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A&R Rel Carter Sits Down To Discuss Role at Roc Nation and More!




Jarrel Carter hailing from Brooklyn, NY was always a go-getter. He went to school for Business Administration and started his own Management Company. Now he is A&R at Roc Nation after starting off as an intern. He also became a brand ambassador for his Uncle Jay Z’s popular Dusse brand in 2015. Rel sat down with us to discuss his inspirational story, current projects and advice for artists.

Royal: Tell me about your journey on becoming an A&R of Roc Nation and how you achieve this role.

Rel Carter: When I graduated college I tried to figure out what I was passionate about, because I don’t believe in doing anything unless you’re passionate about it. Everything just kept coming back to music. So I called my best friend Lanel and was like “Yo, let’s start a management company”, and you know he’s one of those people that’s like “whatever you wanna do i’m gonna do” whether he knows what he’s doing or not. So we looked it up, we got an LLC and at that point we’re like, “Ok, what do we do next?” because we’re both going into this blind. So then I came here, and got an internship at roc nation. But remember I started a management company so i wanted to do management.

They put me in the A&R department as an intern. So my whole thing was take what I learned from here, and bring it back. So when I did that…i’m like okay well I just got an apartment too so I need a job, forget about the internship. So I hit Jay Brown, and i’m like, “Yo, I need a job,”. He’s the founder of Roc Nation, and the CEO. He’s like, “Let me think about it,”. Two months go by, and i’m thinking about how i’m going to pay my rent. I had just gotten out of college, and the first thing I did was intern here.

Royal: The apartment was in New York?

Rel Carter: Jersey. I went to get the nice apartment that was expensive so I definitely needed a job ASAP. Jay Brown called me like two months later, and he told me I could start working as an A&R.

Royal: What are your day to day responsibilities here at Roc Nation?

Rel Carter: Aside from finding new talent I have projects that I am [overseeing as an A&R]. So I have artists that have projects that i’m putting together. So it’s just making sure that we’re making deadlines, as far as getting them in the studio. If we’re putting out a song next week we need to make sure everything is sent by this deadline, and all the other behind the scenes stuff that goes into putting a song out.

Royal: Tell me about the Rel Carter Culture Tour.

Rel Carter: It came about because this kid Devin from DC had invited me to come judge his showcase out in DC. After the event he calls me like, “Yo, I have a better idea,” So he’s telling me about it and after thinking about it I realized it was a good idea.

People are always inviting me to the showcases but I also realized that the people who are inviting you [that are] putting on these showcases don’t care about the artists or the music period. They just care about the money they are going to make off of the artists. Then it’s also like they don’t really care about the artistry because they just take whoever.

We as A&R’s go to these showcases, and the talent is horrible. Not only do we want to help you, but we also want to do our job and find dope talent. But if you don’t care about the talent, we leave with nothing. So we had this idea like let’s go serve untapped markets. There’s nobody in Minnesota trying to find out what talent Minnesota has. We just came back from DR this week. So we just took the tour from city to city, and just gave upcoming artists the opportunity.

Royal: How long have you been doing this tour?

Rel Carter: Since October 2017. We started in LA, New York, Toronto, and Atlanta which are the key markets. Then from there we went to Philly, Miami, Orlando,New Orleans [and more].

Royal: How do you select the talent?

Rel Carter: You go to our website, register, and say what city you’re registering for. The best part for me is the workshop we do. Not only do we do the performance, we also do a workshop to where we have this young lady who comes in, and teaches them the business behind the music industry. A lot of these upcoming artists only know how to record a song, and put it out. They don’t know that if you don’t have a producer agreement or any paperwork you don’t own your song. So the publishing company doesn’t even know how to pay.

If I put out a song, and it streams 10 million streams, the money that’s collected, where does it go? They don’t even know that they need to register they music. They don’t know what distribution deals are, or what 360 deals are. It’s just teaching them the basics that they don’t know so that they don’t get into bad situations. So besides performing, what they learn is more vital than anything.

Royal: I heard that you have a compilation album called ‘No Handouts’. Tell me a little more about that.

Rel Carter: It goes back to the tour. When we started October 2017 we did like 15 cities between October, and April. We found some really dope artists. I knew that we could not sign all of the artists, so I came up with a list of who I felt was the best throughout those 15 cities. So we went to Atlanta for a weekend, and we recorded the project. We just released the first single “In My Bag” on the 23rd of November. It’s available on all streaming platforms.

Royal: I know you are also apart of the Demos & Dusse private listening sessions. Can you tell me about that and what artists can gain from that experience?

