INTERVIEW: Southern Laced Talks to Jeremy Hill aka JD About How He Became One of Atlanta’s Most Successful Promoters

Jeremy Hill, also known as JD, is an Atlanta based veteran-turned promoter with over 20 years’ experience in music industry. He is the orchestrator of various sold out shows which include: 

  • Anita Baker (three shows sold out),
  • Fifth annual All Atlanta Show (sold out three years in a row), 
  • Legends of Southern Hip Hop tour, Maze ft. Frankie Beverly and many more.

JD has produced well-noted shows for over 8 years, which has contributed immensely to the economy and evolving music and entertainment industry in Atlanta, Georgia. These shows reflect and highlight an era when blacks were not regularly in the spotlight.

With a desire to produce and market events that effortlessly took music lovers down memory lane, JD was able to promote over 65 shows in 2017 alone. Each show was deemed successful as fans flocked to buy tickets, which quickly sold out due to multitudes of attendees.

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JD has had the opportunity to promote shows headlining veteran artists like Sheila E, Morris E. Day, Musiq Soul Child and Stephanie Mills, who have all received a proclamation from the city of Atlanta.

Some of his upcoming shows include:

  • An Evening of Smooth Jazz (May 5, 2018)
  • Three sold out Anita Baker shows (Mother’s Day Weekend)
  • And ATL Soul Life Music Fest (Memorial Day Weekend).

Join me as I delve into a conversation with him on his journey so far as a promoter.

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Jeremy Hill – Courtesy of Zeriba Media – Fall 2017

What advice do you have for young and aspiring promoters who would want to follow in your footsteps?

I’ll just say study, get somebody like myself that can teach you some things, ask questions, and attend some live concerts. You can also enroll for an internship with professionals to learn about the nitty-gritty.

Obviously, I have made some mistakes, which I wouldn’t have made had I been involved in an internship.

What makes you not want to work with an artist?

There are some artists who don’t pay, but I still make sure I put them on the show. You just want to give them an opportunity to make some money. But some of them aren’t loyal and that makes me not want to work with them anymore.

Can you tell us how you secured your very first artist and event to promote?

If you don’t have a good relationship in the business, it’s going to be pretty difficult to secure an event. But if you have a good relationship, it’s going to be an easy route for you to take.

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Jeremy, Sheddrick Clark, and Morris Day – Courtesy of Norman Johnson

How do you feel when you think about how your career as a promoter has flourished over the years?

Honestly, I haven’t really looked back. I really don’t know if I’m close to where I want to be. I feel like I’m too young to be satisfied right now.

I don’t think about it. I just work year in and year out.

In 2017, you promoted over 65 concerts. How do you find time to actually balance personal life and work?

I try to manage my time. I stay with my family on the weekend when I’m not working. Sometimes Monday through Friday…

Family is very important to me. I don’t take it for granted.

Over the years, you’ve had the opportunity to see many legendary artists like Prince in concert. April 21st marked the second year anniversary of his death. Tell us what it was like to experience his concert.

That was a tremendous experience. Coincidentally, it coincided with my birthday and the experience was just awesome all together.

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Crowd shot – Courtesy of ConnectingYOUto PR Firm

What are the things that you do on a daily basis that makes you stand out and succeed in the goals that you’ve set for yourself?

I get up early in the morning. Then, I go to the gym. The lady in my life helps me through this and it gets my day started.

I have lots of relaxation time. I just know when to put the phone down and not do business. Some people don’t know how to cut it off, but I do.

What are the key factors of success that can help upcoming promoters?

You have to be passionate about what you do. Sometimes people pay lip service to what they have to do. You must know that you need to make various sacrifices. Concentrate on your dream and set goals. Then, work towards it.

How does it feel to play such a huge role in sustaining good music?

It definitely feels good because when we started, there used to be one old-school event all year round. When we tried to organize the show, I just loved the response we got and how we got people back together to experience various phases of their lives.

It feels good.

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2016 Jazz Festival – Courtesy of Zeriba Media

How did you manage to become the “point man” that people will always call on to “sell out” these arenas?

It’s been something I’ve been passionate about. I think I’m blessed with the ability to be able to get the public what they want. I just try to make the show worth one I would attend myself.

What do you think is the role of a contract promoter because people tend to have dropped the term promoter recently?

You’ve got a lot of money in the contract. If something goes wrong, it could be catastrophic. There are definitely different demographics to different situations where these terms can be differentiated.

Your biggest show which brings a lot of people together was compared to a great legendary show. What do you think?

I didn’t even know it was compared to any show. But it was definitely an honor. I just try to always put something together that will stand out and stand well in the market.

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What does it mean for you to be a part of bringing Anita Baker to Atlanta during her Farewell Tour and having three sold-out shows? 

It is a huge honor for me because there are so many people who wanted to get to work with Anita Baker but couldn’t. I was challenged to deliver and it was all a great and wonderful experience altogether working with her.

What are your plans for the Soul Music Festival? And how do you get so many people to attend?

We actually branded it to be an annual event. It’s going to be a more refreshing event every year.

I just applied faith and when I talk to the artists and performers, they just agree. It’s also basically because of the love for the music. And when you make the show something that everyone could relate to, then I guess it’s pretty easy to connect.

What is the most rewarding part of Soul Life Music Festival?

The most rewarding part is seeing people come together for the one and only purpose of having a nice time and connecting with each other with smiles on their faces.

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Do you agree with the statement, “You don’t choose your mentor, your mentor chooses you?”

I do agree with that because I have given some people opportunities and they connect well. Basically, it depends on the attitude of the person towards learning.

Are you open to people who want to get an internship or mentorship?

Definitely. As I said before, it all depends on the attitude and character of the person. You just have to be prepared and give it a shot.

Do you consider what you do a love for the money or a love for the business?

Well, I’ll say both. Definitely, love for the business because every show that is successful comes with that.

For more information about upcoming shows by Jeremy Hill, please check out  www.ILGent.com.

THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN EDITED AND CONDENSED BY SOUTHERN LACED.

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