Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Frazier.
Kevin, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was first exposed to music as a child. My mother would mostly only listen to oldies. Especially on Saturday mornings while cooking or cleaning the house it was mostly Motown, my father was always listening to Jazz music, my Aunt Jeannette was more into R&B and soul. I was introduced to Hip Hop through my aunt Dean. She was always listening to Kool Moe D, Slick Rick, Run DMC, and Big Daddy Kane. As I got older she would play me NWA, Public Enemy, De la Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, LL cool J and later Biggie, Pac, Snoop, and Jay Z.
I started my music career around the age of 13. But it was around ‘92 that I realized I wanted to do music. I would listen to music on the radio and analyze it,trying to figure out how it was created and picking up on different patterns in the sections of songs. I was watching Oprah with my mom one day and Jermaine Dupree and Kriss Kross were on there. I was fascinated that people so young could create something so cool.
From that point, I wanted to make music. I made it a priority to save my money to go to records stores and buy all the CDs and cassettes I could. My Aunt Dean got me a boom box and a huge Discman so I could listen to music on the go. I remember having to hold the discman right side up all the time because if I put it in the side after a while the CDs would start skipping. Myself and some neighborhood friends Christian, Joey and Jermaine decided we wanted to start rapping so we would meet at Joey’s house since he had a huge stereo and microphone to record ourselves over other artist’s instrumentals. We became frustrated using other people’s music so Christian and I went online one day and downloaded a program called Hammerhead. It would only do drums and percussion.
Christian had a Casio keyboard so we would use the drum program to create four or eight bar loops and record them into the stereo. Then we would switch the tapes and put a blank one in the other side to record the first layer of synths to add to the drums and so on with the rest of the sounds. It would take us literally hours to make one beat because if we messed up on the pattern we would have to flip the tapes back and start all over again. Eventually, we found a program called Fruity loops, which was brand new at the time. Later we would learn to use MPCs and other equipment. Slowly Christian and I stopped rapping to focus on creating more tracks to give to other people. We wanted to be like the young version of the Neptunes since that was whose music was inspiring us the most at the time. Some tracks we would do separate others together.
When I first got serious with music I went to my step sister who was based out of Philadelphia managing artists through her company Sheer Entertainment she had a few groups and also put together concerts for people like Ja Rule, Bow-wow, and Shirley Caesar. She also had a partner was the godmother of one of the members from Philly’s most Wanted. Due to creative differences she and her partner split but she joined another person named Terry who she helped manage his artist named Wiz Dinero. They secured him a deal at MCA records under Don Poo who was Foxy Browns old manager.
I made it my business to try to be with them everywhere, Studios sessions, video shoots, photo shoots, meetings, radio interviews,etc. I would just listen and watch everything that was going on to soak up knowledge of how the music industry and recording process worked. Aside from this I was introduced to a guy named Fernando who lived in Delaware that had a home recording studio. He was working on Dat tapes at the time and was just getting into pro tools. I would go to his house and he would show me how to record and let me bring artists to him to get demos done.
After a while, my sister became frustrated with the music industry and decided it wasn’t for her any more. I decided to stay with Terry and Wiz. Wiz had developed a relationship with Murder INC so at that time we would travel and do a lot of shows with them. Wiz released his first single called “In the Game” produced by Scott Storch and featuring West coast artist Butch Cassidy. He had also done the Remix to Shaggys “It wasn’t me”. By the time everything started to get traction. MCA merged with Interscope and a lot of the artists were let go. Wiz decide he wanted to pursue other avenues and it was just myself and Terry.
Terry became my manager and wanted to use his industry connections to create a situation for us. I had my own artist I was working with at the time named Montana SP who now goes by Peter Rich and we began to shop music through Atlantic and our connections at Def Jam. We began to take meetings with Chris Gotti due to our previous relationship. As things started to look good, Murder Inc went through some legal matters and our situation went away. At this time I was also going to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for business but was becoming frustrated that none of my classes were what I actually wanted to do. I spoke with Terry and he told me the best thing I could do would be to move to New York.
He always instilled in me that it was good to know how to make music. But I needed to understand the other aspects of the industry so I will always know how to maneuver and not get taken advantage of. He was already teaching me about radio promotions and marketing and Management including all the things I was learning on my own from watching everything they did as a kid. I left Lincoln and took some communication classes at University of Delaware until I could find a good way to get to New York. Searching online one day I found an audio school in Manhattan and convinced my mother that I need to go to school there. I moved to New York and was living in Brooklyn Heights one train stop away from Manhattan.
