March 7, 2012
Bryan â€œBirdmanâ€ Williams Talks Music, Literacy & Business
You’ve made quite a name for yourself as a businessman in the music industry, and now book industry. What is the secret to your success in business?
Family; loyalty; dedication; hard work; sacrifice; a lot of hours; and being smart. Everything is about your team; it’s never a selfish achievement. I just keep going forward [and] keep trying to expand this [brand] everyday. You can’t stay small. You have to keep trying to expand. And really I give my life to it… I really love my job passionately. I love to see these youngsters become superstars. That’s a gift. To me, it’s just being able to bless these youngsters that we have, and all these people on the label. Helping them become stars, that’s a blessing from God.
Thinking back to when you were a kid, did you decide this is what you wanted to do with your life? And did you ever think you would get this far?
When I was a kid, I didn’t know what I was going to do in life. I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to live life the way we grew up. Life for us is like right now, we didn’t even look at tomorrow. So once I got passed that hump in life, I realized, Now I got to make a life for myself. Once I realized I had to do something positive with my life, I dedicated my life to it. We lost a lot to gain what we gained. It was about making the right choices. It’s the easiest, but one of the hardest things to do to make the right choices. I ain’t never thought we could be where we at. I ain’t never thought we would actually live this long. I ain’t ever think we could be successful in life. But I took the chance and it all paid off. We worked hard, and we still work hard to be at this level of life. That takes more work than it took to get here, but we appreciate the work part of it, that’s what we like.
What’s one of the hardest choices you had to make coming up in music?
The hardest part of this [industry] is the fight, the battle. You fight everyday, and you battle everyday for your team, and it’s about my team. Nothing else matter when it comes to my team. It’s when I got to go do these deals and negotiate and build my staff, and have a strong enough team to make sure all these artists get the proper treatment; the proper rollout; the proper everything. We’re trying to make everybody superstars, and that’s a big challenge to have everybody a superstar. It’s a process, and you have to keep your [stuff] together. Every mistake costs. We might make it look easy, but it takes a smart individual to survive in this [industry and] deal with all the war paint that comes with this.
Is there anything you haven’t accomplished yet that you want to do?
I want to be a billionaire. I want to be the first billionaire brand ever in music. But in order to do that, you have to go through a lot when you’re building. We haven’t got there yet, so we’re just going to keep grindin’ and grindin’ til we get it–by any means necessary. That’s the goal.
Knowing that there are hundreds of children out there who think how you thought as a child, what advice would you give them so they can believe in more?
Don’t ever think that you can’t do [anything] because it will all be done through God. It’s a blessing; it’s a touch; it’s a feeling. It starts with your heart and your mind. You can’t ever think you can’t accomplish it. Once I [saw] I could accomplish something, I knew if I could get one dollar, I could get $100; if I could get $100 I could get $1,000; if I could get $1,000 I could get $100,000; if I could get $100,000 I could get a million, if I could get a million I could get a billion. That’s been my whole goal, just to elevate some kind of way in life. Sometimes elevation [doesn’t] happen overnight, sometimes [it] takes time. One thing I learned about this business [is patience]. That’s one thing I was fortunate enough to be able to have was patience.