From Bad Boy to Young Music Executive

Aaron Arnold's leap of faith led to a dream realized

What was your involvement with the U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) and the inspiration behind it?

In 2007, we took part in creating a public service announcement for the WFP. I brought five-time Grammy-winning songwriter Bryan Michael Cox to the table, and we scored the PSA which ran on news networks all over.

In 2008, the WFP launched the Red Cup campaign [to raise awareness on hunger], which they debuted on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Upon seeing that, I decided I wanted to do something for the kids and pitched the idea of doing an animated musical for the same campaign. They approved it, and we went to work. It took us 12 months as we conceptualized via our brand-management team, animated via our TV, film, and animation team, and scored via our music team’s producer and artist. We’re hoping to debut this on Oprah later this year.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in pursuing your success?

Of course, you have people who do not believe in you or aim to take advantage of you because of your youth and [your] being new to the business, but the main one for me is when I first started Music Is My Business, I had a team that was too large. So we weren’t efficient, and that was due to me not knowing what I was doing. In addition, I had a vision but not the know-how in which to execute that vision. I learned that things don’t happen overnight and that ideas are just ideas unless they are backed up by results.

How did you overcome those challenges?

I overcame those challenges by just knowing what I (and Music Is My Business) was destined to become. Eventually my team became a lot smaller, and I had to walk away from several situations that weren’t conducive to the long-term growth of Music Is My Business. I also had to figure out what would drive Music Is My Business revenue-wise, build that component first, and then integrate everything else from there. Most importantly, learning from my failures and mistakes really helped me and humbled me.

What would you say are the three keys to success that have directly been used in your life and business?

Keep dreaming, even when you are awake, and then act on that vision. Sometimes inspiration can come in the form of many things, but always have those outlets. It keeps you creative.

Find peers and mentors who have like energy, ambition, and visions. These are the people who you will grow with and who will support you on those bad days and who you will also make money with. I am only successful because of the wonderful team that supports me as I support them.

Keep your vision intact. As long as you stay the course regarding your vision, you will somehow get there. It’s not about being the smartest person; it’s about being the person who wants it most. Persevere.

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