Today we’d like to introduce you to Donavan Brown.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Donavan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve been immersed in the arts since I was young, traveling the world as the son of a Navy Diver. Traveling the world gave me an eclectic taste in music and film and the ability to connect and communicate with people from various cultures. By the age of 18, I had lived in Guam, Sicily and Japan and traveled to over 50 countries. I moved back stateside and received a degree in Interpersonal Communication and Marketing from Michigan State University. After college in Denver, I worked for Ford Motor Company as a Territory Manager for two years. I was responsible for the operation of a dozen dealerships which included 500 employees. Working for Ford taught me a lot about the inner workings of a fortune 500 company, but also showed me my path was in the creative world. This lead me to making the goal of working for a music company by the end of the year. With this new found determination, I began djing around the city performing at shows, music festivals and weddings.
Djing honed my ear, exposing me to all genres of music. Landing me a job working for the indie label EDM.com, achieving my goal. Here I built and developed dozens of artists and learned the inner workings of a label, leading me to my move to London. I lived in London for a year where I managed and developed five acts, made valuable connections, and built a recording studio. While in London I traveled all across the city and Europe, visiting BBC 1 Radio, Sweden where I went to the ASCAP awards, Amsterdam for ADE, amongst other destinations.
A year later I moved to LA where I currently reside, signing an artist to Geffen Records and another to Sony ATV Publishing. Upon arriving to LA I had a lot of opportunities arise and meet people who changed the trajectory of my life. I began working with and managing talented musicians around the city leveraging my network to create sessions and help artist market their music. I created, hosted and djed, a bi-weekly event called, ‘Sunday Night Vibes’. Here artist would perform their art, whether music, spoken word, comedy, or acting, in an open mic format. The event brought people from all walks of life and we would see over 150 throughout the night.
Djing has continued to be apart of my creative expression in LA. I am the Dj for two LA-based artist, Jjuan and Tray Haggerty. We have done shows all throughout the city, performing at the Peppermint Club, Dirty Laundry, and the iconic music venue the Alley in Noho. Both artist are gaining notoriety and we will tour together in the future.
As I continued my journey in LA meeting people, doors opened in film and TV. I began taking acting classes which lead me to performing in the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2018. I was featured on shows and commercials such as, Insecure, S.W.A.T., Young Sheldon, and the Big Baller Brand Music Video Commercial. I was also casted for my first feature films, ‘Rise’ and ‘Witch-hunt’, which are set for release in 2020.
LA has transformed me in every possible way. Through every experience and person I have met along the way I have stay on a path forward that has allowed me to do what I love in an amazing city. It hasn’t been easy but I am so thankful for all that I have experienced, and all that is to come!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been rocky and the path has diverged countless times.
I was homeless during my first year LA. I couched surfed for six months before living out of my car. Living out of my car was the most humbling experience on my journey so far. Not knowing where I would sleep, nor knowing if I would eat that night made me appreciate the small things. It made me listen to every person I encountered knowing that each interaction I have is a conversation with the universe. I am so thankful I was able to experience this because I feel enormous amounts of gratitude for everything I have in my life.
I’ve created many relationships over the years, with one turning into a business partnership with my team in the UK. We saw a lot success and developed some incredible acts in our two years of working together. We built a studio from the ground up and traveled to LA where we got the opportunity to work with R&B artist Eric Belinger. With all these wins, we still parted ways. There came a time where we couldn’t see eye to eye anymore, and once they traveled back to the UK after LA. The distance made it hard for us to be consistent and eventually we had to end our partnership, which leads me to starting from ground zero in LA.
I’ve managed several artist during my years in the industry. With each experience I learn what works and what can be left out. Some artist meet people who can offer them more and leave, others give up on music entirely. There are a lot of sharks in the city and I’ve encountered a lot and every-time its destroyed relationships and has left me with little after the exchange.
I’ve learned to protect my self, create boundaries and listen to my intuition at all times to prevent these experiences from happening again. With each experience, I’ve learned so much about myself and others. Through it all I have become more whole and aligned. It’s tough when you are walking through the mud, but my meditative practice, friends and family, kept me grounded through it all.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a multi-talented creator and entrepreneur. I’m an Actor, Dj, Music Mogul and businessman, writer, and dancer. I love to express myself in mutiple forms, I believe this is the future of artistry. I feel my style of expression is unique because I am able to bridge all of my art forms into every performance or medium I create. My experiences traveling the world have opened my mind and given me a deep understanding of people allowing me to connect with anyone through art and conversation. I am highly empathic which gives me an edge in management because a huge part of this job is being a psychologist, dad, and therapist for the artist you work. I’ve been told since I was young my smile and charisma have the power to light up a room. I am very spiritually connected doing various styles of meditation and yoga on a daily basis, which has given me the ability to be present with anyone in any moment. I’m thankful for everything that has lead me to where I am today, and my ability to continue to move forward despite the troubles I am going through on my journey.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There have been a lot of amazing people who have aided me on my journey. My mother, father and brother have all been there for me at my lowest moments. Whether being an ear to listen or throwing me some cash so I can eat while I wait on a check. They have always had my back without question.
My dear friend Sean Muir was the person who gave me my first shot in the music industry. He loved my taste in music in a Dj set I played and gave me a job working for his company EDM.com. Because of him, I was able to break into the industry and live out my dream.
Cheyenne Yost is my best friend from college who also lives with me in LA. When I was a day from being faced with the decision of go home to Michigan or be homeless in LA. She offered me a place to say for three months until her landlord evicted me. She has been one of my greatest supporters always believing in me and supporting me spiritually, financially, she is the sister I never had.
Georgia Lancry was one of my first friends in LA and continues to be my rock in and sister who keeps me grounded in LA. She is my roommate and is the best roommate I’ve ever had. We can talk about anything and she is always present, sharing her wisdom. She is always willing to help anyone in need of her assistance.
Megan Graney my girlfriend who came into my life this year when I needed love the most. After parting ways with an artist I spent a lot of time working with, she was the light in my life during dark times. I can talk with her about anything, and she is always making me smile with her humor or her beautiful smile and big eyes. I couldn’t ask for a better woman to love.
Tray Haggerty has been an incredible friend and brother on my LA journey. He is always including me in his projects and meetings. He has invited me to exclusive industry events that I would never had access to, and ask for nothing in return. He believes in me just as much as I believe in him. There aren’t many artist like him.
Thomas Ntamtsios thanks for being such a forward thinking artist, always pushing the boundaries of what can be done. You have been on this journey with me as Iong as anyone and you have always been resilient and understanding even when things have been tough. Thanks for aIways being honest and believing in me on our journey, even when its not easy. Thankful to work with you and be your manager on this music journey.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thirdeyedon/