Executive Spotlight: Q&A with Jennifer Horton

Jennifer 6A&R, Manager, Talent Curator, Entrepreneur, Educator

Whether she’s working with up and coming producers/songwriters, getting songs placed in movies and various projects, or consulting for superstar artists like Chris Brown, Jennifer Horton is a businesswoman constantly on the go. In between daily operations as head of her two companies, JRH Entertainment Group and Matrix Artists, it’s amazing that she finds the time to educate young minds on the intricacies of the music industry.

Talk a bit about the two companies you represent: JRH Entertainment Group and Matrix Artists, and the services they provide.

I definitely wear many hats having two companies. Matrix Artists is a full service management company I started in 2013 with a track record of success and expertise in career development, branding, touring, A&R, crisis management, and multi-media production. We have been responsible for breaking new artists and hit records, managing creative talent behind the scenes, putting together live shows for TV and tours, as well as strategy and deal-making on an A-list level.

JRH Entertainment Group is a consulting company that I started in 2009 to service a variety of clientele including select high profile music production companies, independent labels and corporate brands with a specific goal in mind, whether it be artist development, placing records, launching a major label style release and promo campaign, securing record deals, or implementing a brand campaign.

What songwriters, producers, and artists do you currently represent?

I am lucky because I represent and get to work with such an array of talent. Currently, I manage Platinum producer, writer and artist FKi 1st,, trendsetting LA Hip-Hop artists and songwriters The Rej3ctz (Mowii, Bounc3, Pee Wee), producer/musician Gil Smith II, and Atlanta production team The AP Factor (AP & Abe). I also work with Chris Brown and his CBE/Black Pyramid imprint, and as part of my A&R role at Artist Publishing Group (APG) under Mike Caren, I handle multi-Platinum producers/songwriters The Futuristics (Alex Schwartz & Joe Khajadourian).

What are some of the key projects you’ve recently gotten placements for?

I am super excited about my recent placements as well as the new projects I have in the pipeline. As an A&R Consultant at APG, I helped to place records on Chris Brown & Tyga’s album Fan of a Fan 2 as well as Chris Brown’s new single “Zero” off his next album “Royalty” (RCA), with my A&R partner Mijo. I also helped to place a record on Diplo’s artist Dillon Francis called “All That,” featuring The Rej3ctz & Twista for his album “Money Sucks Friends Rule” (Mad Decent/Columbia).  The song has become a hit at EDM festivals and has been licensed several times already including in Horrible Bosses 2, America’s Best Dance Crew and now is the trailer song for the new movie Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (Paramount), releasing on Halloween. I’m also working on records for the Black Eyed Peas, Austin Mahone, 2Chainz, Post Malone, and more.

How do you decide which projects/clients you want to take on?

I really enjoy having my own company because I can decide who I want to take on, but every project/client is different. I definitely look for a client I can be passionate about and that I feel is a fit for as far as their talent, work ethic, creative versatility, and the ability to work as a team toward a common goal. Getting involved in a client’s career is an important commitment and often requires a huge investment of time and resources, so I like to really know who I am backing and fighting for. That part often takes time which is why having mutual connections or having worked together before on a project can be key.

Give us some background on your music industry career prior to starting your own company(s).

Where do I begin because it has been a long road! Prior to starting my own company, I had the opportunity to work my way up from intern to assistant to talent agent in a mid-sized talent agency to then become head of my department; so I had to understand what it meant to take on the responsibility of finding work for clients, negotiating their deals, collecting payment and ultimately building growth in their career. I took that with me into a position at a boutique management and production company where I worked for several years with both new and established artists, bands, and songwriters, including members of Pop girl groups The Pussycat Dolls and Danity Kane along with several actors and personalities like Elise Neal and Lamorne Morris before starting my own management and consulting company. My first consulting client was Ciara and I went on from there to keep working and mastering all aspects of artist management, which eventually I was able to fuse into Matrix Artists.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Wow, I can’t remember the last time I had a “typical” day! For me, every day is different and often spontaneous depending on what I wake up to in my email and on social media. As soon as I’m up I start replying to whatever is urgent and return my east coast and international calls. Then I usually start off my day at Starbucks reviewing my goals, priorities and daily to do list to make sure I’m focused on what needs to get done. From there the day could be meetings with attorneys, labels, publishers or could be a day of grinding at the office handling deals and contracts, or meeting with my team to go over releases and checklists of what each client has going on. In the evenings I’m frequently at a studio session, a rehearsal or a show with a client or industry event to stay on top of what’s happening. Then at night I take time to reflect and prepare to do it all over again.

As a manager/talent curator what’s the best advice you give those impatient clients who feel their careers aren’t moving as fast as they would like?

Well, my advice is very simple for those impatient clients and that is – make a plan, work on it every day, and have PATIENCE! In addition to that my advice is – don’t get in the way of letting your story build. People can tell who laid the groundwork and who is trying to skip around. There is still so much value in a great story of hard work and creativity coming to the forefront that we all want to discover and experience – it’s all part of the cycle of art and commerce. Just make sure you are being consistent every day to make progress toward your goal and be productive in whatever way is in reach on that day to move forward. If you lay the right foundation, it will all come together in ways you can’t even predict.

And once they achieve some modicum of success, what’s the next level of advice?

One thing about success is that you have to define it for yourself, especially as an artist. First off keep your creativity in the forefront and strive to be the best in your lane, your genre, and beyond. With that said, it’s important to stay focused and know who you are. Keep in mind your original plan even as new situations present themselves. Ideally, you have built a team along the way that you know and trust. Keep grinding with them toward the next goal or benchmark. Also, don’t get so caught up that you don’t stay plugged into your business. Make sure you are maximizing every opportunity. Create more avenues for revenue while you’re hot. Also reinvest in yourself.

What is next for Jennifer Horton?

I am excited about this new opportunity that allows me to share my knowledge and experience through teaching. I was recently asked to join the faculty at Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) to help launch their new Music Business Degree program. I created a class called “Building the Artist’s Team” that I just started teaching for the Fall 2015 semester.

For more information on JRH Entertainment Group, visit matrixartists.com or matrixprod.com