“I can’t emphasize it enough: The least educated is the most exploited, and people prey on that particular audience.”
Jayson Jackson, who has managed Lauryn Hill, Santigold and others, said athletes often come up to him and talk about their plans in the music business. Just as often, he hears from them a year or so later, and they’ve bottomed out.
“They have resources, and resources are amazing, but they can also be a dangerous thing when you are moving into an area that you don’t know much about,” said Mr. Jackson, who spoke to the athletes as well.
During Tuesday afternoon’s session, the players gathered in a professional music studio and learned the nuts and bolts about making a record, from the basics of Pro Tools, the computer recording software, to which microphones are best for capturing sound. Players moved in closer as Nick Sansano, head of production studies at the institute, showed them the difference between a microphone that costs $3,000, and one that’s $95.
“If that’s of good quality, that’s where you should spend your money,” said Mr. Sansano as he held up one of the more expensive mics.
Later, Ryan Leslie, a singer/producer whose hits include Cassie’s “Me & U,” told of his rise in the industry, how to make money on YouTube, and life as an independent artist.
“Would you do it if you were only making $45,000 a year?” he asked. “If you really want to make music your career [you would].”
Keary Colbert, who last season played for the Kansas City Chiefs, is like Mr. Howard. He had what he calls a “deep passion for music growing up,” and is working with an act. Mr. Colbert met rapper Pol-B in 2007 after he gave the player his CD, and said Pol-B already has worked with key producers and artists.
For Mr. Colbert, this week has been an opportunity to learn more so he can grow in the business.
“I’m not going to be able to leave here tomorrow and go from zero to 60 and be at the Grammys tomorrow, but there’s a lot of things that definitely will help from a ground level,” he said.
Mr. Howard also has realistic expectations.
“Hopefully it works out. I’m not looking to knock nothing out the park, I’m not trying to be Puffy or even Ryan Leslie,” he said with a smile. “I just want to make good music, make some money, add something to the community and provide some jobs, and that would be something I would be happy doing.”
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