Name: Walter J. Tucker
Profession: President and Founder of LiveThe.Biz, Music Executive, and Adjunct Professor
One Word That Describes You: Motivator
How HE Ordinarily Impacts: Walter Tucker uses music as a tool, a form of therapy to educate and guide those individuals who are not only looking to get into the entertainment industry but to understand how life works. Mentoring, motivating and drawing from his previous experience which includes the good, bad, and indifferent, Tucker’s goal to build a group of visionaries and dreamers has come full circle in today’s cultural climate.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am truly honored to be included in such a diverse group of leaders and innovators. I’ve been a big fan of Black Enterprise since I was a teenager and it has always served as a tool of inspiration for me. I’m very humbled to be able to possibly motivate someone else through this platform!
What are you doing as a BEMM to help support black male achievement now or in the future?
I am supporting black male achievement through mentorship and education. One of the things I love to do is share the information I learn in the music industry with young black men who are aspiring to break into the business. Besides talent, the one thing that helps bridge the gap from our dreams to reality is education. To that point, outside of working in the music industry, I have taught several college business courses for the past six years while mentoring independent artists I meet through networking and industry events. I strive to help empower black men, women, and truly anyone I meet in general by giving key knowledge and tips that I have acquired during my time in the business. My goal is to let this shared knowledge be a tool for others to climb the ladder of success and create their own individual brands.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
The biggest struggle for me was moving from my hometown, Chesapeake, Virginia, to New York City to start my career. Initially, I had this well-thought-out plan of moving to Manhattan to study in the M.B.A. program at Metropolitan College Of New York, which would also give me time to network and get a full-time job in the music business. That plan didn’t work out as smoothly as I thought. By the time I moved to New York in January 2009, I had less than $900 in the bank. If you have ever spent time in New York, you are well aware how quickly money leaves your wallet. When I moved to the city, the nation was going through a major recession and record labels were having mass layoffs which made it even more difficult to find a job in an already competitive industry. To get a foot in the door, I worked unpaid internships at two major music companies during the day while going to graduate school at night. This meant that I didn’t have the time to work at a paying job, so funds were low to non-existent. There were some days I would skip meals just to save money to go to a networking event or to get a haircut to be presentable at my internship. Finally, seven months later I was offered an entry-level job at one of the biggest music publishing companies in the world after having studied abroad in London and Switzerland. Three months after accepting the job, I graduated with my M.B.A. The rest was history. There were so many times I could have given up but through prayer and strategy, I kept going.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
When building relationships, the most important quality to me is determining if that relationship is mutually beneficial. It’s a great feeling to connect with people you can assist in reaching their goals and vice versa. The best networking is when you can identify what someone may need and figure out how you can fit into that equation. In life, people tend to remember you most when you can add something to them. As a result, in business, I’m a big fan of using that to your advantage. Usually the way to success is through service!
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
My most recent project is my organization called LiveThe.Biz. It’s a New York-based music industry platform designed to help educate and connect independent artists, music enthusiasts, and college students with the biggest entertainment brands in the world. We empower budding music executives and artists through business education panels, artist showcases, on-demand video courses, and networking events! Thus far in 2017, we have produced several sold-out events at The Chord Club (powered by Billboard) and Microsoft. Our past panelists hail from over 30 music companies including Atlantic Records, BET, MTV, Roc Nation, Sony Music, VH1, Warner Brothers, and more! We’re gearing up to end the year strong with a few more events in New York and are planning to expand to Los Angeles in 2018.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Never be afraid to ask for help! So many of us feel that because we have a specific vision that we should take on the entire workload by ourselves. The problem is that, in most cases, it takes a team to carry out your vision. Whether it’s getting help with marketing an idea or gathering opinions about a product you’re planning to share with the masses, asking qualified people to assist with your dream is better than carrying the entire weight of the world on your shoulders.
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Write down your vision and be accountable for your own dream. No one is responsible for manifesting your vision but you and there is something very special about writing out your plans and your desired outcome. I have found simply writing down plans helps in holding yourself accountable for the things you want to do. Whether it’s jotting down deadlines for specific goals or documenting ideas so you can flesh them out later, when you are looking at a plan that YOU wrote down for your own life, it helps add fuel to your desire to accomplish them.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I prepare for an event by creating a weekly outline of all the tasks I need to complete leading up to the event. I make a spreadsheet where I write out every action (i.e. follow up with a panelist, check in with venue, confirm photographer, etc.) to make sure that all my bases are covered. It helps me to effectively organize my workload and decrease my level of insanity the week of the actual event.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
This probably comes as no surprise, but I love listening to music to help unwind on vacation. The best vacation I have had thus far was with my wife in Spain. We visited Madrid and Barcelona. Previously, we had traveled to Italy so when it was time for Spain we were well prepared. Some of the best food we had was in Madrid but my favorite city was Barcelona; the palm trees, beaches, nightlife, mountains, and beautiful weather are amazing! Now that we have a newborn son, I would love to go back when he’s a little older so he can experience it as well!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It would be a tie between Paris and Barcelona. I have visited 12 cities in Europe but those two are my favorite. I traveled to Paris by myself during a business trip so I would love to show my wife the culture, landmarks, and restaurants. And Barcelona has everything you could ever want in a city with no shortage of activities to explore. Visiting Africa is high on my list for our next destination especially South Africa, Egypt, and Tanzania, which we’re planning to visit over the next couple of years!
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you, Black Enterprise, for this incredible opportunity and promoting positivity amongst people of color! A special thanks to the biggest inspirations in my life: God; my amazing wife, Ley Tucker; our handsome 4-month-old son, Walter Joseph Tucker Jr.; and my beautiful mother, Arlette Tucker! Also, a shout out to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., all my undergraduate alumni at Johnson C. Smith University, and fellow graduate alumni at the Metropolitan College of New York!
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Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.