Rel Carter: I think the Demos & Dusse [presented by Thorough Consulting] is dope for artists just because you have the actual interaction and One on One time. You know it’s hard to get in front of an A&R. Of course you get the cup of Dusse which is always amazing. It takes the edge off because a lot of people are nervous. If you just drink, and build with them they feel more comfortable. It’s dope. I think we are on our 4th or 5th one, and all of them have been some really good talent.

Royal: Can you tell me what you expect from artists when they try to submit their music to you?

Rel Carter: I don’t really have any expectations but i know what I don’t like. I hate the over seller. The person that’s like “Yo, ima make you a million dollars if you sign me”. Just let the music speak for itself. You don’t have to oversell. I’d rather the guy that’s just simply asking me to check out their music.

Royal: How imperative is it for artists to have their music available on Tidal? What are the benefits, and how can they gain more streams?

Rel Carter: I feel like as a new artist it’s imperative to have your music on all platforms. There’s over a hundred platforms worldwide. Of course it should be on Tidal, but the people that have Spotify don’t have Tidal. Even though they’re the competition, as a new artist i’m gonna keep it real and tell you that you should have your music everywhere. Not just on Tidal. Tidal pays out the most but if you’re not streaming on Tidal you’re not getting paid anything. The benefit is that you can gain more money if you promote yourself properly. The benefit for career wise is that you need to be everywhere.

Royal: What is your advice for anyone that wants to be in the music industry? For any music industry job or an artist?

Rel Carter: You have to be passionate about it, and know that this is something that you want. A lot of people see it as “You can listen to music all day”. That’s cool, and all, but the hard work that’s done behind the scenes is stressful because you are dealing with other people. First of all if you are in the music industry period, a lot of your success is based on working with other people. So if you’re working with people that B*****t all the time, it’s hard. Even when you want to quit, if you’re passionate about it the passion will keep you going.

Listen to the first single “In My Bag” off of Rel Carter’s ‘No Handouts’ compilation album, available on all streaming sites and follow Rel for more information on his Culture Tour and more by visiting his website

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A Different Type of Hip Hop Genius meet “Tone Da Boss”



What was the first piece of music that you bought for yourself and what was the medium?
It was Michael Jackson cassette tape. This definitely just reminded me of my age. Michael’s sound to this day is one of the most unique original pieces of art that can’t be duplicated. At the time I was just a fan but reflecting on it now I feel that he inspired me to be different, and to focus on doing my music my way instead of trying to capture the sound of anyone else.

What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?
I love music however I’m not just doing music for professional success. I want to help as many people with their music as I can, either by working with them or through inspiring them. Music is my life, it speaks to my soul. I grew up in a household where music of all genres were played. I correlate music to emotions good and bad. I want to make music that gets everyone to smile, be happy and create memories. The top of my professional Bucket list is to help more people be heard, embrace their passions, and live out their dreams.

How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
Born in Chicago, grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I went from everyone around me being black to being the only black person around. It taught me adversity, the importance of unity, and forced me to be comfortable with being different. In Chicago I was raised to be a soldier, to try and survive, and protect my family. In Iowa I was raised to be a scholar, to live my best life, and provide for my family. My life would be so much different if I just stayed in one place.

What’s the last song you listened to?
Pop Smoke – The Woo. Pop Smoke is not only gone too soon I still would have been a huge fan despite his early demise. I’ve been a 50 Cent/G-Unit fan since their debut and I feel like not only does he pay homage to that sound but knowing he got the co-sign from 50 Cent makes me a fan of his even more.

If you could see any artist in concert dead or alive who could it be?
Tupac without a doubt. His message and voice transcended music, I would love to see his interludes more so then his live performance. I feel like he would use his time between songs wisely.

What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?
My favorite genre of music is actually soft rock. As a DJ I listen and play all different genres, but I never really get to play like 2000s rock music. Being in Iowa for so long it was all they’d play on the radio so I heard it enough to learn to love it and now it’s my guilty pleasure.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would run a community center for the youth to have fun, learn things they aren’t taught in school, and generate income. Actually I might still do that even though I am a musician.

Tell us about your latest single ? When is your video release ?
My latest single is my song called “Free” to the general public it talks about a life after the Pandemic is over, but for me it talks about my personal journey after going through divorce, leaving my 9-5 job after 10 years, and finally living Free. The video is available on all platforms as of 1/12/21.

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Check out Tone Da Boss Video release 1/13/2020

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The Grynd Report kicks 2021 off with an exclusive interview from Michael Matthews, CEO of DigitalRadioTracker



The Grynd Report had the opportunity to sit down with DigitalRadioTrackers CEO, Michael Matthews. This interview is an in-depth look at how Michael Matthews started DRT, the benefits from using the service and more. Check out Mr. Matthews on issue 64 cover of The Grynd Report Magazine.

Thank you for spending time with us DigitalRadioTracker, please introduce yourself to The Grynd Report.
Thank you Grynd Report for having me. My name is Michael Matthews, and I am the founder of Inc.

