eventually trickle into the major artist community. I was following a “radio format” and seeing how I could get artists connected with DJs and get more spins in clubs. With the event we’re doing for BET Experience with Spinstatz in a few days, that’s what my goal was to do – connect artists with more fans – real and organic fans.
What steps were able to help you in getting more momentum and building credibility behind SOM magazine?
I would definitely say it was the support from major artists and their willingness to share the interviews – that support was very important. Also the support of publicists. I have to give credit where credit is due. Having working relationships with publicists have made my journey and career a lot smoother.
Did you make those connections while you were pursuing music as an artist or did you develop them from after forming SOM Magazine?
I actually started making a lot more connections as a media correspondent. I specifically remember trying to get certain people to get on my songs as an artist and it was tough. When I had the magazine, it was a different story. It changed the dynamic of a lot of conversations with people.
Which skills, whether soft or hard, do you feel helped you in getting where you are today?
I would definitely say time management and being ambitious. It’s easy to give up in the entertainment industry and get overwhelmed. It’s easy to have a false perspective of things. I say this to anyone who is an entrepreneur – set clear expectations for yourself.
One time I went to an event with Gary Vee that he invited me to and I was really excited to meet him because I’ve always looked up to him. We had a conversation and one of the biggest things that stood out was his consistency. He always put into action everything he said he was going to do. He sets goals for himself that he is going to execute. His goals are clear. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or trying to make it in the entertainment industry, set clear expectations and goals for yourself.
You’ve been able to interview a lot of talented artists and celebrities like Lil Baby and Keri Hilson, which interview is the one you’re most proud of?
I would say my interview with Mark Ruffalo.
I got invited to an event for a foundation he’s a part of. He works with different communities to find new ways for renewable energy sources. So I met him and had the opportunity to ask him about his favorite Marvel movie.
He paused to think about it, but couldn’t answer it because he considered them all his babies haha.
It was one of the top interviews I’ve ever done. Not just because I like Marvel, but because he’s an actor who’s been doing this for years and he’s still so humble. For me, I go off of people’s energy. That dictates a lot of how the conversation goes.
Who would you say is on your dream list of people you want to interview next?
I probably need to come out to California for some time for this to happen, but I want to interview some known actors and filmmakers. One that I hope to do soon is Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford because I’m a Star Wars junkie. I want to interview people that have made an impact on society through their work.
I can imagine you being a busy person with everything you do. How would you say your day-to-day is for the most part?
My day is pretty hectic for the most part. I try to find some time to myself to be able to pray and find a time for peace.
If I do have some time to myself, maybe it’s on Saturdays. But it depends if there is an event or if I’m interviewing someone at a radio station.
I know helping artists grow is something you’re passionate about. What advice would you give an artist who is just starting out to better position themselves to be successful?
The best advice that I would give is to invest in themselves.
There are a lot of artists who are very talented, but they may not have the budget to promote themselves. I also see artists who are doing great work and have to give it up because they’re in a situation where they can’t pay the bills.
I always tell independent artists to keep their day job until things take off. Your livelihood needs to come before your dreams. You can be ambitious but you need to make sure that you are being taken care of. Have some type of stable income coming in because it will help your growth.
In closing, what’s something you want people to know about some SOM?
I’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities and artists, but I’m just getting started. I still have a lot more to go.
Tune into an episode of SOM Talk Live and have some laughs. SOM is one of those platforms that will just grow on you.
Connect with Rueben and follow his journey here: @realruebenwood
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.