Mike Boyd Interview on the CEO Morning Show/ Producer Grind 2.0 Youtube
This week, Mike Boyd joined CEODylan in the CEO Morning Show and shared invaluable relationship-building and strategy advice for producers and artists.
His come-up story resembles the grind and hustle that Gary Vee often preaches to the masses.
He reminiscences to CEODylan about the days working six jobs in college and saving money to move to New York, with dreams of becoming a presence in the music industry.
It was thanks to his existing relationship with A.J., the accomplished entrepreneur’s younger brother, that allowed him to befriend Vaynerchuk and become one of his trusted confidants and ear to the streets.
Below are the key takeaways from his chat with CEODylan.
Making New Connections in The Music Industry
I’d go to concerts alone and show up early. There would always be some guy or some girl wearing cool clothes or wearing something that you wear if you’re in the know. I would walk up to them and be like, “Hey, are you with the event? Do you work with the artist?” I would do those icebreakers and make connections.
I would also email people in advance and ask to interview their artists. They would put me on their list and I would come in as media. Just find how you can provide value, apply it and people will start bringing you out to stuff.
That’s how I made a lot of early connections in my life. I was meeting record label people, managers, A&Rs, booking agents, lawyers — I was meeting everyone in an artist’s team.
I used to tour manage and show up before the show started, I was there with the artist doing soundcheck. I’m always in the crowd when no one else is in the crowd.
Important people often show up early.
Sleeping in Gary Vee’s Office to Maximize Time
The reason I did that was because I was doing interviews. When Gary hired me to be his music relations guy I had to figure out how to get close to artists, so I did interviews to get close to them.
I would do research and [gain] knowledge by watching other interviews they did. I’d watch a really good interview and listen to the answer, but a lot of times the interviewer wouldn’t ask a good follow-up question. So during my interviews, I would ask the question that wasn’t asked.
I interviewed Wiz Khalifa once after one of his shows in Brooklyn. Now our offices are in Manhattan and I lived near Harlem so in order to get home and then back to the office, it would take too long.
So I said, “Fuck it. I’ll sleep in the office and upload my video first thing in the morning.” It was 2009 so Wiz Khalifa wasn’t as big as he is now, but there were other people there interviewing him and I wanted to be the first person to upload my interview [from that show].
That’s why I slept in the office, it was just to maximize my time.
Leveraging Hip-Hop at Lunch to Build Relationships with Artists
I did interviews [for my blog Hip-Hop at Lunch] and would do a lot of research [on every artist], so much that after most interviews they would be like, “Damn, I really fuck with you.”
To this day, if you were to tell Future, “Yo, I know Mike Boyd.” He would say that I was his number one supporter from day one.
Young Thug too. When I see Thug, it’s always love because I put together Young Thug and PeeWee Longway’s “Loaded” video. I was just around all of these artists at the beginning of their careers. They never forget you when you’re at the beginning.
How to Nurture New Relationships
Always communicate. Let’s say you’re a producer and you meet an artist in the studio and you want to build a relationship. When they post something cool on Instagram, you should give it a “like.”
Be humble, comment on their posts and just show love. Always show value anyway you can, I think showing value is everything.
Add value like DKIRK watching [the stream]. He does my Monday to Monday Podcast graphics. He’s doing graphics right now for FBG, Future’s record label, and he’s not charging them out the ass or anything, but he’s adding value. He’s now kind of part of the clique in a way.
Try to Connect the Dots, Don’t be Selfish
Connect the dots whenever you can, don’t always see it as a win for you.
I go talk to him and introduce myself and I tell him, “This is Big Sean’s producer, you guys need to work together.”
[Meek] kinda messed with [Hip-Hop at Lunch] already because I was so early on with everyone. From that introduction, they both ended up doing the song “Amen” with Drake. I didn’t get anything out of that, but Key Wane will never forget it.
Connecting the dots is big. You don’t have to be selfish all of the time.
How to Make Sure You’re Not Being Annoying When Building Relationships
I think when you are not bringing value then it becomes annoying. Like if some kid hit me every day but they were adding value or giving me good feedback, it doesn’t annoy me.
One guy I know, he claps at a lot of my Instagram stories. That doesn’t bother me, I know he’s watching and I appreciate it.
A lot of times I’m with Gary when he does the Breakfast Club or Power 106 and I’m in the room with him, and he will literally look at me and mention my name.
You can never add too much value.
Gary always says to realize if it’s a bigger win for you [or] the other person. Like people tell Gary all of the time, “I got a free beat for you.” Just because it’s free, it doesn’t mean that it’s valuable.
Me using your beat on my platform, I’m giving you the win. If you’re trying to charge DaBaby to buy a beat from you, it’s crazy because DaBaby using your beat, that would give you a win. You gotta put it in perspective.
Thoughts on Taking a Leap in Your Career
I would definitely recommend it, but the earlier you start the better. Once you get older, you have rent [to pay] or have kids. It [becomes] harder to make that leap. Do whatever you need to do to make it — otherwise you don’t make it.
