Looking Back: 10 Years Of Los Angeles…

BEFORE THE BIG MOVE, I had visited Los Angeles only twice. The first time was for orientation at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). I had applied in summer 2003 after receiving notice that I was not accepted to my dream school, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I had never heard of Cal State LA until one of my best friends told me they were still accepting applicants. Immediately, I went online, applied, and was accepted. It was a desperate and hopeful attempt to go to college anywhere in Los Angeles so that I could be closer to Hollywood–the land of dreams.

I kept thinking about the short interview I had given the Cleveland Plain Dealer after actress Halle Berry became the first African-American woman to win the Oscar for “Best Actress” in the then 74-year history of the Academy Awards. She had graduated from my high school two decades earlier:

halle_berry

Halle Berry wins Oscar for “Best Actress” in 2002

 

‘It gives us hope that we can achieve something as great,’ said Dae-Twaun Bogan, 17, a junior and aspiring actor at Bedford High.

Her rise from our small town gave me hope that I could possibly reach some of my goals one day. For me, that meant moving to Los Angeles…no matter what.

The second time I visited Los Angeles, it was a few weeks after I had withdrew my enrollment from Cal State LA. When I had visited for orientation, I decided the school and my selected major–Organizational Communication–wasn’t for me. I didn’t even participate in any of the orientation activities after the initial campus tour. Instead, my mom and I drove around Los Angeles visiting UCLA, USC, and tourist sites. My eyes were wide. Everything that I thought I knew about Los Angeles, about Hollywood, was becoming more and more real with every abrupt stop behind some slow moving vehicle. I knew for sure that any doubt had vanquished. I wanted to be, I needed to be in Los Angeles…by any means necessary.

losangeles

2003 – 2004: The Transition…and Craigslist

  • December 4th, 2003 A one-way ticket on Southwest Airlines (which I purchased off Craigslist from a SWA rewards’ member who was selling his free one-way airline voucher he had earned from frequent travels), $500 in my pocket ($200 in cash and $300 starter credit card), a duffle bag of clothes, and a box containing 20lbs of computer tower, 17″ CRT monitor and accessories. That was my move to Los Angeles at 18-years-old in 2003. I landed at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA as a homeless and unemployed aspiring singer/actor with no familiar relatives in town. Yep, another one of them.
    Bob Hope Airport

    Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, CA

    A few weeks prior to the move I had combed through the job boards on Craigslist in hopes of finding, applying for, and landing a job before the move. That was wishful thinking; it was impossible. However, I did convince one guy to at least give me an interview upon arriving. He was a busy Emmy Award winning inventor of camera equipment seeking a personal assistant. The benefit was that it included room and board…and a huge stipend of $200 a week! In Los Angeles, this is an excellent situation for a young aspiring talent transplant with no credit and few options for getting an apartment and a job. And it was no surprise that he had over 100 applicants! I’m not sure how I did it from Cleveland, but not only did I convince him not to hire anyone before I had the chance to interview for the position, I also convinced him to pick me up from the airport! And he agreed. So there I was, a tall (6′-4″), skinny, fresh-faced black kid standing on the curb at the passenger pickup area of one of the most celebrity-traveled airports in the world awaiting some stranger in a dark SUV to pick me up. Yep, awkward. The next several hours changed my life instantly. I needed to land this job because I needed a place to sleep that night. I had also communicated with a woman who posted an ad in the Craigslist housing boards who had a “couch for rent”–something I had never heard of in Cleveland–and was willing to let me stay a few nights while I figured out what to do next. In retrospect, it was a bad backup plan that would have exhausted my $500 in less than two weeks. But hey, I was only 18!

    What I envision the sketchy "couch for rent" situation would have been like.

    What I imagine the sketchy “couch for rent” situation would have been like.

    I didn’t have a return flight to Cleveland, so I went into the interview more focused than I had ever been in my life. I needed to convince this person to disregard the countless applicants who were more experienced as a personal assistant than I was, more qualified in terms of industry knowledge than I was, more experienced navigating the scribble scrabble of city planning that is the streets of Greater Los Angeles–running errands was a key part of the job and I had never driven in Los Angeles and didn’t own a car–and more knowledgeable of key landmarks and entertainment offices around Southern California besides  Grauman’s Chinese Theater and Pink’s Hot Dogs. Against all odds, two hours after the interview had begun, I landed the job. I think I’ll write another blog about how later. When he asked me when I wanted to start, I said “immediately!” and moved in to the housing quarters that I shared with some of his other staff. Instantly, I went from homeless and unemployed to employed and living in a house with a private bedroom, food and utilities paid, and a foundation to begin my journey.

