We caught up with Lenny S. and spoke with him about his involvement in the exciting #BriskMode competition
Lenny Santiago, or Lenny S, as he’s more commonly known is a music industry heavy-weight. He’s currently SVP of A&R and Artist Management at Roc Nation and has worked with some of the greats. From Roc-A-Fella to Roc Nation, Lenny has been a supporter of Jay Z from day one. Lenny works with Kanye, Rihanna, Fab, Jadakiss and Khaled also helped put on Vic Mensa. Lenny’s got a lot of wisdom and agreed to share it with us and Brisk as a judge of the #BriskMode competition. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month this competition, whose winners will be announced tomorrow, gave 5 lucky participants the chance to attend Complexcon. Through 30-second Instagram video, contestants were required to showcase an original piece of music, fashion or art expressing their love and appreciation for their culture. Check out our exclusive interview with Lenny below and see what he had to say about the competition, the “it” factor and new talent.
Are you excited for Complexcon and the #BriskMode competition?
Very excited. I’m a big fan of seminars, festivals, music conferences etc. and I’m looking forward to judging and meeting the winner of the #BriskMode music contest. I’ve made a career out of being surrounded by aspiring artists so I hope to motivate them and be an example that working hard can pay off.
I know you’re from Puerto Rico and the Bronx, I live in the Bronx myself and know how important not only hip hop culture, but Latino culture is to that region, can you talk about how important it is for you to be a part of this #BriskMode program?
Its important for me cause as a young kid growing up in the Bronx I witnessed Hip Hop culture taking place. From the music, MC’ng & DJ’ng, break dancing, graffiti and fashion etc. I saw how much African Americans & Latinos had an influence on the culture. I wanted to be a part of that since the age of 11. I did any & everything I had to to get in the entertainment business so I can contribute to the culture myself. The #BriskMode Accelerator Program celebrates cultural heritages and Hispanic Heritage Month. It really encourages people to show how their own heritage has inspired their creative processes and gives them access to great mentorship.
How did you get involved in judging this contest?
When Brisk approached me with this idea I thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and empower young artists. I’ll be judging the music submissions and choosing a winner, giving me the chance to check out some new talent. And then I’ll be meeting with the winner, an aspiring artist, in November to talk through their work and aspirations.
In a previous interview you said the quality you look for in an artist is if people believe in them or want to be them, do you seek the same things when judging artists in different fields like visual arts or fashion?
Yes, the same thing applies. Everything has to make a statement. It has to jump out at people. When it comes to fashion, your style will stand out. Your accessories will compliment your outfit. Its all about expressing your individuality in the most unique way possible.
You’ve got a lot of history with Jay, can you talk about your relationship today and how far you’ve both come?
I can’t speak for him cause his accomplishments are obviously public knowledge. As for myself, I’ve come as far as I could with hard work, consistency and great relationships. My relationship with Jay is great. He’s my brother, boss, close friend, mentor and my idol. It’s the reason I’ve been with him for 20 years.
Can you talk about the first time you saw Vic perform live or heard his music and elaborate on that experience?
Vic has always had me in awe. I think he’s one of the best artist of his generation. When he performs, he demands the crowds attention and they completely give to him. He has great stage presence, amazing delivery and energy. I’ve been captivated since the first show.
Who’s an artist you’ve got your eye on right now, who you think is gonna be big?
Favorite album or mixtape of the moment? I Love Dave East, Joey Purp, Precious, Kevin Garret & Lil Uzi. I’ve been listening to Solange album nonstop. My fave right now.
You’re currently SVP of A&R and you manage artists. I’m hoping to be an A&R one day, what advice can you give to young aspiring A&R’s?
I suggest you discover an artist you 100% believe in. Artists that have a career ahead of them as opposed to one hit wonders and/or music for the moment. Build and develop that artist. Make music & content on your own and release it. Build your brand.
What’s the biggest mistake you can make in the music industry or any creative field?
Not delivering. Not being reliable. Not developing your relationships. Not keeping your word. Having a huge ego is a major problem as well.
Photo Credit: Roc Nation