Being employed in the entertainment industry, “Sing To Me” by L.A. Reid was eye opening. It serves as a story of vision full of failure, success, friendship, and words of wisdom that can guide you through the turmoil of being apart of the performing art world. The last line in the book said, “I always wanted to be surrounded by the people who were cutting-edge, people who were making what I call aspirational music, people who really didn’t care to be regular. They didn’t want to fit in. They always wanted to stand out.”
L.A. Reid created something from nothing. He realized his talents as a producer and a music business professional through his love of the drums. His focus and articulation in a passion that developed as a child and nurtured by his family turned him into some who truly cared about the art of music and the artists he helped bring to the top such as Usher, Meghan Trainer, TLC, Toni Baxton, and Rihanna. I feel connected to him in some weird way. Granted we grew up in different households and families, but something about his path and journey makes me feel that there is hope for anyone who has a dream and is willing to work hard to achieve it. Music business man Dick Griffy once said to Reid, “Yoh can make more money by accident in Los Angeles than you can on purpose in Cincinnati.” People have a tendency to stay with what is familiar. What is safe. Never leaving their hometown. Always contained in a bubble. Reid forced himself to constantly break out of that bubble from moving to Los Angeles to Atlanta to New York. Pushing the boundaries everyday with music and moving to new cities to expand his horizons.
Fear can be a weakness, but it can also be a driving force to succeed. When something bad happens it can paralyze you. It can stop you in your tracks to the point where all you want to do is lay in bed and shut out the world. When Reid’s friend Shakir suffered a tragic death via suicide Reid said, “I had to find the strength to do what I love. I had to pick myself up and get back to work…I knew the road ahead would be much tougher and more complex than anything I’d encounter before.” Finding the strength to move on and not constantly harp on what you could have done differently. Thoughts of what you could have done to change it can be a difficult emotion to fight, but in the end, it’s about letting go of the pain and the anger.
We are all looking to make a difference in this world. To make our actions something of consequence. L.A. Reid continues to produce and support artists – “to make music that is important, to move people for a higher power.” His biography is just the beginning of his story and it is far from over. If you are looking to learn the inner workings of the industry this book isn’t for you, but if you are interested in learning one man’s journey to music business, discovering talent, and finding his way; don’t be afraid to take a peak.
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