  • January 2004 – Within a few weeks of being a personal assistant, I was already over it. Although I had taken on the role of online marketing manager for his e-commerce website, I didn’t like the personal assistant duties of dog watching, painting his garage, and grocery shopping. And the job was getting to be a bit demanding of my off-the-clock time. So, I took to Craigslist once again for another job search. I came across a listing for a new restaurant that was opening at Sherman Oaks Galleria called Bobby Loco’s Baja Grill, a flagship higher-end restaurant from its’ long-running Cisco’s Mexican Restaurant family chain in the western San Fernando Valley. The owners were seeking to hire all management positions within the coming weeks. I had spent the summers surrounding my high school career (1999-2003) as a food service, catering and restaurant manager at our local amusement park back in Cleveland. Although it changed management and name several times–“Geauga Lake” (<1999 to 2000, 2004), “Six Flags Ohio” (2000 to 2001), “Six Flags Worlds of Adventure” (2001 to 2004)–I continued to grow in management positions until I left in 2003. The interview was similar to my interview for the personal assistant position. I began to realize that in Los Angeles, you have to overcome a stigma that many potential employers have of transplants; that you’re just another aspiring actor/musician/dancer/model/writer who’ll bounce out at the first sign of landing a gig. And, plenty of us have made this stigma come true for many employers. There were no shortage of aspiring fill-in-the-blanks applying for the Service Manager position at this hip-ish new restaurant. But, once again, the 18-year-old kid from Cleveland landed the job. Similarly to the personal assistant position, there’s a specific tool that helped me land the job. I’ll reveal what it is in a later blog post.

    Me (18-19yo) as Service Manager of Bobby Loco's Baja Grill at Sherman Oaks Galleria

    Me (18-19yo) as Service Manager of Bobby Loco’s Baja Grill at Sherman Oaks Galleria

  • February 2004 – I moved into my first ever “I’m an adult” apartment–with an amazing roommate who’ve remained a good friend still today–in Sherman Oaks, I started the new job, and I enrolled in evening classes at Los Angeles Valley College in the honors transfer alliance program with a goal to graduate with honors and transfer to my dream school, UCLA, in two years. I heard about the program from a cashier at a random convenience store when I was visiting for Cal State LA’s orientation. I also took my first professional photo shoot as an aspiring actor:
  • February 2004 – September 2004 – Shit’s going great! My best friend since middle school moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting; something we talked about doing since high school. We joined my best friend who had graduated a year earlier from our high school and had moved to Los Angeles (well, Long Beach) to pursue acting/dancing/modeling and her friend who also moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles for acting/dancing into a 3 bedroom / 3.5 bathroom townhouse in Burbank, which we found on Craigslist. We were four aspiring fill-in-the-blanks, age 19-21, with our own house and all working at the same restaurant (I got them all jobs there too). I was working with a music producer on a demo and going to acting auditions on my days off with my fresh printed headshots and resume of high school musical productions. I did some extra and “TV audience” work, which at the time I thought was huge! For example, my tall self cast well as the “basketball player in green room” featured background role for HBO’s “Entourage” season 1 episode 3. I was so thrilled, I posted the clip on YouTube (but now I hate it and because I forgot the password I can’t take it down!):
Me on set HBO's "Entourage" season 1 episode 3

Me on set HBO’s “Entourage” season 1 episode 3

  • September 2004 – The shit hit the fan. The restaurant closed abruptly in September, failing to pay its nearly 100 employees our final pay checks. All of us were instantly out of stable work. Some of us had gigs that helped, but for me I had school and couldn’t go to auditions as much. So, I took to Craigslist–which hadn’t failed me so far–and came across a listing for a marketing coordinator position at the Manhattan Beach based corporate office of Robeks Juice, a smoothie and healthy eats franchise. I was nervous to apply for a corporate marketing position that normally required a bachelor’s degree, since all I had was my high school diploma and a few community college classes under my belt so far. I applied and was surprised to be called in for an interviewed. Once again, the odds were stacked up against me. There were dozens of qualified recent college graduates and MBAs seemingly more qualified than me. But to my surprise, after a few interviews and pulling out what has ultimately become a pretty amazing tool that helped me land the personal assistant and restaurant manager jobs, I was hired. I was 19 and started as a consultant, becoming the youngest corporate marketing consultant of a QSR (quick service restaurant) chain in the US.
Robeks Juice at Sherman Oaks Galleria

