After 5 years of working at Mercury Records as the 1st African American Vice President of a major record label, they offered me a one million dollar lifetime contract. (...)

As much as I was grateful for the time I had there and the #1 hits we turned out with artists such as my baby sis, Lesley Gore, I just knew I couldn’t see myself wakin’ up at 8am to put on a suit & tie for the rest of my life. So, I made the decision to quit and go in a different direction. I moved to California to pursue film scoring & did one of my first theme songs for a show called Hey Landlord.

People thought I’d absolutely lost my mind for leaving my job, but I did it because I believed in the potential of my future. It wasn’t an easy jump and it sure as hell wasn’t easy to become a film composer as a black man in an era in which they were only hiring European composers with three syllable last names … But I kept on going.

If I hadn’t made the jump, I might still be waking up at 8am with a suit and tie on (which isn’t a bad path by any means at all, it just wasn’t mine to take)! I say this because I think it’s important for y’awl to know that there is no “one” path and you don’t need to fit the mold if you know in your heart that you’re meant to outgrow it.

But remember, if you do make a jump (whatever that means for you) you gotta put in the work to back it up! Don’t expect it come after you … Go after it! … But if it goes south, don’t blame me for quitting your job. 

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Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée | With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union