A&R executive Tina Davis, who’s portfolio boasts major acts like Chris Brown and the “Preachers of” franchise, is among the talented trio of judges charged with bringing the best out of this season’s contestants on “The Next Big Thing.”
The music competition series puts 12 up-and-coming music hopefuls through a music boot camp designed to produce the next superstar. In the end, two contestants will have the opportunity to meet and perform in front of four major record executives with the hopes of securing a deal with a label.
Rolling out sat down with Davis to discuss how “The Next Big Thing” is different from the other reality shows in its genre and why artist development is crucial to the longevity of an artist’s career.
How is the “Next Big Thing” different from other reality competition shows?
Most shows just showcase talent. Yes, they can sing but there’s more to it than that. To be entertainer, your job is to evoke emotion. You have to learn how to entertain people. There are not a lot of shows that showcase a boot camp of artist development. It’s key in entertaining and reinventing yourself through the years.
With the explosion of social media, and the means for artists to promote themselves online, how does that component play into the boot camp preparation that you’re giving the artists on the show?
I think for people who become famous on the internet, it’s hard to get them to understand why they need artist development. Social media will allow you to become a star overnight with one song, but that doesn’t make you an entertainer. You can’t prove you can sell 1500 seats in an arena.
We’ve seen a number of artists attempt to translate that online to success to real life and fall short. You’ve had tremendous success with Chris Brown in the R&B lane. What do you make of today’s musical landscape?
It’s extremely diverse. I think today, because of the way people are consuming music, the barriers are down. Everyone can do whatever they strive to do. The best thing artists can do is not inhibit themselves and allow yourself to be free.
Speaking of free, Zaytovan and Dame Dash, both incredible contributors to the music industry join you as co-judges. What are the best parts of working with the Dame and Zaytoven?
We know Dame has a voice and is very clear on what he feels and thinks. I think it’s refreshing because these young people want to be great and they can’t have someone sugarcoat the truth. You need pressure to make a diamond. As a producer, Zaytoven is pulling things out of the contestants they never thought about. He’s like a brotherly uncle, but he will also tell you the truth. We all compliment each other.