Robeks Juice at Sherman Oaks Galleria

2004 – 2006: All Work & No Play (Sort Of)

  • October 2004 – I began working at Robeks in October. My job was nearly a 3-hour round-trip from where I lived in Burbank to where I worked in Manhattan Beach to where I went to college in Van Nuys. Because work was a 9-to-5 and I had class in the evening and weekends, my social life and acting auditioning was gone with the wind (pun intended).

    Nearly 2 years of 3hr round-trip from Home to Work (9a-5p) to School (7p-10:30p) back to Home.

    Nearly 2 years of 3r .round-trip from Home to Work (9a-5p) to School (7p-10:30p) back to Home.

  • October 2004 to Early 2006 – I developed, advised, and oversaw local store marketing programs at retail stores across the US; coordinated corporate events and sponsorship activities; and developed marketing best practices. I also built the internal website for the marketing department and operations department between corporate and franchisees. I was involved with developing cool cross-promotion campaigns with films such as Sony Pictures’ “Bewitched” and “Pink Panther.” I had a lot of fun doing some great marketing work. But my most important contribution was developing, pitching and spearheading a fundraiser campaign that raised nearly $50,000 for the non-profit Save The Children through selling rubber wristbands at our stores.
  • June 5th, 2006 – I graduated with honors Cum Laude from Los Angeles Valley College with an Associates in Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences. And I was recently accepted into the Honors College at my dream school, UCLA!

    A dream come true...acceptance letter to UCLA.

    A dream come true…acceptance letter to UCLA.

  • Mid 2006 – Oh yeah, I was also accepted into USC and UC Berkeley.

Late 2006 to 2008: UCLA and Nightlife

  • Late 2006 – By the time classes had begun at UCLA, I had started promoting nightclubs in and around Hollywood. After I left Robeks in early 2006, I started a one-man marketing consultancy called MyMarketingCoordinator.com. My clients included a boutique modeling agency, a West Hollywood bar/lounge, and a Beverly Hills restaurant. Through my work and building new relationships, I met some nightclub folks and slowly eased into promoting a night or two here and there.

    Me and Gabrielle Union

    Me with actress Gabrielle Union at Boulevard3 Nightclub

  • 2007 – Student by day, nightclub promoter and event producer by night. By the end of 2006, I was promoting a few nightlife events per week. By 2007, I wasn’t as active in student body activities at UCLA, which is something I’d later regret. I didn’t attend a single athletic event and tailgating was a foreign concept. While most students spent their evenings studying and weekends with family, I was promoting parties at some of the hottest nightclubs in Hollywood through my 21-and-over nightlife promotions brand Club 2Dae Productions and designing special events for fashion and entertainment industry clients through my event planning company Black Card Events. I also owned and operated an 18-and-over college market nightlife promotion brand called Young Hollywood Entertainment through which I produced dozens of fundraiser parties for student groups, fraternities, and sororities from UCLA, CSUN, USC, Cal State LA, Cal Poly, Pepperdine, Occidental College, Loyola Marymount University, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal State Dominguez Hills. I developed and produced parties sponsored by brands such as Chipotle, Dell, Virgin Mobile, and Nike to reach the college-age market. I booked artist shows and DJs across the city and eventually branched out into one-offs in San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York with various nightlife partners.

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  • 2007 – This was the year that I met my good friends, EDM DJ/Producers EC Twins, who I helped promote some of their earliest club nights in Los Angeles and have worked with on a recent footwear campaign I developed for Vlado Footwear and Finish Line.

    The EC Twins hit the red carpet at a private event I produced for the opening of a showroom for a celebrity custom interior and furniture designer.

    The EC Twins hit the red carpet at a private event I produced for the opening of a showroom for a celebrity custom interior and furniture designer.

