Darone Bowers: CEO and Founder of Landmark Entertainment
I Got Next! It's good to see someone making moves in the music industry that's grinding to be an EXECUTIVE and not just another swagger messenger. A true gentleman and a man of faith.
Darone Bowers is something of a maverick. He has created his own path and formed his firm, Landmark Entertainment. Landmark Entertainment does artist management, creative and marketing consulting and artist development. Darone has consolidated his experience from working at major labels and publishing companies into a career where he calls his own shots and shares his expertise with his clients. Landmark was formed almost 5 years ago but has made major strides in the last two years.
Darone is co-manager of Grammy award winning producer and engineer Phil Scott III (P3), songwriter\producer Dem Jointz, and artists Ricardo Parker and Marcus Anthony. He’s also on the hunt for the next hot producer (more on this later).
How did you get on the path to the music industry?
“I can remember when I was 9 years old, I was already interested in the music business. It all started when I would be hanging with my mom as she cleaned house or cooked. Before she began she would lay out all of her albums next to the stereo that she wanted to listen to. You know, Luther albums, or whoever. At the time, I wasn’t allowed to play video games during the week so to keep myself entertained I would read all the credits on the liner of each record. I mean top to bottom... logos, musicians, writers, publishing info, vocalists, everything. I became fascinated with this information and how it all tied to the music I was hearing. From there, I started reading Billboard magazine regularly. I mean, I was like 9, 10 and 11 years old. I loved learning the behind the scenes information about the music industry. That’s what got me interested in doing real industry work. Got me listening to and dissecting the songs that comprised hit records or albums. In all genres. I went to school in south central Los Angeles and I was the only kid listening to full Motley Crue –Dr. Feel Good album, the entire Nirvana-Nevermind album, Billy Idol, etc. It wasn’t so much about the music but more about learning why people were loving them so much.
Were you ever a musician? I mean, sometimes that’s the initial spark that leads to a variety of industry jobs whether they’re music related or not.
In high school, I actually played in marching band and jazz band so my ear got more educated and gave me a different vantage point to appreciate the music from. I actually went to Southern University on a band scholarship and kept playing music there and at Northridge on another band scholarship. I continued until I was actually working in the music industry. By then I had my desire, my ear and my gut instincts. I was ready to transform from the little kid reading Billboard magazine’s Executive Round Table column to being a music executive.
How long has Landmark Entertainment been around?
Landmark established almost 5 years ago
OK… what aspects of the industry do you service?
Mainly music. I do artist management, I consult in artist development and music publishing, and lately I’ve been involved in a lot of project set up. For instance, next week I will be starting work with the NAACP on the Image Awards.
Cool. So, what artists do you manage currently and how did these relationships develop?
I manage Ricardo Parker, a rap artist who has a new single coming out soon featuring E-40 called “Wavy”. We shoot their video next month. I also manage Marcus Anthony, a vocalist from Jamie Foxx’s old label, who is now independent and working on new music. I also co-manage a couple of producers. I work with Phil Scott, III (aka P3). He has a Grammy for engineering Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” debut record. He also co-produced the new Kelly Price album “Sing, Pray, Love – Vol. 1” that’s hot right now. I work with producer and songwriter Dem Jointz. He’s worked with Rihanna, Sevyn Streeter, Marsha Ambrosious and Brandi among many, many others.
All these guys I’ve known for a long time even before I managed them. So it’s safe to say our relationships transcend business. It’s a trust factor and comfort level we established early on that makes business work now.
What’s a typical day for you at Landmark Entertainment?
I’m up early and, if I’m working from home, I’m online. I’m checking email, reading all the music industry sites, blogs, mixtape sites, hip-hop, R&B and rock sites. Just soaking up everything industry related. I’m on some industry sites for the business and administration side vs. the artist side. I try to be up on everything that’s happening that day. Every Wednesday I’m checking SoundScan, every Thursday I’m checking the Hot 100. I’m staying up on new releases, radio adds to their playlists, what’s trending in different radio formats. I always look at charts from the bottom up. Nine times out of ten I already know what’s number 1 or in the Top Ten. But at the bottom you can see what’s getting or about to be hot. The next trend or hit record.
I interact with publicists daily. They may have info on new TV shows or movies coming out that need music. I may have meetings scheduled on any given day and\or I’m stopping by the studio to see what’s happening with current projects. It’s all a hustle I’ve gotta stay on top of.
What’s in the chamber for Landmark Entertainment? What’s on the calendar for artists under your fold?
Ricardo’s finishing his new project. His first project we released last year with a lead single featuring Scarface. It was received well and we’re looking forward to his lead single featuring E-40. We’re wrapping up the last few features for his album before dropping it this fall. Marcus Anthony’s new video for his new single drops within the next month. It’s called “Throw This Money” and will be followed by his album at the top of the year. Phil… well, he co-produced Kelly Price’s whole album that dropped June 4th. I’m preeeeetty positive there will be a Grammy nomination announced in December. In fact I KNOW there will be some nominations with a record that had a Top 5 single from it. Dem Jointz just went back in with Sevyn Streeter so they have another record together on her new album. He’ll return on Marsha Ambrosious’ next record to do more songs with her and Landmark Entertainment itself is looking to work with new producers. I’m looking for some young, fresh guys. To be specific, I’m looking for hot producers to develop. Not necessarily to manage but more so for development and consulting. I’m taking solicited and unsolicited submitted to my email address, email@example.com.
Just to review the resume, what companies and projects have you worked for?
I started off at BMG where I interned in Marketing. That lead me to working in promotions at Arista where I worked on Outkast’s “Stankonia” album, Pink’s “Miss Understood” album, I mean… I worked on a lot of groundbreaking albums.. Faith’s “Faithfully” with Bad Boy. From there I went to work for Universal Music Group where I worked in Trademark Law. We were responsible for clearing and administering licensing for all major labels, artist’s names and trademarks. From there I went to Warner-Chappel Music and learned the publishing side of the business. I worked on Lex Lugar’s publishing deal, The Dream, Timbaland and others. That’s when I got to know the language of publishing deals and what people are looking for when they are seeking producers and writers. The last company I worked for was Imani Entertainment Group, a smaller publishing company formed by the guy who managed Nicki Minaj and Keyshia Cole. I helped put together his entire publishing company. He had producers that worked with Lil’ Wayne, Pink, Beyonce’, Loyd, Polo Tha Don, Tank… some of everybody. Helping build out this company convinced me that I could and SHOULD be doing this for myself.
Sounds like quite the trail you’ve taken.
I’ve been blessed for sure. It hasn’t always been easy, of course. I’ve just went hard the entire time. I’ve been laid off several times, I’ve been burnt by people I never thought would, all of that. On the flip side, I’ve been lifted and I’ve gotten a lot of guidance from a lot of great people. This business, it’s in my heart, it’s in my life. I’ve tried to quit it a few times but I’ve always realized that this is what I really want to do and where I want to be. My wife, Corliss, has had my back on this crazy journey and that saying “behind every great man is a strong woman” is very true.
How long you been married?
Been married 9 years this year but we’ve been together off and on for 20 years. Since 12th grade. Two kids too, a son 17 and a daughter 9.
It’s good to see someone making moves in the music industry that’s grinding to be an EXECUTIVE and not just another swagger messenger. A true gentleman and a man of faith. Stay focused D!!