I began to go to school but as soon as I got out of my classes I would look up all of the record labels and recording studios I could find to try and get an internship. At night I would use industry business cards I came across and use them as credentials to sneak into industry events to meet people. Eventually landing an internship at places like Koch records( now eOne) Vibe Magazine, and then getting an assistant position at Bad Boy Entertainments Daddy’s House recording studio and later the marketing department of Jay-Z’s Rocawear clothing.
I realized I was doing something right when people started asking me to come in for meetings at labels. It might not seem like much to people. But playing my music through huge speakers in an A&R office or in a big producers studio meant everything to me at the time. Meeting with people from Atlantic Records, Sony, Warner, TVT, Def Jam, and having them tell me I was talented let me know I was on the right path. I finally came across an A&R at Universal named Kay K who liked my music and wanted to get some tracks placed with two artists he had signed at the time. Unfortunately, before we could get any work done the higher-ups at the label decided to drop those two artists and I was back to square one.
I have played a part in post-production on Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Duets, Black Robs The Black Rob Report, Cheri Dennis in and out of love album and parts of Diddys Press Play album. I have also worked with Philly rapper Nina Ross, Fabolous affiliate Freck Billionare, Chinx Drugz, Hip Hop Producer Dollarz who is now my business partner and I also currently manage. UK pop singer Charlotte Zone aka CZ, and a host of independent artists.
During my time in NY, I connected with an incredible woman name Chà Deberry. She took me under her wing and helped enhance my knowledge of the industry from how things worked in NY and LA. We would travel back and forth to LA every few months. And that’s when I decided moving to LA was the move for me.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things weren’t easy at all. Even through all the cool stuff I was able to do I didn’t feel like I got a real fair chance and a lot of opportunities went away. I was finally able to make it out to LA in May of 2015. I was here by myself for ten months just hustling and working while my wife and son were still on the East coast. That was the most difficult time I’ve ever had, being without family. I came out here with $7500. I sold half my house on the east coast and packed up my car and drove here just myself and my friend Gary. We drove 52 hours straight non-stop. Only stopping for food bathroom and gas and switching driving when one of us got tired.
Once I got to LA I didn’t even have an apartment yet. The first place I went was to my friend Kevin Kwan’s house. I took a shower and slept on his couch the first night and the next day I received information on an available apartment in a building in West Hollywood where a friend was living. I did the application and dropped off the check that morning. The messed up part was my moving truck was somehow two weeks behind. So all I had was my clothes and music equipment in my car that I drove out with. I had to go to Target every day to get basics for my apartment. I had an air mattress and plates in my place. If you walked in you would’ve thought I was squatting in the apartment. Not being able to find a job was even more frustrating I must’ve applied at every label or entertainment company I could think of. I was thinking that my experience in NY would get me a job very easy but I was so wrong. Once I starting getting myself situated and got out of a slight depression from not working and watching my money get low I had to remind myself of what I moved here for and just staying focused on what the goal is. Once my wife and son finally got here it was a bit more comforting. It was difficult for them at first also getting adjusted to a new place with new people. And she had left a successful position as a nail technician where she had a full book of clients and now had to find a new salon and new clients while also getting my son the proper schooling. So not only did I have to figure my personal situation out but I now had to make sure my family would be ok and since I just moved them from the comfort of being around family and the security we had I really had to step it up.
Moving to LA I had very few friends out here. I had a lot of associates but no one who could actually help. Kevin Kwan who is a big photographer/videographer helped a lot. He was one of the only people who showed me how LA entertainment really works. That’s my brother for life. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. Living in LA there’s a perception of lifestyle that people expect in entertainment and if you don’t fit that they will ignore you. I had to really get a lay of the land. And know who was real and who was full of crap. I took a job as a manager at AT&T to keep a steady paycheck and health care for my family and then a position at a property management company. A lot of people have the idea that you can’t do something regular for work if you’re in entertainment when a lot of these people look important but they really have nothing going on and they’re couch surfing while trying to give off the perception of them being successful. I never wanted to be like that so working regular and still actually hustling in my field was what I had to do. Now the ship is sailing great. In addition to the work that I am doing, I have assisted in my wife opening up her own nail business. The only way from here is up. My goal in life is to put myself in a position where I can help people. I’ve had so many people take opportunities from me, that I never wanted to be that person. I want to elevate others and myself. The one thing I always express to people is that I want to live a happy successful life and do dope s#!t with the people I love.