  • Early 2008 – In January of 2008, just months before graduating UCLA, I held a dinner at California Pizza Kitchen near UCLA. I invited eight DJs who I had regularly booked over the years for special events and nightclubs. Although at different levels in their careers, all very talented DJs: 2006 World Series Turntable Championship Top 8 Contender and Red Bull DJ Sleeper, emerging EDM DJ/Producer Maragakis (formerly DJ ArsenalFX), DJ Choice One (currently of 93.5 KDAY DJ/Mixer), Norwegian GRAMMY® Award winning DJ/Producer DJ Goldfinger, DJ Hectic, Daniel Lamour, DJ Czar, and Mark Andrew. We had been discussing the possibility of me managing them for a quite a few months and felt 2008 was the right time to make it a reality. This was the start of my company Renaissance Artist Management.

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  • Mid 2008 – By mid 2008, I was one of the busiest nightclub promoters in Los Angeles with 3-5 regular parties on a weekly basis and special events on top of that. This was also the year that I developed and produced the Los Angeles Fashion Week closing party, “Young Hollywood Mansion Party” at an estate in the Hollywood Hills as well as several other special events for entertainment clients and brands. Productions through my company Black Card Events were often featured in media outlets TMZ, Life & Style Magazine, Star, Hollywood Reporter, ABC News, People Magazine, LA Times, LA Weekly, and more. Because of the amazing connections I had been making in the nightlife scene by having entertainment industry clientele (agents, talent, publicists, managers, attorneys, network/studio executives, production and creatives, and more), I was also able to explore my interests in other entertainment ventures in web, film/TV, fashion, and music.

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  • June 8th, 2008 – I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Sociology and Communication Studies. And then I moved from Westwood (UCLA town) to Hollywood!

    Me with my mom at my UCLA commencement.

    Me with my mom at my UCLA commencement.

  • Late 2008 – After two and a half years of promoting over 500 events in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, I “retired” from the nightlife scene to accept a position in marketing at Shiekh Shoes, the leading urban street wear retail chain in the US. The opportunity came my way just a few months after graduating UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology. The economy was in the toilet and shrinking marketing budgets and cuts in entertainment expenditures slowed my event production and promotions business drastically. I made the tough decision to leave the nightlife scene–as a promoter–and take the offer that would allow me to contribute significantly to the growth and reach of a youth-centric lifestyle brand and cultural hub, while simultaneously developing and expanding my own entertainment ventures. And that’s exactly what happened when I began my tenure at Shiekh Shoes as the VP of Marketing & Music.

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2009: Sneakers, Music and Shenanigans

  • 2009 – 2009 was nuts. To sum it up, I produced over 100 events at Shiekh Shoes cities across the western United States including several meet & greets with MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” Season 1 winners Jabbawockeez and Season 2 winners Super Cr3w, in-store autograph signings with iconic Celtics basketball player Dee Brown for Reebok, rap duo New Boyz for Vlado, female Pop group Electrik Red for Pastry, R&B singer Jeremih for adidas, Golden State Warrior’s Monta Ellis for AND1, rapper Paul Wall for Expensive Taste Clothing, San Diego Charger’s Kassim Osgood, rapper Ghostface Killah for adidas, and several high school student sneaker design contests for Nike, Converse, and Timberland. I also sponsored several music videos, gift suites for Oscars and GRAMMYs, and event tours including Rock The Bells and World of Dance Tour (for which I was a co-producer of the first show in 2008). This was all in addition to developing, executing and overseeing all advertising campaigns, social media marketing, grassroots promotions, marketing programs, and strategic partnerships with brands and entertainment entities (such as styling over 500 pairs of shoes for Bravo’s “Launch My Line” TV show). Whew, 2009 was nuts.
  • Early 2009 – I was extremely fortune to work at a company and hold a position that allowed me to develop programs to support and promote music and artists. While my own company Renaissance Artist Management had began to expand–I brought on additional artist managers from San Diego, Cleveland, New York, and Las Vegas and doubled our roster to include producers, songwriters, bands and solo acts across a variety of genres–the CEO of Shiekh Shoes accepted my concept for a music retail and artist support program called Shiekh Music.
  • Mid 2009 – I had the opportunity to create, pitch, and executive produce what was the first major mall tour collaboration between Shiekh Shoes and adidas. The adidas “Battle Swagger Tour” was a 3-on-3 b’boy battle tour hosted by Rj KooRaul of Supreme Soul from MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew”. I produced spot dates in Sacramento and Los Angeles that drew hundreds of dancers and spectators.
  • Late 2009 – In addition to developing the music retail program at Shiekh Shoes–both physical in-store sales of CDs and digital downloads from our music retail web site–and overseeing music video programming on our in-store screens, I had the opportunity to create, pitch, and executive produce the first major mall tour collaboration between Shiekh Shoes and Reebok to promote the new Reebok Fuze 1.0 sneaker collection while engaging and discovering unsigned artists. The Reebok “Rip The Mic Tour” was a multi-city talent search to find talented unsigned Hip-Hop and R&B artists. I produced audition events with a judge panel consisting of music industry insiders and DJs from the top local urban radio stations in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Oakland. And the grand finale took place in Burbank where singer/songwriter Albert “AD” Freeman won the R&B category and rapper, Nino Magzoon won the Hip-Hop category. [Select Rip The Mic Tour 2009 Videos: 1.) RTMT 2009 Tour Highlights & Winner Announcement, 2.) AD & Nino Magazoon Reebok Photo Shoot for Hip Hop Weekly Magazine, 3.) AD & Nino Magzoon on The Shiekh Music Stage Tour 2010]
  • Late 2009 – I got to go to New York Fashion Week…for work!

