Rickman Warren: The business of music
Back in prep school, Rickman Warren collected sea shells from his parents' Lucea beach-side hotel to make trinket boxes, which he later sold to his schoolmates for a profit. He didn't need to earn money out of necessity, however, Warren was born with an innate entrepreneurial spirit. One wonders what would inspire a young child to be so eager to make his own money, when at that age, most young boys were more concerned about their marble collection and riding bikes. But Warren was a child unlike others; he read Tell Me Why children encyclopedias for fun, and considered reading science books as adventures. No doubt his parents, Rickman Sr and Hyacinth, should be credited for encouraging their children's love for reading at a young age.
In high school, Warren earned money from an unregulated computer business. He would then reinvest the proceeds to acquire other computer-related products, one of which was a prized CD burner. Back then, Warren was one of the first persons in his neighbourhood with a burner and a file-sharing platform. Like he did before with his trinket boxes, Warren started selling his burnt CDs in high school. The CDs were doing very well, and to meet the high demand, Warren needed to hire 'street teams' to help sell them. He was now a businessman in high school. He soon 'set up shop', so to speak, by building a studio on his parents' property, where he began constructing remixes from a variety of musical genres for sound systems in the west end. After supplying various stores with CDs, Warren decided to register and launch his own official company, Jamplified Records.
"My favourite place in the world is in the studio," he told Outlook. However, while his parents encouraged his entrepreneurial spirit, they still insisted that he obtain a degree. During a stern lecture from his mother and older brother, Richard, Warren decided to pursue a career incorporating his passion for music. He received a bachelor of science degree in entertainment business from Full Sail University, in Orlando, Florida.
During university, Warren realised his aptitude for marketing, when he won the Course Directors' Award for Marketing. Today, he is very grateful for that lecture from his mother and older brother, because he wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
Trevor Forrest - The Mentor
After university, Warren went to work at Carib Craft studio in Orlando, where he met head engineer, Trevor Forrest, who would soon become a lifelong mentor. "Trevor began mentoring me and showing me the ropes and how the Jamaican music industry works in a whole other way than mainstream media - different from what I had been taught in university," he noted. Forrest introduced Warren to many influential people in the industry including Niko Marzouca. This introduction lead Warren to the prestigious, internationally acclaimed Circle House Studio, in Miami, where he embarked upon a year-long paid internship. When asked what he gained from this internship, he told Outlook: "Doing an internship teaches one a different type of humility. It also gave me the opportunity to see the entire operations of a well-run, world-class studio, from a business and musical perspective. Being in a studio like this outside of the Jamaican locale allowed me to understand, on a practical level, how the music business works internationally."
Warren told Outlook: "I thought I knew what hard work was until I watched how DJ Khaled redefined working hard." During his internship at Circle House, Warren observed DJ Khaled's relentless work ethic and the prelude to his fame. "This guy left the radio station after being live for hours and would pull up to Circle House in his shiny Ferrari, then head straight into the studio to start producing tracks for hours, only stopping to eat. After he was done at the studio, he and his friends would head to the strip clubs. However, it wasn't strip clubs for them, it was work. There, he would test out the new unreleased tracks and see the crowd's response. It was DJ Khaled's unique way to keep his ears to the streets. Then it was back to the radio station in the morning. I wondered if he slept at all. That was when I learnt what the true definition of hard work really was. This is why some entertainers are so successful, they work harder than anyone else."
After his internship and a brief stint as head engineer at a black gospel recording studio, Warren returned home to Jamaica.
"I wanted to create music that my grandmother, Mamma Shakes, could listen to and my grandkids in years to come will be able to listen to. I want my music to stand the test of time. I like positivity, and I understand how much influence music has over people, especially in a country like Jamaica, where music is such a big part of who we are. I feel like we have enough negativity going (on) around us, so I want to use my powers for good. As a result, I'm drawn to roots reggae music."
Through networking and learning the ropes, Warren was introduced to Tony Rebel, who later introduced him to many influential people in the industry. Warren soon built a reputation for his professionalism and his passion for music in the industry, where artistes and fellow producers began working with him. One such was musical legend, Donovan Germain, head of Penthouse Records, revered for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music, and credited for launching the careers of musical greats such as Buju Banton. Joint collaborations with Jamplifed and Penthouse Records produced Queen Ifrica's chart-topping Far Away.
"I was busy doing work on Jamplified and I wanted things to move faster with the sales of the beats I was creating and wondered how I could make use of the Internet. Luckily for me, Trevor was there again, having himself moved back to Jamaica as well. Trevor, a prodigy in his own right, knows a great deal about everything. He taught me about Google AdWords and Internet marketing strategies. He showed me how I could bring more traffic to my website, and sell the beats online." Now it was up to Warren to get up to speed in the new world of Internet marketing, and his love for reading gave him the advantage he needed. He pored over Internet marketing books. "I got caught up to speed quickly, and after much success, fellow business owners started taking notice and they were asking me to help them, so I started doing Internet marketing for them and that's how Lucralux began."
Today, Lucralux is a full-service marketing agency which offers a variety of marketing consultative services. "One of my favourite subjects in university was psychology, and it's part of why I love marketing and part of why I'm so good at it. When we design marketing campaigns, I'm always trying to figure out the 'whys' of campaigns. I always like to figure out how people's minds work: what makes people tick, what motives people would have to make any decisions they make. This also helps me in music the emotion that a certain song may evoke, the reasons some may like a song, and why a song will resonate with the audience. When we design campaigns, there is so much to consider. It's easier to structure a campaign as you know what colours to use, what time people are most likely to make a particular type of purchase, and it's easier to write headlines when you know what's in it for the persons."
On the horizon for Jamplified, are further collaborations with AndrÈ Chevolleau and JonFx and their new artiste Ichechi - a reggae R&B artiste, whose music is reminiscent of India Arie with a reggae pop twist. When asked about his hopes for Jamplified, Warren tells Outlook, "We see opportunities for more women to shine in the music industry, and we'd like to play our part in making this become a reality. Some of the songs that we have produced and are producing now, are real contenders for Grammy and Billboard award nominations."
Rickman Warren Jr has effectively merged his two passions - music and marketing. Throughout his life, he has surrounded himself with the right people and doesn't take their advice lightly. He has clearly retained the many lessons he's been taught over the years and utilises each of them from effective time management to being a hard worker. Today, no matter how much he's learnt, he is always actively seeking to learn more and improve upon himself.
List your top 5 books:
1. Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.
2. Getting Things Done by David Allen
3. 'Habit Stacking' by S.J. Scott
4. Behind The Glass by Howard Massey
5. The Tell Me Why series by Arkady Leokum.
5 style essentials:
- Colognes that aren't overpowering, but make a statement.
- Eye-catching blazers and jackets for the right occasions.
- Tailored and well-fitting apparel.
- I try to always be well-groomed and neat.
- Proper hygiene is a must.