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Tinie tempah record label

GQ Hype. Find yourself daydreaming in the office about a career change? How does being one of the music industry's leading businessmen sound? Each week, we speak to people who have the jobs of our dreams to find out how they got there and what you can do to be more like them. Today, we meet Dumi Oburota, the multi-hyphenate manager responsible for getting the likes of Tinie Tempah and Yxng Bane on your daily playlists. Get ready for some serious career goals Dumi Oburota is the kind of man who can be in four cities over four days and not bat an eyelid about it. Fifteen years later, he has a joint venture with Warner Music that has seen Disturbing London enter a partnership with Parlophone, the Warner subsidiary that was once home to The Beatles. Plus, he's also a regular face on GQ 's annual Best-Dressed Businessmen list, so if you're in need if some workwear inspiration, then look no further than his Instagram feed. Music can be particularly tough to break into, not just as an artist, but also as someone behind the scenes, and Oburota did it with nothing but a credit card, a phone and unrelenting determination.
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Tinie Tempah stretches to pick up a mug of tea while perched on the end of his swivel chair in a recording studio in South London. No matter, he leisurely leans forward, takes a big slurp, before slouching back into his seat. It also means he can treat the place like home. Brown sugar, mind. That includes most of his seven number one singles the most of any rapper in British history , his previous two albums which have spent 54 weeks combined in the top 40 as well as this latest record. Yet buying this studio was part of an even grander plan. Why just have your own space, he thought, when you can be your own record label, too? Surely, the smart thing is to cut out the person in charge — who can often see artists as disposable products fulfilling a current market need — to control your own destiny? This small, two-floor building then is the engine room of his business, Disturbing London, where he signs and develops his own artists, works on his clothing label and even designs the album covers. Parlophone essentially has a distribution and PR deal.
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Strangely enough, despite the number one singles and the music awards, the magazine covers and the global tours, it took a Smart car campaign to propel Disturbing London to the next level. The film feels fresh, authentic, like somebody had picked up a video camera and filmed their mates for a couple of months — albeit somebody with exceptional editing skills. It may have been devised in the boardroom but its spirit is that of the streets. Co-founder Dumi Oburota also sees the campaign as a pivotal moment in the Disturbing London story. Disturbing London does a lot. Founded in to manage the nascent career of its only client, Tinie Tempah, Disturbing London has since become a record label, fashion label, events company, publisher and global brand all rolled into one. Walking through the door I come face-to-face with Tinie Tempah — the life-sized cardboard version. One wall is decorated with many, many CDs and plaques commemorating various number one singles, platinum albums, success, success, success. Rex-Taylor first met Oburota while working at Parlophone Records. The pair hit it off immediately, as creative, talented, driven people tend to do, and in Rex-Taylor came onboard as general manager.
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Tinie Tempah stretches to pick up a mug of tea while perched on the end of his swivel chair in a recording studio in South London. No matter, he leisurely leans forward, takes a big slurp, before slouching back into his seat. It also means he can treat the place like home. Brown sugar, mind. That includes most of his seven number one singles the most of any rapper in British history , his previous two albums which have spent 54 weeks combined in the top 40 as well as this latest record.

Yet buying this studio was part of an even grander plan. Why just have your own space, he thought, when you can be your own record label, too? Surely, the smart thing is to cut out the person in charge — who can often see artists as disposable products fulfilling a current market need — to control your own destiny?

This small, two-floor building then is the engine room of his business, Disturbing London, where he signs and develops his own artists, works on his clothing label and even designs the album covers. Parlophone essentially has a distribution and PR deal. Almost every other aspect of his career is self controlled by him and his team, which has grown to 30 people. The first thing Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu Jr decided had to go was the name. School was where his music career started really, and his first audiences were his mates.

Come playtime, he would trot out to the playground and perform in front of them. Unlike the other would-be pop stars performing at lunch, his sessions were meticulously well planned — he would rap to lyrics printed out from his computer and, when he was done, carefully place them back in a ringbound folder that he nicked from his mum. While he was building up a collection of songs he did well academically, too. Yet rather than take his reward, he took another gutsy decision, and decided to delay enrolling to work on his music.

In the summer holidays a few people would take an interest and I would go from collective to collective. So I put my song Wifey on there and it went to the top of their chart for ten weeks. Firstly, Wifey was far ahead of its time, ditching the kind of brutal song lyrics delivered by American rappers of the time and replacing it with the kind of sweet, very British, slice-of-life observations that would propel Arctic Monkeys to superstardom.

Secondly, the reason he was able to afford to make a music video at all was because he financed the thing through part-time work selling double glazing. He stood out further still by staying behind for hours after every show, signing autographs and having photos taken with his fans. Then one night I went to Odeon and some big guy runs out to talk to me and it was him.

He had his own house and car and so I was super impressed. He became my manager, bought me a phone and helped me set up my own label, now called Disturbing London. Undeterred, he decided he could make a living from management, and so found out all he could about the profession from books and the internet.