2010: Interns, Street Teams, and Tours…Tours Galore!

  • 2010 – 2010 was similar to 2009 in the since that I produced a ton of events featuring artists and personalities such as recording artists Omarion, Roscoe Dash, Mike Jones, and VH1’s Luscious & Cashmere and developed a ton of marketing programs and promotional campaigns. I had launched an internship program for college students and a series of city-based street teams across the west coast called Shiekh Team. I continued to support Rock The Bells and World of Dance Tour, and added the DUB Show Tour to my support portfolio. I brokered a promotional marketing deal between Shiekh Shoes and Sony Pictures/Screen Gems to promote the release of the film, “Takers” including a sweepstakes to the red carpet premiere and after party in Hollywood. I also developed “The Shiekh Music Stage Tour,” which was an ancillary stage showcasing musical acts and DJs at select spot dates of World of Dance Tour. This year I brought Shiekh Shoes “on campus” by partnering with Stepping In The Right Direction to produce the “Shiekh Music Lunchtime Takeover Tour” whereby we brought new and emerging artists, such as Aaron Fresh, Audio Push, and Rej3ctz to perform at high schools in Southern California.
  • Early 2010 – My company Renaissance Artist Management had expanded again with new signings, including Reebok’s “Rip The Mic Tour” 2009 winners AD and Nino Magzoon, and new collaborations, such as our collaboration with Live Nation and Music Dealers to produce the monthly music industry event, “Renaissance Thursdays” at the Foundation Room in Hollywood. Our DJs were spinning clubs and special events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, and overseas while our artists were gigging regularly or working on new releases.
renaissance thursdays

YouTube video highlight one of our “Renaissance Thursdays” events.

Two of the artists I managed, AD & Nino Magzoon in their spread for Reebok Fuze 1.0 in Hip Hop Weekly Magazine

Two of the artists I managed, AD & Nino Magzoon in their spread for Reebok Fuze 1.0 in Hip Hop Weekly Magazine

  • Mid 2010 – Things were going pretty great so far. Not too bad for an LA transplant who started with $500 and only a “Plan A.” I moved into my first loft in Downtown Los Angeles with probably the most awesome roommate ever. I was doing work that I loved and supported artists who I truly believed in. And my social life was quite lively as I followed my good friends EC Twins and our crew from event to event. To add to my music ventures, I decided to start an independent record label with a business partner called Loft24 Records and a publishing company called Loft24 Publishing. Initially, artists represented by Renaissance Artist Management were the initial artists of interest for obvious reasons. I also got to do more great work for a great cause. A DJ I managed, Sleeper, came up with a crazy idea to run 100 miles to raise awareness and money for the non-profit organization, charity:water. We pulled our resources and friends together to produce a grueling 4-day event leading up to the Coachella music festival called the “100 Mile DJ Run”. We raised over $13,000 that brought clean water to the Mieda Shiket Community in Ethiopia.
  • Late 2010 – At Shiekh Shoes, I expanded the adidas “Battle Swagger Tour” from 2 cities to 4 cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Sacramento [Video: Battle Swagger Tour 2010 Highlights]. I also expanded Reebok’s “Rip The Mic Tour” from 3 audition cities to 5 audition cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Oakland. The grand finale was held in Burbank once again and the winners were Las Vegas based rapper Dizzy Wright (formerly Dizzy D Flashy) and Los Angeles based singer/songwriter JonDoe. [Select Rip The Mic 2010 Videos: 1.) RTMT 2010 Tour Highlights & Winner Announcement, 2.) Funk Volume artist Dizzy Wright Speaks On Being Discovered Through My Talent Search ‘Rip The Mic Tour]