What were you like growing up?
I was born in Wilmington Delaware. My mother is from Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, and my father is from Camden, New Jersey. I grew up on the east side of Wilmington.
I was raised by my mother, father and stepfather but I had a lot of close family members and friends around as well. As a child, I was always around my grandmother and my three aunts as well as a host of female friends of my mother. After my parents’ separation at the age of four, my mother later met the man who would become my stepfather and add to another father figure in my life. I was originally on the north side of Wilmington but after my parent’s separation and a temporary stay with my grandmother, we moved to the East side of Wilmington. I attended St. Ann’s Catholic school from kindergarten through 8th grade being the only African American male in my class.
However, growing up in East Wilmington, which was one of the rougher areas of the city and having a stepfather who was in politics gave me a well-rounded upbringing. All of my school friends had a little more privilege than I did considering where they were from, while some of my neighborhood friends were into a different lifestyle some involved in street activity. But when I was with my mother and stepfather attending functions we were around people like city council representatives, mayors, and governors. This upbringing gave me a well-round view of the world. My mother kept me very active. I did everything from swimming to Basketball, soccer, baseball, martial arts just to keep myself busy.
After graduating St. Ann’s, I did one year at an all-boys catholic school called Salesianum but during the first year it didn’t seem like a good fit. Being a very forward-thinking person my mother took that as me being a bit difficult and sent me to live with my father in New Castle DE where I would attend William Penn High School. I lived with my father for two years and left before my senior year due to issues I was having with my stepmother being a horrible person to me. Since my father worked night shifts. I only saw him in the mornings before school and on the weekends. So during the week, my stepmother was like a real life evil Disney character. She was just an all around nasty person. She wasn’t very nice to me or any of my friends and would purposely do things like not providing food for me and even going as far as marking all the food in the house in her name telling me to know what I wasn’t allowed to eat. Or she would only keep frozen foods in the house knowing that I couldn’t cook at the time. After an altercation between my stepmother and my aunt, my father thought it would be best if I moved back with my mother but continued to use his residence for the purpose of going to my high school which I graduated from in 2002.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
A few months after I moved to LA my friend Dollar who was an original producer for French Montana and Chinx moved out here also. We got together and decided to start a production company called Dollarz Enterprize. This year we’ve already landed a placement on the new Rick Ross album. It is track #10 Fascinated that a video was recently released for as well. This year has been great for us. We have a lot more music coming including an unreleased posthumous album for Chinx that was done before he passed entirely produced by Dollarz. We’re also in the process finishing up building our recording studio in North Hollywood called Vault Studios.
We also have some TV and film things in the works as well as fashion. It took us some time to get the wheels rolling but we’ve hustled hard to put ourselves in a great position moving forward. Roadblocks come up but that’s a part of life. We don’t live in the problem we assess the situation and correct it accordingly to move forward. Our hustle and minds separate us from everyone else. We think out of the box. It’s go big or go home. Everything is thought out very meticulously; we plan for every possible scenario. If you’re only going to half-ass something why do it in the first place. I plan to be here for a long time.
I’m influenced by life. Everything I see around me gives me energy to create. I’m a creative so my mind is constantly coming up with ideas and ways of doing something new. I like artists who resonate with me. When they say something it’s something that I either already apply to my life or makes me think about things differently. I would describe myself as an all-around artist in the general sense. I love different styles and due to my upbringing I am able to move comfortably in any setting and multiple areas of music marketing and content creating.
I know that am different and I’m proud of that. Most people are very one-dimensional and refuse to see past themselves. I look at every angle and look at what’s not only hot for now. But what will people like and be influenced by later.
My goal is to be a go-to person for ideas and strategy. Whether the be music, marketing, tv/film, fashion, etc.
I have been given a gift that I want to share with the world. Creating and giving a new perspective is what I am passionate about. I just want as many people as possible to be able to see how great I can be.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @Sokliche
- Twitter: @Sokliche
Photographer: Kevin Kwan ( picture with white background )