After months of planning, Fred McNeill and Paress Salinas recently saw their vision come to fruition through their music industry intensive entitled, rhythmalizm. Held at the Bootleg Theatre near downtown L.A., rhythmalizm featured candid conversations from esteemed industry professionals who play an integral part in the entertainment industry. These “master teachers” included Ajay Relan, Co-Founder of the immensely popular non-profit organization, Hashtag Lunchbag, Gavin “Mizzle” McNeill Creative Director YG’s 4Hunnid Label and Co-Founder Of JUST BE COOL. Global Youth Movement, as well as Chaka Pilgrim, President of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Records. Following the lecture portion of the event, the hundred plus attendees scattered throughout various stages within the theatre to hear more talks, experience a live recording session as well as plenty live performances from the likes of Grammy nominated singer/songwriters J*Davey, Joey Dosik, as well as local artists including: Polyester The Saint, B. Bravo, Dae One, Def Sound and many more.
Attendees were at the edges of their seats while listening to Pilgrim reflect on her twenty-year career in the entertainment industry. When asked how artists should go about networking with executives and tastemakers in order to get their music heard Pilgrim candidly said, “I don’t believe in networking per se, I believe in being honest and truthful and from that genuine relationships are built. On the basis of that genuine relationship, when you’re working on your craft and you’re doing your best art, it will be noticed. You have to find and identify who your community is and I think you find that through your truth. When you’re doing that, people spread the word without you having to ask. You can’t manufacture virality or connectedness. There are people who have huge successes for a window of time and it’s usually because it’s driven by what’s going on in the culture at that moment then those things implode and there isn’t the same level of interest. For me, it’s more about taking the best parts of someone, figuring out what they want to be heard and amplifying it.”
Echoing similar sentiments in terms of advice for aspiring creative’s who aren’t sure how to get started on their ideas, Mizzle said, “Start where you are and if you fail, fail forward. Then you can turn those losses into lessons and over time you’ll get better and become a master of your craft.”
While the targeted demographic for rhythmalizm was at-risk youth from South Central LA, the timing of the inaugural event happened during in time in which many students and after school programs were still on summer hiatus. As a result, many of the attendees were established professionals in the TV, film, fashion and media industries. McNeill and Salinas share their appreciation for those who came out to support the event in saying: “I think there’s a misconception that people at some point or some level in their career stop getting inspired or stop learning” said Salinas. “One of the important points that Chaka Pilgrim shared in her speech was the fact that you should never stop learning. You never stop being inspired, even as an executive, she’s still inspired by the artists she manages and the projects that she’s apart of. With that in mind, we should all be constant, perpetual students.” She added, “I’m overjoyed that we have people of all ages and walks of life here to experience it, soak it in and be inspired.”
One of rhythmalizm’s attendees, cinematographer and editor Josh Lincoln shared that he was impressed with how the event was structured. “It was very refreshing to be apart of an experience that clearly pushed the boundaries between arts, charity and business. My favorite aspect of the rhythmalizm event was the feeling of being part of a innovative experience. It was a space of freedom, but provided solid formulas on the success and work flow of artists, philanthropists and business people alike.”
In the midst of ensuring every aspect of the event was running smoothly McNeill took a moment to acknowledge that his mission had been accomplished. “My goal was to target young people and even elders with more of a jazzy vibe. Being able to hit a wide demographic of creative’s who are interested in pursuing a career in music at any age is a goal for us. We’re all creative. We all have creative vibrations and energy inside of us and it’s about taping into that and realizing how much that can fuel your day-to-day life and your trajectory. A big component of this was reaching the youth, reaching our peers as well as bringing mom and pops around to check out what’s going on!”
When asked what’s next for their newly established movement, Salinas said, “It’s something that we plan to bring to high schools and colleges because we recognize the value in it and how much people have been affected and inspired by being in the room. We wanted to pack it up and take it on the road to make sure as many people as possible experience rhythmalizm, that’s the dream.”