by Ryan Meehan
Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Dan has always had music in his blood. Dan’s entire family is in the music business with his father managing musical legends like Queen, Chaka Khan, and Jeffrey Osborne. He knew from an early age that this would be his path as well and started as a PA at 14 years old. For the past seven years he has been a partner at J. Nelson Entertainment, managing musicians such as Angie Stone, as well producing live concert series. Inspired by his love of music, Dan recently relocated to Nashville to be closer to Big S’mo as his career skyrockets to the next level and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: When did you decide to really focus on artist management as opposed to wanting to be a professional touring or studio musician?
DN: About 10 years ago. Growing up going on the road and in the studio with groups like Queen, Chaka Khan, Etc. had a huge impact on my life. I learned both the business part of music and the creative part at a very early age. Being able to do both and make a living is truly a blessing.
RM: How did you originally meet Big S’Mo; and what was your first impression of his musical style?
DN: Smo was brought to my attention by someone who was scouting for me at the time. After listening to one song I knew what he and I could do together. The vision was immediate and clear as day.
RM: How was the concept of Smo’s TV show originally pitched to A&E? Will there be a second season?
DN: I pitched it to A&E. In order to really launch Smo without the support of radio, I needed a vehicle. I bought a camera (Smo already had one) and Smo and I sat down and wrote out the things we wanted to capture and send to A&E. After doing so and editing down the footage we sent it over to one of the great Executives over there Dave Mace. He got our vision (really he got it before he even saw any tape) and hooked us up with Brownstone Entertainment in Los Angeles. Drew and Bob (co owners of Brownstone) and Pete Delasho helped make it what the show is today. The really great thing with our show is that Smo and I still get to decide what we cover in our lives. It’s very real.
RM: What would be the best way to describe the Nashville music community to somebody who has never witnessed it firsthand? Do you tend to see more artists in that metro area that have the songwriting thing down but weren’t necessarily great performers; or more artists that are fantastic on stage but the songwriting chops aren’t necessarily there?
DN: Nashville has the best music community in the world. If you want to be an artist or songwriter in this town, you can find a lot of people who will help. It’s a very open community musically, people are musicians here because they love music, not to get rich and famous.
RM: What can musicians who aren’t fans of country music learn about songwriting from the genre? Do you think that there is a certain segment of the population that will always think country is too “backwoods”; and in what ways have the genre’s crossover artists helped to eliminate some of those prejudices?
DN: All genres of music can learn from other genres. Country music is great at telling the story of the simple life and focusing on the things that are really important in life. Family, friends, and having a good time. There will always be people who don’t like country music just as there will always be people who don’t like rap music, etc etc etc. You can’t worry about those people, do what you love musically and you’ll be ok. The crossover artists can knock some of those doors down by phrasing things in a way that more people can relate to.
RM: How long have you been a 49ers fan; and what does your team need to do differently this year to make sure that the season ends in a Super Bowl victory?
DN: Wow. The 49ers and I go back to when I was a kid. I was very lucky and got to go on the field as a kid and hang out with the players back then (Montana, Rice, Lott, Craig) and still do today. What do they need to do to win? That’s a long answer. Depends on who their playing. I think they have a good shot at taking it all this year, especially once they’re fully healthy again. Go 9ers!
RM: From a management angle, what’s the most important piece of advice that you can give to young individuals who are looking to make waves in the entertainment industry? How old were you when you first accepted that nugget of information as truth?
DN: Do what you say you’re going to do. A lot of people talk a big game in this industry, very few back it up. Those that do, get ahead. I accepted this as a truth from a young age. I was lucky to have a father who treated the business (and life) the same way.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
DN: Oh we might just be doing some more filming amongst many other things… I guess everyone will have to stay tuned and find out!
Official Website: http://www.jnelsonent.com/
Dan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dannelsonae
Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannelson78
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