Bart Phillips understands the importance of next level thinking. For over 20 years, Philips has played a major role in the entertainment business by serving as a manager, VP of marketing at So So Def, VP of development at Warner Bros. His steadfast work has paid off and led to achievements that include two MTV Video Music Awards and an Emmy Award. Phillips, who now serves as the CEO and founder of Sunseeker Media, will executive produce the 2011 Soul Train Awards. Days before the big show, Phillips sat down with rolling out magazine to discuss his rise to stardom, the Soul Train Awards and the future of Sunseeker Media. –amir shaw
How did you get your first break into the entertainment industry?
I started when I was in college. I was able to tour with Luther Vandross, Prince and Aerosmith as a towel boy and gofer. I had the worst seat on the tour bus, but I worked hard and was able to come up.
When did you get your first big break?
I later became an artist manager. It was a good time because we were able to get several multi-platinum artists such as Arrested Development and Kris Kross. I was later hired by Warner Bros. I launched the careers of Alanis Morrissett, Eric Benet, and I worked on a Curtis Mayfield and Chaka Khan record. Jermaine Dupri later called and asked me to come to Atlanta to become VP at So So Def.
How did you expand beyond the music industry?
I later took an interest in the video side. I did some creative concepts on a commercial and eventually started working with an ad agency and helping with their marketing campaign. Many companies wanted to appeal to the urban market. So I would do treatments. I left So So Def, but many people in the TV game saw me as a new kid. There was one person who believed in me and that was Paxton Baker. He’s now the head of Cenrtic at BET. He’s the reason I’m the executive producer of the Soul Train Awards. I thank him for being a good friend and helping me become a real producer. He had all of these specials on BET J and I was able to meet others who believed in me.
What is the future of Sunseeker Media?
Sunseeker Media comes up with creative ideas for different companies. We produced the Source Awards, did some commercials, and are currently working on the Soul Train Awards. We are also working on TV shows, iPhone Apps, E-Books, websites and digital strategy.