Breaking into the music industry isn’t an easy task to do. It takes hard work, dedication, and a plan to follow through. That’s all Ponomo needed to finally make his dreams of becoming a music producer and businessman come to life. Born in New York, but based in New Jersey, Ponomo had the opportunity to see what the music business life was like first hand. Not only does he produce amazing beats for upcoming hip hop artists, but he founded his own record label Conspiracy Music Group and music blog Dope Material.
With those outlets alone, Ponomo has help several artists in their career whether it was doing public relations, producing, or reviewing their projects. Ponomo has accomplished a lot such as becoming a member of the performance rights organization, BMI. There’s more on his plate that has to be done, but right now he’s enjoying the recent success and letting everything sink in.
I got the chance to talked with Ponomo about his start in the business industry, what he has planned for Dope Material, and misconceptions people may have about producers and the music industry.
How did you get into the music industry? How did your influences/education/connects get you further in your career?
Ponomo: My first job in the industry was a music producer. I went straight to what I wanted to do. No coffee runs for me. I wanted to get straight to business. (Laughs). There’s nothing wrong with getting your foot in to these labels and companies, but I wanted to get to business right away.
What got me further in my career is just my hunger and my passion. Ever since I made that first beat, I wanted to be the best producer on the planet. I’m not there yet so that’s why I keep pushing. When I get to the top. I’m still gonna push. It’s a nonstop grind.
Also, I would say negative experiences have pushed me further in my career. From failed projects, interviews I’ve done that never saw the light of day, going long periods of time without a project, etc have pushed me further. This business is frustrating, but I took all those frustrations and kept going. I could of quit a long time ago but now I’m here and everything is going smoothly.
Not only are you a producer, but you’re the founder of Conspiracy Music Group. How did that come about? Where do you see your business in the next two-three years?
Ponomo: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was a youngster listening to and following hip-hop, I always said I wanted a Def Jam, a Roc-A-Fella, etc. When I became a producer, I decided to bring the label dreams into a reality. I see this label having a very popular artist in the near future and hopefully have a distribution deal with any of the big boys like Interscope, Universal, Sony etc.
You are an great outlet to the hip hop community with your blog, Dope Material. What was your vision for Dope Material and how have you helped rising hip hop artists today?
Ponomo: Thanks for the compliment. My vision for DMM was to give an outlet for up and coming artists to showcase their music. I also wanted an outlet to share with the world the things I have passion in like music, fashion, sports, tech etc and share it in a way that no other online mag/blog has done before.
Not only have I helped artists showcase their music, I believe I have helped artists, pr reps and companies network with other artists, pr reps and companies. Not too long ago, I saw a PR rep that I work with connect with an artist that I work with and that made me feel good.
I’m also benefiting from this. I made a lot of connections with the people that submit material to me. I’m working on projects with some of those people. It feels great.
What are some misconceptions people may have about producers and the music industry?
Ponomo: One misconception I see that people have about a producer is that they have no time for an artist and that they want to work with established acts ONLY. That’s so far from the truth. I have time for my artists! I never leave anyone hanging. I reply to every email, I always carry out whatever I promise and if it’s something I can’t do, I let the person know in a timely manner. As for only working with established artists, that’s not true. I’ve worked with rappers that wrote their first rhymes after connecting with me. I’ve worked with artists that I had to send to vocal training classes. I work with anybody that wants to work with me. If I’m going to wait for only an established artist, it’s going to be a long wait (laughs).
As for the music business as a whole, the misconception that I hear is that we don’t work together and we don’t look out for each other. You have some isolated incidents of that but for the most part, we help each other out. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have features on albums, street teams, DJ’s spinning records, etc. If we didn’t work together, we would have albums of just lyrics and no beats, albums with beats and no lyrics, artists directing their own videos, etc.(Laughs).
Name some of your accomplishments so far in 2014.
Ponomo: I’ve seen my work ethic get even stronger this year and that alone is an achievement! Dope Material Magazine is an ongoing achievement. Each submission that lands in my inbox is an achievement. I really do appreciate people sending me their material. On top of that, this year I finally joined the performance rights organization, BMI. They pretty much handle payments of royalties. I should of done this before, but thankfully I finally did it.
I completed two music related courses from Berklee College Of Music. In this industry you always have to keep learning. I learned a lot from those courses and to have those plaques in my crib feels great. I’ve done a few projects with some upcoming artists and I got one in the works right now and when that drops…oh boy!
On a busy day, describe how your day goes from start to finish.
Ponomo: It starts with making beats, hitting the studio, listening to submissions, looking for material for the mag, writing articles, checking Twitter and Instagram, responding to emails and always seeking out the next move.
Weekends, I’m at shows, meeting with artists, industry events and some me time! I love going to football, baseball and soccer games, hitting the mall, going out to eat and a little partying. Even when I’m partying, I’m working. I always give out my business card. (Laughs).
Anything else you would like to share with Limerence’s readers?
Ponomo: Just stay tuned! To keep abreast of everything Ponomo, hit up my website. Make sure you have my magazine Dope Material in your browser’s bookmarks. I appreciate ya’ll for conducting the interview and for your support. Thanks to the readers of your mag for checking the interview out.
Shoutouts to everyone that support Ponomo and Dope Material Magazine. From family, friends, associates, people I work with and everyone that reads every article I write…Thank you!
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