2011: All Of The Fun Things…And Deadlines

  • 2011 – Like 2009 and 2010, 2011 was full of events and tours that I produced for Shiekh Shoes. I produced in-store autograph signings for Lil Flip, The Rangers, Rej3ctz, Ty Dolla$ign, Cain Velasquez for LUGZ, and sponsored the Miss California Latina Pageant. I collaborated with Sony Pictures/Screen Gems on another movie promotion, this time for “Jumping The Broom.” And I returned to nightlife to produce the Shiekh Shoes x adidas “Purp And Yellow Party” for the NBA All Star Week in Los Angeles.

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  • Mid 2011 – Although I did not bring back the adidas “Battle Swagger Tour” nor Reebok’s “Rip The Mic Tour” for 2011, I still created a few platforms to support independent artists. I worked with DJ Carisma and Yesi Ortiz of Los Angeles radio station, Power 106, to produce the Shiekh Music Mixtape Volume 1 featuring Shiekh Music supported indie artists. I also executive produced a summer music series sponsored by LUGZ at the Whiskey A Go Go on the famous Sunset Strip called “The Shiekh Music Stage” hosted by Justin Credible of Power 106. Our stage hosted performances by talented indie artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Dizzy Wright, and The Woodworks.
  • Late 2011 – I executive produced AD’s music video for the song “Main Girl,” which was featured by Myspace.

2012: Lost and Found

  • Early 2012 – The highlight of my work at Shiekh Shoes/Shiekh Music in 2012 was brokering the third promotional campaign with Sony Pictures/Screen Gems for the movie “Think Like A Man,” producing the Shiekh Shoes 21st Birthday Party hosted by Porscha Coleman with special guest DJ Jermaine Dupri at Boulevard3 Nightclub, and co-developing the Converse Rubber Tracks Music Contest. In early 2012, on the eve of its 4 year anniversary, I made a tough decision to close my artist management company, Renaissance Artist Management, and release all remaining artists, djs, songwriters, and producers from their contracts. I also decided to do the same with my indie record label Loft24 Records. I was working on a tech startup concept within the music industry that was picking up steam and praise from record label executives. I also felt I had become less motivated to keep the boutiques running as my interest was directed in other areas of the music ecosystem. 
  • April 2012 – In the words of Charlene Sheen, for several years I was pretty much winning (in a humble way of course). And then all of a sudden, I lost. In April of 2012, I was abruptly laid-off from my position at Shiekh Shoes. The company was going through expansions and restructuring that called for some tough cuts. The Shiekh Music program that I had conceptualized went down with me. No in-store music sales, no in-store music programming strategy, and much less support of independent artists. I was the mastermind behind the Shiekh Music program, so it makes sense that when I left, the program followed suit. The last project I completed for Shiekh Shoes was the development, design, and planning of the Shiekh Shoes Community Center in Compton as a marketing consultant. I designed the 10,000 square ft. lower level of the Shiekh Shoes shopping plaza off of Long Beach Blvd to house two classrooms for English and Math tutoring, a computer lab, a game room, administrative offices, and a multi-purpose auditorium. The center has since opened and students have participated in after school programs. This year, Shiekh Shoes used the space to donate Turkey dinners to needy families in the neighborhood.

    Ironically, this is the last photo I took at Shiekh Shoes. I had just received a new 13' inflatable sneaker that I had designed for events. I thought it would be funny to be crushed by the Shiekh Shoes!

    Ironically, this is the last photo I took at Shiekh Shoes. I had just received a new 13′ inflatable sneaker that I had designed for events. I thought it would be funny to be crushed by the Shiekh Shoes!

