The music world is a tough business to make it in. To on lookers, it seems that people in that field have it all together but they too go through challenges to be and remain successful.
Jamaica native Jamelia Ho-Sang aka Yung Whoa, an upcoming pop artist and previous songwriter for certain artists, is no stranger to the music world. Starting off as a model for companies such as Target, Boscov’s and Adidas, Yung Whoa knew early on what it was like to be in front of the camera. It was at the age of 16 that he was discovered by the road manager for The Temptations, Leonard Stanford, who agreed to represent him until he unfortunately passed away only a few months later. Entertainment lawyer, Simon Rosen, who was also good friends of Leonard felt it was his obligation to then take Yung Whoa under his wing and finish what his friend had started. Rosen decided to manage Yung Whoa and brought in Mikey Jarrett, Junior Reid’s road manager to co-manage him until he too passed.
Yung Whoa eventually broke into songwriting. As most
do, he realized songwriting offered a lot of money when someone offered to buy one of his songs from him. Due to contracts and signing most of his song rights over, he cannot disclose which songs he acted as a ghost writer to and in an article by Gary Roth I was able to read just what happens during this process, “When a writer submits a song to a publisher, the publisher will listen to the demo and decide if the song is one that the publisher wants to represent. If so, the writer will be asked to sign an agreement, usually called a songwriter-publisher agreement. What is unusual in this kind of agreement is that the writer will be asked to transfer his ownership of the copyright to the publisher. That has the effect of leaving the writer with no future ownership interest in his creation.” He did however provide me with some artists he had the privilege of working with over the course of his time in the business thus far. Just to name a few, he has worked with Cassidy, Black Rob (Bad Boys), Jr. Reid, Beanie Man, Coke Boys, and Barrington Levy just to name a few.
Wanting to venture out on his own and make a name for himself, Yung Whoa started his own independent record label called Team X and is also busying himself in the studio to come out himself as a pop/reggae artist.
While conducting this interview during one of his studio sessions, I had the opportunity to meet his engineer Franz Richards. He is also no stranger to the music business having worked with Ruffhouse/Columbia and Ziggy Marley. He has known Yung Whoa for about five years and says he is surprised by his incredible progress stating, “ the first time we met I knew he had that fire in him and then the second time I could not believe how he transformed from an artist to a mogul. He is responsible for a lot of people’s careers.” This then led to me ask both of them about their opinion on the music business and both had varying things to say. Yung Whoa, having already experienced firsthand how untrustworthy certain people in the business are, did not have too many nice things to say. “This business is very shady, there are backstabbers, and if you do not know the business they will try to take advantage and steal your money. Basically if you are not benefitting the CEO’s they will drop you in a second.” Franz Richards also agrees in his own way of how unfair the business is by stating, “The music business is easier to break into now because of social media. Around twenty years ago you had to wait to get signed but now you can promote your own music. Upcoming artists back then were not getting as good as treatment as the white people were which is why I began engineering.” To confirm what Richards said about social media, in an article written by Omar Akhtar on The Hub, it states that, “In 2013, social media advertising increased by 35 % over 2012, fueled largely by the growth of mobile.” People are now realizing that with promotion and the right fan base, there is a better chance at getting discovered.
I asked Yung Whoa what a typical day is like for him and he said if he is not flying out of town to handle business, he is in the studio which usually lasts four to five hours at a time, or he is meeting with his entertainment lawyer. If he is not doing any of those things, he will spend hours writing new songs. It is pretty clear that he already has a foot in the door for this music business which is more than most people can say. With the same consistency and dedication I am sure that we will soon see him rise as an artist.