People may not realize what all goes on behind the scenes to make music reach the masses. This is the spot where you’ll see who’s who in the Industry. The people behind the scenes who makes things happen. This will be the section where we feature professionals whom we think deserve the credit and recognition for their hard work that they contribute to this business we call the RAP INDUSTRY..
Each month we’ll bring to you a new professional along with their background.
As a respected veteran in music, BRYAN LEACH has been at the forefront of one of the most popular movements in hip-hop known as Crunk Music. During his 11 years as Vice President of Urban A&R at TVT Records, Leach discovered and transformed acts such as Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, Ying Yang Twins and Pitbull into multi-platinum selling powerhouses.
“I’m driven by my love of music,” he says. “Everything about me is about trying to win, trying to compete at a certain level and proving that I belong here again and again.”
Now, Leach is embarking on a new journey. In June 2006, the Harlem native followed in the footsteps of L.A. Reid and Sean Combs by entering into a long-term multi-million dollar label deal with music’s godfather Clive Davis. “Clive has had a successful history of recognizing and nurturing entrepreneurs who have gone on to define turning points in urban-pop music’s sound.”
In addition to his partnership, Leach will also hold the title of Senior Vice President of Urban at J Records and will work closely with Davis, Chairman and CEO of BMG Label Group and Charles Goldstuck, President and COO of BMG Label Group. His responsibilities will include working alongside David and Charles to help add to J Records’ amazing roster of talent.
Leach comments on his new endeavor: “Nobody has a better track record of recognizing and nurturing music entrepreneurs than Clive Davis and Charles Goldstuck. In each the 70s, 80s and 90s, Clive Davis has helped define urban-pop music through his label deals with creative executives (Gamble & Huff, LA Reid & Babyface and Sean “Puffy” Combs). Given my 11 year track record of focusing on artist development and the slow cooking approach to breaking stars, J Records is the perfect partner for me to establish my label as the defining source to break urban music and carry that torch. I am very excited to make J Records my new home.”
States Davis on Leach’s appointment: “Bryan Leach is a star music executive and his star can and will soar further. This is the perfect opportunity to expand our major urban roster even further, and Bryan is the ideal partner to help us do it.”
Continues Goldstuck: “The winning combination of Bryan’s incredible track record, his influence in shaping the current hip-hop landscape and the fact that he is a highly respected member of the music community speaks for itself. This appointment marks an important milestone for the RCA Music Group as we continue to expand our urban business. We are excited to be in partnership with Bryan as he commences the next phase of his career.”
“Over the past 11 years I’ve learned how to slow bake and develop talent as opposed to microwaving it, focus on signing stars and choosing shots. I’m excited to have chosen j as my new home and partner.”
If that isn’t enough, Leach is also a consultant for TVT Records and will be executive producing the upcoming Lil Jon solo album, the new Ying Yang Twins album and the highly anticipated sophomore albums from Pitbull and Teedra Moses.
It was in 2000 when Leach signed Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz to TVT Records. The trio’s first two TVT releases, 2000’s Put Yo Hood Up and 2001’s Kings of Crunk, sold more than 2.7 million copies. Currently, Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz’s third TVT album, Crunk Juice has sold over 2.5 million copies.
Leach also signed the Ying Yang Twins to TVT and released the duo’s third album, Me & My Brother in 2003. The album reached platinum plus status and remains one of the best-selling rap albums in the country. His other signings into Gold-selling Latin phenom Pitbull and R&B songtress Teedra Moses among others.
With so much on his plate, Leach remains focused on maintaining his current level of success. “I’m driven by my love of music,” he says. “Everything about me is about trying to win, trying to compete at a certain level and proving that I belong here again and again.”
You don’t have to look far to find where Leach learned his tireless work ethic. He was raised by his mother, who sent her three children to Catholic school by working two jobs. Leach doesn’t remember his mother sitting still. But he clearly remembers the vibrant Harlem community that helped to raise him. Hip-hop culture was in its nascent stages and Leach was immersed in the fledgling movement. A fan of such pioneering artists as Run-DMC & The Treacherous Three, he started fidgeting with his mother’s stereo equipment, trying to make his own sound system.
“I wanted to do more than just listen to the music,” he says. “I wanted to be involved in making music.” In less than two years, Leach was working for Dick Scott Entertainment, home of such A-List acts as Teddy Riley, New Kids on the Block and Marky Mark. Julio Caro, now J. Lo’s film production partner, recognized Leach’s talent and asked him to join TVT Records, which had the streets on fire with underground rhyme king Mic Geronimo.
Leach joined TVT Records in 1995 as Director of Artist Development. In 1998, he was promoted to Vice President of Urban A&R for TVT Records after successfully helping guide the careers of Mic Geronimo and others. Leach worked that year on Bounty Killer’s successful Next Millennium album and was on the hunt for new acts when he signed hip-hop icons Naughty By Nature and traveled past the Mason Dixon line to look into Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz.
Leach is also giving back to his native Harlem. Leach has created FanMale, a non-profit organization that sets up and support mentoring relationships and internship opportunities for Harlem high schoolers. The organization pairs young males with people in their fields of interest and help them to develop their leadership skills. Students are selected according to a number of factors, including school performance, and recommendations.
“One of the biggest problems is the lack of resources and the lack of opportunities for some of these kids to see things beyond Harlem. We launched the project starting with young African-American males from Harlem, because they have the most immediate need for a mentoring program,” he explains. “Some kids don’t dream any further than their backyard and that’s sad.”
Through Leach’s connections in the music industry, many of his supporters are already lining up to help his organization. He expects FanMale to have a small staff that will promote itself in churches, schools and community centers using street promotions and community outreach.
“One of the keys is making the kids pay attention,” he says. “After that, it’s helping the message sink in. That’s what is going to help set this program apart, the way we approach the kids.”
Bryan Leach’s approach has already set him apart in the music business. Expect the same as he expands his reach into public service.