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HHV Exclusive: Shawn Barron explains his role with Atlantic Records and how an artist catches his attention

Shawn BarronBy The Hip Hop Writer
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

Although the music business has changed and a growing number of artists have chosen to go the independent route, the major labels still have gems. Over at Atlantic Records, Shawn Barron is a high-ranking man in charge. Shawn Barron holds meetings with the biggest executives and works with the biggest artists, yet remains humble.

Most people get caught up in the hype of this business and focus on impressing the big names. In his hype, they fail to realize it is the people like Shawn Barron who truly hold the power to make and break in the palm of their hands. Shawn Barron got his start doing showcases and now he is a Senior Director at Atlantic Records.

Every rise to the top is different and each story needs to be told. Shawn Barron is currently working with rising “New West” star Ty Dolla $ign and is responsible for many other stars. Hip Hop Vibe talked to Shawn Barron about his job, what his day is like, and how artists could even be considered by him.

Read the entire interview below:

How long have you been in the record business? I have been in the music business for six years.

When did you realize this business was made for you? I was always a fan of music. People would always ask me what was hot and I could tell them all the new artists that were up and coming that many did not know about.

How did you wind up with Atlantic Records? I emailed the VP of A&R for Atlantic Records for this new artist showcase I put together with a couple friends in New York. He liked what I was doing, so we kept in contact. I would always send him the new artists that I thought were great. Now that I think about it, most of the artists I booked for the showcase ended up getting signed by different labels.

What does it take for an artist to catch your attention? The music is first. They have to be able to write their own music and it has to be different. I always believe in artist who are themselves and don’t try too hard to act like stars. I think an artist has to be themselves so that the consumer can relate.

Ty Dolla $ign is an artist you signed, what piqued your interest in him? His music was incredible to me. I was working on music for Trey Songz and used Ty frequently. Ty ended up co-writing “Fumble” on Trey’s most recent album. After that, I knew his writing ability was amazing and decided to check out his personal mixtape. Once I heard it, I knew Ty had the potential to be a great artist.

Can you describe your typical work day? I usually wake up around 7 am and start making calls and answering emails to schedule sessions for my artists, as well as booking sessions for producers and songwriters I like. I get to the office around 10 am. I start going through all the submissions I get on a daily basis. From there I take meetings with various artist, lawyers, managers, writers, producers, and publishers. After all that is done, I head to all the sessions I booked to check up on the progress. My day usually ends around 12 am.

Before you put anything into an artist, what do you need to see from them? I need to hear great music and I need to see a great amount of dedication. You can be extremely talented, but if you do not have the work ethic then the process becomes ten times harder. It is not an easy business to monetize.

What is the biggest misconception about record executives? That we do not check our emails. I listen to everything that hits my email. But, I can only respond to the submissions I think have potential due to limited time I have. I give everyone a chance.

Are there any artists in particular that you have interest in now? There are several that I wish I could name.

So people can follow you online, can you give us your Facebook and Twitter? You can find me on Facebook, here. Find me here on Twitter.

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