Boss Vixen: A&R Executive Erica Grayson Urges Women To Find Inner Strength + Corporate Style

Posted by on Aug 25, 2011

What do you say to people who believe record labels have no purpose outside of being just a piggy bank for artists?
What has to happen is the dynamic of the traditional record label doing things the way they’re doing it since inception has to change. It’s an obvious fact. We’re watching the digital space become increasingly important; we’re watching the market dictate what they want, and the corporate side is trying to catch up. The record business isn’t that old, so when you think about it, a lot of people who are still in place have been there since inception. I don’t think [the record labels are] unnecessary; we’re just in a big transition. We already are seeing a lot of amazing situations come into fruition, i.e. deals like Odd Future, artists like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller [and] The Weeknd. And record labels are fighting to figure out how to get into business with them. So, I think there’s truth to the fact that record labels are at a weakness with how they distribute and sell music because they’re trying to figure it out. I think they’re in a transition to understand and are trying to get in business with the right people to make a difference.

So with all the experiences you’ve had in the biz, what made you jump ship and put your all into your company MADE?
I started to feel very different changes with the record business as a whole. When you work somewhere for five years, and you go there every day and you do the same thing, it’s like it’s getting way too hard doing the same things. It’s just about the way the market shifts, and the way the market has you do things, you have to adjust to. It’s simple; it’s like when you have an old system on your computer and there’s a new technology, it’s not going to run as fast or not at all. Personally, I was expanding too much energy in the wrong places, so I started to build my contacts and build my relationships and figure out what’s next. The best thing Jimmy could have ever taught me was that it’s not a career to work for someone else; it’s not a career unless you’re running the show yourself.

Did you see there was a strict fashion code at any of your jobs or was it just casual?
When I went to college, I studied something about corporate climate, and it really stuck in my head. I found it interesting that employee’s style is reflected through their leader. If you look at L.A. Reid who’s fly and who dresses a certain way and has a certain expectation, Shakir Stewart wore ascots. They have this whole level of sexy, fly thing that I know L.A. really was about. I never worked for L.A., but his crew always seemed to be a reflected his style. When you go to Clive Davis events, everyone is in expensive suits and tailored suits, that was a reflection of that man. I worked for Jimmy Iovine who was rock-n-roll, so he might be in a very expensive, exclusive pair of Converses, which worked very well with my personality because we were all about living the rock life. It was very casual, but I think it was reflective of the environment we were in.

Do you find you have personal style now that you run your own business?
I think it’s funny because people say that I do, but when you’re just you, you’re like, well that’s just me. I am a sneaker fanatic. My essence is not red bottoms like most of my girl friends, God Bless them. But, yeah you find me a crazy pair of Converse that nobody has, yeah I might be your friend for life.

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