“If you have a goal, never allow anyone to steer you away from what you believe in your heart is right for you.” –Dedry Jones
The music industry has changed. There is no fighting it. Rolling out had a discussion with a group of 20-somethings and asked them point blank what would make them consider buying a CD in 2015. In most instances, they mentioned that they would not buy one because they can go to a litany of social media sites to listen to their favorite artist; however, they did mention if they are truly a fan of an artist and the project is attached to some type of movement or message, they will spend the money to be part of it. The industry has been slow to change and has slowly been joining the shift.
Dedry Jones, owner of The Music Experience in Chicago, is a businessman who understands this shift and has created an event known as The Experience to address this and to give fans a more personal and intimate view of their favorite artist.
Rolling out spoke with Jones recently and we discussed his vision and how he has been able to be successful in a changing industry.
Tell us about yourself.
I am simple person who has an ongoing burning passion for music, books, art and movies. I believe in love, truth, honesty, friendship and God.
What is your mission?
My mission is to bring a smile to as many faces as possible through my God-given abilities.
How long have you been in business?
May 1, 2015 was my 26th anniversary.
Congratulations on 26 years! What inspired you to do The Experience?
I began The Experience as a result of realizing quite some time ago that labels were not promoting and marketing music that I loved on a personal level — adult-skewed music. Everything was geared toward very young people, so I wanted to support the artists that I loved and admired. I started with an event for Rachelle Ferrell that eventually morphed into The Experience. Rachelle is a friend who was having hard time with the label she was on in reference to that marketing push.
Of all of the artists you have interviewed, who was the most memorable?
That is a difficult question because I truly believe each Experience (and there have been 84 of them) have special and memorable elements about them. If I had to choose, I can say I was most excited about Ashford and Simpson because they have always been my favorite group. Then there was Maxwell, who was gone for so long and his Experience was such a compliment to me from an artist and a label to be entrusted with him for an Experience. But the most memorable answer to a question came from Lyfe Jennings. When asked what makes your heart smile, he answered being able to pay his child’s health insurance. That said so many things on so many levels based on history and still touches me to this very day.
What is it about what you do that allows you to have staying power?
I think my obvious love of music and my honesty about music have served me well since people trust my opinion and viewpoint on music. Plus I realize that great customer service will keep people coming back to you over and over.
What do you think leads an individual to success?
Determination, effort, faith and a ridiculous amount of work.
What is the future of The Experience within the next five years?
My ultimate goal for The Experience has always been and still is to have it televised.
What words of wisdom would you like to leave with our readers?
If you have a goal never allow anyone to steer you away from what you believe in your heart is right for you. But also realize that there may come a time to move on to the next idea – know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.
What is the meaning of life?
I honestly have no idea how to answer that question. That can be answered in so many different ways. I think the meaning of life is to leave a meaningful mark that speaks to what has always been in your heart.
The Experience with BILAL promoting his newest release “…in another life” will be July 10, 2015, at Salaam Restaurant at 706 W. 79th St. Chicago Illinois, 60620
Tickets are available online: www.amusicexperience.com
Tickets are also available at The Music Experience
1959 1/2 East 73rd St. Chicago Illinois
Eddy Lamarre aka Precise is a hip-hop artist-writer-actor from Chicago. The Chicago Reader recognized “Ladies Love Mixtapes” his latest release as one of the best projects of 2014. Listen/Buy Ladies Love Mixtapes at: https://precise.bandcamp.com/album/ladies-love-mixtapes-the-ep