When he eventually signed Tinie, he invested his student loan in his career — he was studying a degree in sports science at the University of Greenwich at the time — and made more money by buying old cars, doing them up and selling them on at a profit. And what Tinie may not have realised back then is that Dumi was using a bit of creative license of his own.

Rather than just turn up, Tinie and Dumi made their own luck one final time: the rapper had been keeping a blog called Milk and Two Sugars — you can guess why — as well as his YouTube account. The field was packed when he performed but, crucially, emptied out almost immediately after his set ended.

Why did he choose them? Because they were the ones prepared to travel down to his studio. Now you can cut out the middle man who is holding you back. Any smart, savvy business will sign them. I ask him how it all worked before the internet revolution, how someone like him would have got his break? Mitch was a relative unknown when they met, with his biggest gigs being at local club nights or universities, being paid a relative pittance.

One day, though, his cousin managed to get him a spot on a tour with N-Dubz, the short-lived Camden hip hop band, as a support act.

Currently, Disturbing London has seven acts on its books and a number of success stories among them. For example, former signee All About She, a trio of garage producers, scored a top 20 hit and have gone on to collaborate with Calvin Harris, while year-old singer songwriter Sasha Keable has recorded with Katy B.

Careful not to name names, he presented me instead with an analogy based on his experiences. It goes to number one. Everybody is happy. Then, six months on, you call up her management and ask if they want to do another song. You give them a hit and then, later on, you ask for a beat in return. It taught me that nothing I have been through compares to what they had to do. Everyone is willing to step over people, so rather than throw myself in that ruthless business, I have a different ethos. The system is designed not to benefit the artist, only the label.

Labels see the artist as a product — as a commodity. Just another on the conveyor belt. There have been many before you and there will be many after. They end up relying on their management too much. It may only have been a 20 minute drive from Downing Street, but his choice of location was significant: set over , square metres and housing more than 7, residents, Aylesbury is not only one of the biggest council estates in Europe but one of the poorest and most crime-riddled, too, with stabbings and murders an annual occurrence.

Tinie was eight when Blair made that speech, and lived in Aylesbury at the time. His family rented one of the flats in the enormous Wendover House, and had a spot on one of its top floors. Of course, nothing much changed, and a quick Google search today brings up an almost infinite list of horror stories. In one particularly nasty episode in , for instance, two men were stabbed to death four months apart, but were found slumped dead against the very same bleak, concrete wall.

Nonetheless, his parents — who moved to Britain in their twenties from Nigeria — did manage to get out of there, and traded up to a semi-detached in Plumstead. It was no accident, though — and the pair worked multiple jobs while retraining and getting qualifications. His father, Patrick, originally set up a local barbers but retrained to be a social worker while his mum, Rosemaryan, worked her way up to becoming an NHS administrator. It taught me that nothing was an obstacle, and nothing I have been through compares to what they had to do.

Realising that the freshest produce was delivered long before the punters arrived in the morning, his mum would wake her son up at 4am, drag him out of bed and take him along as a chaperone.

It was cold there and full of dead animals and blood. That said, he also feels that tough backgrounds breed an endless cycle of poverty. Do what you want. And that is more of a middle class outlook on the world.

From the outside, this bungalow looks much like the others on the unassuming Sixties-built cul-de-sac, but the inside has been transformed to give it a distinctly Grand Designs feel — a Brazilian slate-floored courtyard surrounded by sliding glass doors dominates the middle of the house, while the walls are covered in black American walnut panels and the floor covered in chocolate brown Panga-Panga flooring.

Our shoot was meant to take place last Thursday, but he decided to push back that 17th August album deadline by a day in order to add some finishing touches to Youth. He finally arrives a smidgen before 3pm — well, he is a rap star, after all — with an entourage of seven, including his image consultant, PR and barber, among others.

Milk, two sugars. Much like everything else, it was a very conscious decision: he started dressing dapper as a teen when he was touring, as a way of making himself stand out from the dozens of scruffy rappers vying for attention.

No matter, as the first round of photos finish up, he hops over to the MacBook to see how they look. His style is best described as idiosyncratic: a mix of streetwear and British tailoring.

His favourite item is his denim shirt, he got his first tailored suit for his holy communion aged eight and yet he always names his style icon as Kanye West. It was, therefore, a particularly daunting task for us to find the right looks for him.

As we whiz through the different looks, he soon gets into his stride, and it helps that most of his gang disperse to check their phones. He transfers from the dining room to the bedroom, then onto the balcony and finally finishing up in the courtyard, wearing labels such as Burberry, Canali, Acne Studios and Matthew Miller.

I just want to release it, for it to be a seminal body of work, and be able to tour it around the world for the fans. Rather than see that tough Aylesbury estate as a source of bitterness, it was also the making of his family, too. Because his flat was so high up, and London so densely populated, it meant he could spot the nicer houses from his window. This is no-holds barred and music should be free like that. Want more from our cover stars?

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