Interview by Keon Milkins
Name: Ray “Rayro” Romulus
College: SUNY New Paltz (2 years)
Company: The Island Def Jam Music Group, works with Jay-Z and L.A. Reid
Job Description: I sign artist to the record company. When I first started I had to get beats and songs for Tierra Marie.
Internship: I wanted to work at Bad Boy Entertainment. I got an internship there. After a good year and a half the work load became so heavy that I couldn’t go back to school.
Personal Assistant: After two years as an intern/assistant at Bad Boy, Puff’s (P.Diddy) assistant plugged me to Jermaine Dupri who was then the head of Black Music at Arista and he needed a New York assistant. So I met with him and got the job the same day. I was JD’s assistant for two years. I met a lot of people through JD because he has endless contacts.
A&R: Through my work with JD I built a relationship with L.A. Reid. L.A. Reid gave me the opportunity to be the A&R here at Def Jam. All of my contacts from Bad Boy and working with JD was useful. The transition was perfect. Easiest Part of my job: I feel like I was born to do this, so seeking out good music is pretty easy. Listening to different artists, if it’s hot you like it if not, next. Hardest part of my job: Sometimes you may think you have a hot record but then when you play it for the company they don’t like it. Then you’re like, I gotta get a hot record.
To do this job: You have to have foresight. Every time I see an artist I always see the bigger picture at the end of the road.
Tips for teens: Know what you want, network and get it done!
Intern for A Day
Name: Keon Milkins
Career Goal: A&R/CEO of my own record label.
Internship: A&R Dept. at Island Def Jam Music Group with Ray Romulus & his assistant
How did you spend your day? First, I got a tour of the record company and learned about all the different departments: A&R, publicity, finance, marketing and promotions. Second, I went into a room with a few producers and I got to listen to a whole bunch of beats. I got to share my opinion about the beats that
I heard, and who it would be better for Ludacris or Kanye West. Third, the A&R assistant, Kya, gave me the rundown of the daily operations in an A&R department and the music industry in general.
Biggest misconception about a record company: I thought I would see some recording artists. I also thought that it would be really busy and
hectic, with lots of music playing. Actually, it was very a regular office, a laid back environment with people doing their job.
Is this for you: Yes, I would love to work in the A& R department starting out as an assistant.
Most valuable lesson learned: If you work hard enough and make connections you can move ahead quick in this industry.