Thoughts on Supporting a Local Artist for Free
It’s like sleeping on the floor or your car. Some people don’t want to [do that] and some people don’t want to produce for free. If you were in Charlotte and you were hanging out with DaBaby before he got famous and he’s like, “Yo, I have no money, but I love your beat.”
What are you gonna do? Are you gonna say “no” and [ask for] $300?
There is a way to split proceeds. You can do a beat for free and then make money off the streams. It’s just about investing in yourself.
I know some producers may not want to do that for free, but if you’re not at least open to the idea, you might close doors on yourself. Not everyone has the money to pay you, so a free beat is adding value.
I do marketing advice for free. Mike WILL Made-It used to call me every day and I’d brainstorm with him. I never charged him a dollar. You gotta be about that life a bit.
I understand everyone needs to get paid and everyone needs to pay the bills but you also have to make sacrifices sometimes if you want the bigger long-game win.
Only Do Stuff for Free if You Really Believe in an Artist
If [an artist was asking for help] who I didn’t believe in, of course I would charge.
For example, Mike WILL Made-It asked me to connect him with Big K.R.I.T.. He was asking me to make moves with him. I was like, “I believe in you, bro. You’re dope, of course you should work with K.R.I.T., you should be able to do all of that.”
Maybe I’ve left money on the table, but those are my relationships which I value more than money.
When a Producer Should Get a Manager
I think a producer needs a good manager who’s going to be the one networking [for them] like I do with Richie Souf. I put Meg Thee Stallion in a Super Bowl commercial this year. I know her people really well like I know DaBaby’s manager well and A$AP Ferg’s. If they ever needed a beat, I can give them one of Richie’s beats.
You don’t need a manager until you need someone to manage something for you. But if you have a good team around you, that’s invaluable.
Let’s say you’re a producer starting out and you don’t know anyone but you have two friends who want to be your managers and they believe in you, make them your managers. Some people don’t even get managers as a producer, they just get a lawyer. Some producers get really far with just a lawyer.
Tips on Vetting Potential Managers
What me and Richie Souf did when we started [working together] was sign a [contract] saying that I would be his manager for three months. We worked together for three months and it went well so we signed another one for six months.
It’s like giving someone a trial period. That way when the three months are up, no one’s feelings are hurt if you have to [walk away].
Who You Should Add to Your Team
Just a hustler. Like I have Gary for example. Sometimes we’re in a meeting together with an artist and Gary, because he has a lot of love and respect for me, might say, “Do you need any beats? Do you fuck with Richie Souf?” He’ll just give me a dope co-sign.
I think the more people you have around you that are gonna sing your praises, the better.
How a Producer Can Leverage TikTok
I would take people’s TikTok videos and add a dope production to them and then DM [the creator] and see if they fuck with it. Maybe they start shouting you out and using your beats in their TikToks. That’s what I would do to add value.
Obviously you’re not gonna go straight to Charli who’s the most popular person on TikTok, so you might go after [someone] who has a million followers or five hundred thousand and give them your beat.
DM them on Instagram or post on your page and tag them and say something like, “I took your dance and I made it with my beat. Maybe I can make some original beats you can dance to?”
What a Producer Could do to Create Content on TikTok
If you’re a producer, you can make beats and do tutorials on TikTok.
You don’t have to wait for Genius to hit you up to do a tutorial. Become that guy or girl that makes beat tutorials on TikTok and make a name for yourself by adding value.
Someone down the line might give you credit in an interview because you taught them how to make a beat.
Recommendations on Doing Paid Campaigns with TikTok Influencers
Sometimes it’s more powerful to get 10 small people to do your dance than one big person. It’s the same thing for Instagram and TV commercials.
If I were a brand, I would go after Ronsocold to support my brand before going after Drake. If I were a shoe company, I’d be sending Ron shoes. You know he’s going to wear it onstage when he’s doing Rolling Loud.
Thoughts on Artists Paying to Perform
I was talking to someone about paying to play shows and I know everyone’s like, “Don’t pay to be onstage.” But if you’re that good and don’t have any videos of you performing on the internet, pay someone to be onstage and have your friend record it and put it on Instagram.
You’re gonna get booked if you’re that good. If you’re bad and then you pay to be on stage, it’s not gonna help your career.
Importance of Recognizing Where There is Attention Online
Any platform that you’re willing to learn inside and out is a good thing.
If you learn every single thing about Twitch and then you start doing [videos] on Twitch and promote yourself, you could [get big]. Gary’s going all-in on Twitch, because why not? Let’s see if it works.
It’s also about seeing where the attention is. If everyone’s off Snapchat, go be the best person on it. Let’s say Gunna is on there, he might be the number one person on Snapchat in the world because everyone else is [on a different platform].
Every day you might see your best friend, your mom and Gunna. Maybe on Instagram you might not have seen those posts from Gunna.
Mike Boyd’s answers were condensed and edited for clarity.