But God had other plans
So I was supposed to be a NFL star but I guess God had other plans. After my third reconstructive knee surgery playing college ball I realized my destiny was in my other passion, Music.
I came to NYC on my 23rd B-day in 2002. I literally had $50 and moved into a room in a house on 224th and Whiteplains Rd. in the Bronx. The lady that owned the house was 90+ years old and her name was Mother White. The room was $150 a week and she treated me like her son.
I got a job at Spofford Juvenile facility that I had applied for online when I was in Cleveland (my hometown) plotting how I would take over the Music Industry. I worked there and saved every penny I made. That means no movies, dates or clothes shopping.
By early 2003 I saved enough money to get a commercial space and build a studio. I got a broker because I still didn't know that much about NYC. All I knew was midtown was two expensive and no one would take the studio serious if it wasn't in manhattan. The broker found a place in Harlem on 125th and I thought that was great because everyone was talking about how Harlem was becoming the place to be since the Clinton's had bought a house up there.
I was so happy I got the space but per usual God had other plans. Due to a mixup about the buildings 24hr accessibility policy I was forced to give back the space. Low and behold God had a place in midtown that of course was out of my price range waiting for me.. Thats the short of how I ended up on 39th and 8th.
I started building Brown Sugar Recording Studio in April 2003 and it didn't open until May 2004. I sweat, bled, cried & lost 30lbs building that space. All I had was a Home depot DIY book and some cheap tools from the Odd Jobs that used to be on the corner of 39th street.
Those where hard times. I had given up my room in the Bronx because I could no longer afford it while trying to pay studio rent and buy material to construct my facility. I was homeless; sleeping mostly in my 1990 Izuzu rodeo under the 7 train in queens. Why not sleep in the studio? Well parking in the city costs more than I was paying for my room in the Bronx for starters. Also I was still working 8hr-16hr shifts at Spofford so didn't have time to just park in queens take a train back to the city, do construction just to take the train back to queens to drive to work. I was barely getting enough sleep as it was.
Fast forward through a lot of struggles and some stories you wouldn't believe and in 2005 I was actually running a successful studio in NYC. I was still homeless and maybe not all the way caught up on rent but I hadn't been evicted. Successful right?
By 2007 Quad Studios had tried to buy us out (we refused) and we were so busy we were turning down some of the biggest names in the Music Industry at that time. I knew it was time to expand. A suite right next to, and the same size as Brown Sugar became available right about that time but of course God had other plans. When I told the owner of the building (whom I was good friends with by this time) I wanted to take over the suite he said no. He told me he didn't feel that I was ready to take on additional space yet. Like I said he was a friend or else I would have told him I could give a fuck less what you think just give me the space.
I took his advise and a year later a space three times the size (and the price) with a wall of windows with a view of Times Square became available. Look at God. When I approached the owner about taking over a bigger more expensive space he didn't even flinch. He gave me his blessings and off I went back into DIY construction mode. This time I had enough space to build 2 and I named them Ebony and Ivory.
2012 was popping!!! Studios were all done and money was rolling in. I know had 3 fully booked and operational Studios in Midtown Manhattan. in 2013 Atlantic Records Approached me about taking over two of my rooms. At the time I was talking to Beyonce peoples about the same prospect and would much rather have had Bae there than a Label. But you already know whats next. God… After I turned down Atlantic we couldn't secure the Beyonce situation due to the building inability to accommodate a request for a price bathroom for our facilities. Shortly after Atlantic came back but this time with even more money. My answer this time was Yes.
When I met with Craig Calman, the CEO of Atlantic Records he told me that in order to do the deal I had to be included. He suggested that I be written in as an A&R/talent scout. I agreed and and here we are three years later. I've built another studio bringing the total to 4 and have learned more about the Music Industry than I had in my 10yrs prior to the deal combined!
I now have a new bigger vision that I'm just waiting for God to swat down and say he has something even bigger in mind.