2008 Emmy Award-Winning Mixer Creates New Business Model for Breaking New Artists

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Charlie "C.J." Jones Leads CBS' Guiding Light Audio Team to 2008 Emmy Win.

BET's 106 & Park, Showtime at the Apollo, Jamie Foxx's Laffapalooza, MTV's TRL, CBS's The Guiding Light, The Chris Rock Show. These are just a few of the shows mixed by veteran sound engineer Charlie Jones.

Coming off his 2008 Emmy win this month for Direct Live Sound Mixing of TV's legendary Daytime Drama "Guiding Light", Jones remains in demand. When an Executive in Charge of Production needs an audio mixer, Jones--or "C.J." as his friends and colleagues know him--is the go-to guy. And now he has broken new ground, launching his own musical artist development company, Urban Melodic Entertainment (UME).

UME (http://www.myspace.com/urbanmelodic) is a natural progression for C.J., a Howard University graduate and Chicago native who majored in music composition and minored in music business. The New York-based company is a natural extension of C.J.'s passion for music videos, which he developed while working as a freelance mixer for BET, MTV and VH1. Over the past three years, C.J. has been developing artists under his Urban Melodic Productions banner.

The primary focus of UME is artist development and management. "Most major labels are looking for artists in the pop/urban arena to walk in with completed albums," C.J. says. "The success of a show like American Idol has really changed the playing field. With the record industry undergoing a transformation unlike any we've ever seen, it is now more difficult than ever to break a new artist. The days are gone where an A&R executive signs a new artist with no track record, no original material and then develops that artist until they're ready. That process now takes a two-year commitment hard work, money and resources, and major labels don't have the time for that anymore."

That's where Urban Melodic comes in, finding, nurturing and developing new and exciting artists whose work has an urban appeal. "They can be in any genre," C.J. continues, "from pop to R&B to alternative to rap to jazz. We put them with the right producers and songwriters and work hard to create the right material." C.J.'s creative team includes such emerging producers as Blair Lavigne of New Orleans, Dave "DS" Stanley of Money Earnin' Mount Vernon, Jesse Rudoy (aka Blanche Dubois) and The Bronx/Brooklyn producer Michael Bell.

Established producers and songwriters have lent a hand to UME, as well, including Shea Taylor (Ne-Yo), Big Russ (Alt Radio remixer), Lawrence "Woo" Allen (Destiny Child remixes) New York's Scheme, Jayson Dyer (Salaam Remy, Nas, I-20). and songwriter Jenny Bruce (http://www.myspace.com/jennybruce) whose songs have been heard on Dawson's Creek and All My Children.

UME's innovative, one-stop-shopping approach to developing new talent encompasses the entire range of components necessary to make a musical artist a star. "I consider myself the finisher," says C.J. "I'll look at the entire project and figure out what's missing and come up with a track. I usually record and mix all the vocals and handle the mastering. Next we do all the ancillary things--bring in a vocal coach, a personal trainer, and work with a team of stylists to make sure the music and the visual image come together. Sometimes the artist comes to the table with a strong identity and sometimes it has to be built from scratch. Each situation is different."

Once the music is ready--or "on point," as C.J. says--UME starts to create industry buzz, either going directly to radio with a single, or generating a following on the street with mix tapes. UME also relies on Internet promotion, taking advantage of the massive exposure of such websites as MySpace, YouTube and iTunes.

Like many successful companies, UME began its skyrocket after a potentially devastating setback. In November 2005, C.J., along with colleague Jacqueline Manning, presented a showcase for then Columbia Records President Steve Greenberg. Manning had worked with Greenberg during his days at S-Curve Records, helping to break recording artist Josh Stone. But by February 2006, it was clear that a deal would not materialize. Undeterred, C.J. decided to launch Urban Melodic Entertainment.

"After the showcase," C.J. recalls, "everyone in the room kept commenting that the artists, material and caliber of talent were as good as any signed to a major label. I knew we could be competitive, and that it was time to take matters into my own hands." C.J. plans to leave his post at CBS in the fall of 2008, and devote all of his time to UME.

The first releases from UME are "Flatline," by 22-year-old R&B/Urban artist Sadiiya Rock, from Brooklyn, NY (http://www.myspace.com/sadiiyarock) produced and co written by German producer Marcus Brosch; and "Yeah," from 21-year-old pop/ powerhouse Emily Jackson, produced by Jayson Dyer, Neek Rusher and C.J. himself (http://www.myspace.com/emilyjacksonmusic) from Montclair, NJ. UME's plan for "Flatline" is two-tier: to create credibility for Sadiiya Rock on the street with her fans; then to place the song on a soundtrack. For "Yeah," UME has struck a deal with CBS's Guiding Light to feature the song in its newly revamped format, as well as showcase Emily on the Guiding Light website (http://www.guidinglight.net). Both singles will be serviced to radio in August 2008. Issy Sanchez of Elite Radio Promotion will be handling songs' promotion, while Jodi Riddick of Too Damn Talented will oversee the music video promotion.

Other single releases available on iTunes include: Tru Collins' "True Love" (http://www.myspace.com/trulovemusic); "If I Were Your G for a Day" by Gyant (pronounced Giant) (http://www.myspace.com/giantstorm); and Audrey Givens "Fine Wine" (http://www.myspace.com/audreygivens).

UME projects now in development include: Rapper "South Boy" from ATL (http://www.myspace.om/southboyatlmusic); Natosh, from Toronto, Canada, and her single "Fire" (http://www.myspace.com/natoshfans); 22-year-old jazz singer Chelsea Crowe (http://www.myspace.com/chelseasing); Julie Dubela, the unforgettable contestant from American Idol's Season 7 (http://www.myspace.com/juliedubelaofficial) ; and two newcomers recruited from New York's Tada Youth Ensemble, 15-year-old Jasmine Perez from Staten Island, NY, and 12-year-old Tori Green from New York, NY.


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