Berklee Hosted Doja Cat’s Manager at Business of Hip-Hop Music Symposium
Berklee's Music Business/Management Department hosted the 17th annual Business of Hip-Hop Music Symposium on Thursday, October 26, on its Boston campus.
The annual event featured an afternoon A&R listening session for students in the Red Room at Cafe 939 with Gordan Dillard, executive vice president of A&R and artist development at Capitol Music Group, and Wallace Joseph, senior vice president of A&R at Warner Chappell. The session was moderated by Chris Wares, assistant chair of Berklee’s Music Business/Management Department.
In collaboration with the Berklee Hip-Hop Club, student artists and producers who had submitted their music in advance received individual feedback on their work from the two industry executives. In addition, Dillard and Joseph shared advice on some of the best practices to navigate the hip-hop industry, often with examples from their own careers and experiences.
“The A&R listening session is a unique and enriching opportunity for our students to gain real-world feedback from the highest echelons, like Gordan Dillard and Wallace Joseph,” said Wares. “Their fair and honest critiques, coupled with their evident impression of our students' work, underscore the depth of talent we nurture here. By fostering these exchanges, we’re not only bolstering career development but also celebrating and promoting hip-hop culture within our campus.”
The second half of the symposium featured a conversation, titled “Real Talk,” between Dillard and Tonya Butler, chair of Music Business/Management. Dillard, who is also a cofounder of Good Day Management, discussed his career trajectory, how he met and manages superstar client Doja Cat, and the importance of collaboration.
"I'm collaborating as much as possible with people that know things that I don't know,” said Dillard. “It's very important to utilize the talents around you.”
Added Butler, “I was impressed with the extent to which Dillard preached the importance of bringing value to everything you do. I was thrilled to hear him continuously emphasize what it means to have something to offer when working with others. He was ‘dropping gems’ during the entire talk.”
Dillard’s long list of accolades include landing on Variety’s 2021 Hitmakers list, Billboard’s 2021 40 Under 40, and Billboard's R&B Hip-Hop Power Players list for 2022 and 2023.