Working in a creative field typically takes its toll on people’s talent and vision at times. On the other hand, some people grow more into their imagination the more involved they are within that field. Being a recording artist in this day and time requires more than talent and looks. Veteran crooner Raheem DeVaughn has also taken on the business aspects of his career in order to successfully sustain his status at a time where others continue to fight to stay relevant. The Love Experience singer has proven time and time again that his longevity lies also in the decisions he makes in and out of the studio where he creates his magic.
“The Love King” spoke to BLACK ENTERPRISE about how his business acumen allows him to still BE in business.
What’s the key to longevity in this business from your point of view since you’ve been in the game for so many years?
Being meek, humble, strategic, and aware of timing has been a very intricate part of the journey. I have always been ambitious and ready to hustle, that is the key. It also helps to properly assemble the right team around you.
How many albums have you recorded and how has the process for recording music changed for you since your debut album, The Love Experience?
To date, I have released seven studio albums since 2005, but I am prepared to drop an album every nine months for the next 15 years. That is how much music I have recorded that is ready for the world to hear.
As with most musicians and artists these days, there has to be a side hustle in order to stay relevant outside the music. What are some of the things you’ve worked on, are working on and/or have future plans to do?
I totally agree. I recently took on an A&R consulting job with my label. I have always had a passion and ear for music. I was the first to discover Def Jam recording artist Logic, “one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. I was a fan and I always knew he would be huge, but my business partner at the time, was just not feeling him.” I have a passion for working with new talent; I am currently managing and consulting a few artists and it’s an awesome feeling. I have also done the acting thing. I have been able to work on two films, one actually to be released this November via all streaming platforms. The film is called LoveDotcom and I was also able to score the music for the film. The other film will be released in 2020 called, Available Wife.
How do you deal with the artistry of your craft while trying to navigate the waters of the business aspect of the industry?
For me, they are one and the same. I am very involved in my business from day-to-day. I am in control of this journey and believe in holding people accountable for such. I wear the hat of knowing what is happening from beginning to end. And I encourage other artists to do the same.
What are some of the things you’ve done over the course of your career that you felt you had to do in order to stand out and/or capture the attention to continue staying relevant?
I think my hustle, the will, and the drive to outwork everyone has allowed me to create a lane for myself. People love me not for what I do but for how I make them feel and I am always going to make them feel good.
Let’s discuss the Love Life Foundation you started. What’s the purpose of the organization, why did you start it, and what short- and long-term goals do you have for the foundation?
As a person that came from the struggle, it is important for me to ensure that I give back. There are no short term goals, all long term. Short-term goals lead to short-term achievement. Long-term goals are to show people that may not be a public figure that you don’t have to be a public figure to give back. I want to aspire to inspire our people and commit random acts of kindness for those in need.
What and/or who gives you inspiration when it comes to doing business and how important is it for you to be able to handle the business side of things?
On a day-to-day, I am inspired by my immediate team. Also, the owner and president of SRG Ills has been a great mentor since we started working together. My current management team across the board from Michele, Craig, and Tone has been very influential on how I move forward in terms of business and how I move in business. It is great to be in the company of people that I respect. I believe that it is great to have accolades and lots of money, and success, but it feels even better to know the value of integrity and keeping my word. Being honest and making others feel that they are not being taken advantage of is something that keeps me going.