  • Mid 2012 – On June 1st, I was found again. I founded ChazBo Music as a solution to Shiekh Shoes’ in-store music programming needs. Over the next few months, we carried out extensive programming, software, and hardware testing. Finally, Shiekh Shoes gave me the green-light to service all 140 US locations. Within weeks, ChazBo Music established its first little office in Downtown Los Angeles where we’d work to define ourselves as a hip new in-store video music entertainment network. The magazine, Young, Fabulous & Self-Employed actually wrote a piece on our Cinderella story.

2013: Untitled…On Purpose

  • Early 2013 – I spent the first quarter of 2013 traveling to nearly 100 Shiekh Shoes retail stores across the country to setup their ChazBo Music service. I run a startup, so I’m marketing, sales, programming and installations too!

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  • Mid 2013 – When I returned from my travels, I decided to apply to the Masters of Arts degree program in Music Industry Administration at CSUN. When I was accepted, I decided to downsize my personal life drastically to prepare for returning to the academic world–after 5 years–while running a growing startup music technology company. I got rid of my Downtown LA loft and relocated to a more modest apartment in West Hollywood. The beauty of running a cloud-based company is having virtually no overhead and a team of folks who can work remotely in the early stages. I also picked up Vlado Footwear as a client to whom I provide marketing consulting. I developed the marketing & PR campaign for the launch of their LED light-up shoe collection Atlas and Lyte LED Pack exclusively at Finish Line retail stores. The EC Twins were selected as primary brand ambassadors, with product integration in their music video and music download cards in the shoe boxes. The shoes have been worn by Kryoman (during international performances), Steve Aoki (through out his current Aokify America Tour), Austin Mahone (during his performance for MTV’s VMAs), Lupe Fiasco (during a club performance), Redfoo of LMFAO (while co-hosting the EMAs with Miley Cyrus) and more. I also help them with their online marketing and social media marketing strategy as well as product branding, sponsorships, and endorsements. I conceptualized, developed and produced their Los Angeles Fashion Week event series.
  • Late 2013 – Thanks to an email exchange with Mark Cuban of NBC’s “Shark Tank” and the Dallas Maverick, ChazBo Music partnered with urban youth culture content creators SkeeTV to co-produce our first custom show, “Skee Locker.” Hosted by DJ Skee, “Skee Locker” is a music, lifestyle, and sneaker show airing Thursdays at 7pm local-time on ChazBo Music’s ShiekhTV channel which plays inside Shiekh Shoes retail stores across the US. Each month, DJ Skee presents some of his favorite new music videos in a 1-hour episode. Between each music video, DJ Skee interviews artists, reviews the hottest sneaker releases, presents artist performances from his “Skee Live” show (Tuesdays at 10pm ET on AXS TV). We are working on new channels and new shows with additional channel partners and brands that will launch in Q1 2014.

December 4th, 2013: Ten Years Later

  • December 4th, 2013 – Today, I am a member of the Recording Academy/The GRAMMYs, founder and CEO of ChazBo Music, music industry writer/guest speaker/lecturer, masters of arts degree candidate in the west coast’s leading music business graduate program…and I’m not homeless and unemployed. But, I’m still aggressively ambitious, a risk-taker, a student of the journey.   yellow

GRAIN OF SALT DISCLAIMER: I tried to keep this short. Ha! So, I limited discussions about my personal life after 2005 and focused mostly on my professional journey. I do not want this summary to come across as complete, as luck, as all good stuff. There is a lot of hurdles, pitfalls, setbacks, and straight up fucked up situations that I did not disclose in this particular piece. I think I’ll wait another 10 years and maybe they’ll be enough for a book. Thanks for reading. I hope I inspired just one person.

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About Dae Bogan

Dae Bogan is a music industry professional. Connect with Dae on Twitter at @DaeBoganMusic.

3 responses to “Looking Back: 10 Years Of Los Angeles…”

  1. Hyun Moraes says :

    I read your entire post on crappy phone in the bus stop on a snowy Saturday morning on my way to campus. So inspiring, especially for someone hoping to one day work as an entertainment producer and consultant. Thank you very much.

    • daebogan says :

      Thank you Hyun for reading. I’m happy that the piece inspired you to keep doing what you’re doing. I just saw on CNN that it’s quite cold in the Midwest. I’m assuming you’re in Chicago? Stay warm my friend!

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