You were founded in 2011, tell us how it all came about.
This all started one day as I was talking to an associate. You see, I come from a radio promotion background and we started to notice that more and more of the songs that we were promoting were being played on digital radio. At the time, it was referred to as Internet Radio. As we began our research, we discovered that no one was really monitoring the activity of songs on digital radio. As a record promoter, you always want to know what is going on with the songs you are promoting and be able to illustrate to your clients that you are working for them. In talking to some of the main monitoring companies, we found out that they were not interested in monitoring airplay on digital radio as well as some small-market FM stations. These stations are known to support new and developing artists and are much easier to garner airplay from. Being that this was a void in the music industry, we thought if no one wants to do it, maybe we should try and develop something. What started off as an internal software to show our clients that their song was being played at various levels of radio, has now turned into a global monitoring company – DigitalRadioTracker.

Who can benefit from using your services?
DRT is utilized by artists, publicists, managers, promoters, radio station programmers, DJs, music industry executives and more! The global airplay data that DRT collects is very useful to artists and record labels because they can use the information to book shows and tours, set-up interviews, sell merchandise or promote their songs to other radio stations to secure more airplay. Artists and record labels can also use the airplay information to assist in collecting royalties on their music and further build their fan base. Or they can use the data to develop promotional strategies and learn which markets to further promote as well as monetize their brand.

What genres of radio stations do you work with?
DigitalRadioTracker prides itself on working with many genres of music. The main genres we monitor are Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Country, Gospel/Inspirational, Adult Contemporary and Rock. However, we also monitor a small number of Jazz, Americana and Blues stations. We also track an array of Terrestrial FM, Satellite and College radio formats from around the world. DRT’s primary focus is monitoring digital streaming radio stations globally.

You currently track over 5000 radio stations; how can new stations get involved?
We are delighted by many the requests we have received from stations wanting to join our community. DRT does not discriminate on the size of a radio station or how many listeners it has. We are about building a strong broadcasting community that represents a true voice as to what music is being played. If a radio station is interested in being monitored by DRT, they can simply register for a free DRT Account on our website. Once registered, login to our web portal and select a monitoring plan from our “Buy Packages” section. We will contact the station to complete the monitoring process and tracking will start within 48-72 hours. Radio stations from any territory globally can sign up to be monitored by DRT.

Are your services available worldwide?
Yes, DigitalRadioTracker understands that technology has changed the landscape of the music industry. We are now in a global industry. It is no longer about a song’s local reach. It is all about what a song is doing globally. DRT monitors over 45 million song titles a week in more than 125 countries around the world! Music industry professionals can access DRT’s database from anywhere in the world via our user-friendly web portal.

Describe to artists how important it is to have their music tracked by a service like yours & how they can get started.
It is vital for an artist to have their music tracked by third-party monitoring companies such as DigitalRadioTracker. I cannot express the importance enough. In the music industry, one of the hardest things to obtain is getting validation as an artist. A song’s analytics is one of the main ways the music industry determines whether an artist is trending or not. It can also be used to determine how successful an artist or song may become. DigitalRadioTracker is the only monitoring company in the world that does not require any special encoding or fingerprinting. By using its proprietary software, DRT can track songs from the first time it is played! Other monitoring sources cannot monitor a song unless someone sends the song to them to be encoded first. This is especially important as spins are often missed on songs which can affect promotional strategies and royalties on a project. One of the unique things about DRT is that we also track different versions of a song such as a feature or remix. Other monitoring companies simply merge the song detections under one file. DRT has simplified the process in getting a song tracked. Get your song played at least one-time on any of the 5000+ stations that DRT monitors and a DRT file will be created on that song. Register for a free DRT Account on our website and then login to our web portal to generate a DRT Report at any time on your song. It is that easy!

It is a brand-new year, what is new and different that we can expect from DigitalRadioTracker in 2021?
As technology continues to expand with devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, DigitalRadioTracker plans on monitoring more digital streaming stations on these devices. We plan on increasing stations that are streaming in millions of cars that now have Internet Radio. DRT’s goal is to be the first broadcast monitoring company in the world to track specialty shows such as DJ mix-shows, ministries, talk shows and more!

Any words of advice to our readers?
We recommend to everyone interested in airplay data to utilize our free artist/broadcaster searchable database. Simply register for a free DRT Account and take advantage of this great tool to research which songs are receiving current airplay. As for the artist reading this, do not overlook digital streaming radio as it is making a great impact on new music discovery. There are thousands of digital streaming radio stations around the globe who are willing to support and break your music.

Where can we follow you online?
You can follow DRT on Instagram/Facebook @DigitalRadioTracker and Twitter @DRTRadioTracker.

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