Q&A With Shawn Prez & The Global Spin Awards

It’s winter time, which also means awards season. In between hitting the Grammys and the Oscars, many will be celebrating the achievements of the industry’s Top DJs at the 6th Annual Global Spin Awards in Los Angeles, at the Novo by Microsoft Theater on Thursday, February 15, 2018. The legendary Snoop Dogg is this year’s host.

DJ Khaled, DJ Envy, Marshmello, The Chain Smokers and Funk Flex, are among this year’s nominees, chosen from submissions across 30 categories, including DJ of the Year, Female DJ of the Year, and Celebrity DJ of the Year, etc. Grammy Award-winning songwriter/ producer Timbaland will receive the “Lifetime Achievement Award” and CEO of So So Def and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/ producer Jermaine Dupri will receive the “Breaking Barriers Award.”

Global Spin Honorees: (top row: Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri, DJ Drama; row 2 DJ Carisma, DJ Khaled; row 3 Diplo, DJ Envy, Metro Boomin

Last year’s show was hosted by Rap Legend Tip “T.I.” Harris and attended by some of the industry’s biggest entertainers including Dave Chappelle, DJ Khaled, Joey Badass, No Limit and more. The 2018 Global Spin Awards will air exclusively on REVOLT on February 22 at 9pm EST/6pm PST.

Shawn Prez is Founder of the Global Spin Awards. Music Industry Quarterly Magazine (MIQ) recently caught up with Prez to discuss the show’s move to Los Angeles and how it’s grown over six years.

MIQ: Congrats on your sixth year. Explain your concept for the awards show, and why you chose DJs?

Shawn Prez: The full answer is I’ve worked with DJs for the better part of my career. I was VP of Marketing & Promotions at Bad Boy Entertainment for many years. We always launched our records from the clubs and at Mixshow Radio. The DJs were an integral part to how we broke our records. I understood the important role that the DJ played in the success of our artists. I wanted to give them credit. Second, there was just a void in the marketplace. I’ve watched so many artists receiving their accolades at the MTV VMAs, the Grammys, the American Music Awards, the BET Awards, etc. The DJs, who are on the front line bringing this music to the masses, weren’t being acknowledged within a public forum or by the artists.

MIQ: How did you come up with the numerous categories and who does the voting?

Shawn: We’ve taken pride in modeling the Global Spin Awards after the most successful awards ceremonies. We wanted to really look at what they were doing right and what could use improvement. We totally understand the DJ culture, and that all DJs aren’t necessarily created equal. Some DJs make their success in the clubs but aren’t necessarily good on radio. Some are great on radio but not necessarily good at turntablism. Some play Urban music but don’t play EDM, while others play open format.

We continue to tweak the categories. I think we have it pretty much nailed down now, with an entire team here working, including input from DJs, too. We created a voting body, which is called The Bureau, consisting of club promoters, record execs, writers, producers, etc. We handpicked them, and we have literally about 1,000 people on The Bureau. We’ve invested in the same technologies that the major awards show have. We have a system where every member can vote anonymously. We send out ballots. We get our nominees. And come up with the winners. It’s really the same process as the major award shows.

MIQ: Discuss the major undertaking of putting on an event of this size.

Shawn: Wow! If I were speaking to my younger self, then I probably would have never gotten into this [laughs]. I jumped in fully, though. I always wanted to put the DJs front and center. DJs influence recording artists, actors and athletes, and I didn’t just want to put DJs in a room with other DJs. I wanted to provide the platform where the entire entertainment industry comes out to honor them, and do it on level that was respectable, and that had integrity. What I’ve noticed each year is that the DJs themselves have become the biggest ambassadors. They are the ones getting the artists to come and support them on their big night. That Global Spin trophy is always the biggest star of the night and everyone wants to receive one.

MIQ: What prompted the move to Los Angeles after five years in New York?

Shawn: The biggest awards ceremonies are held in Los Angeles. For us the plan was always to make it to L.A. If we ever wanted to have the credibility or to be taken seriously on a level of these major award shows, we had to get out to Hollywood.

MIQ: Talk about your longtime relationship with P. Diddy, and partnering with his Revolt brand.

Shawn: He has been very important in my life and as a person, and in my professional career. When we started the Global Spin Awards six years ago, there was no Revolt. I knew I wanted to get this onto television from out the gate. When we did our first show with 350 seats, we couldn’t fill it. The vision was always to make it bigger and get it on television. I didn’t know what station or network at the time. I had no idea. Sean Combs winds up launching a network, Revolt TV. He wanted to create a network and fill a void that MTV and VH1 left behind, and that focused on artists and the music. The Global Spin Awards is a natural fit to what he is doing.

MIQ: What are you looking forward to most about this upcoming experience?

Shawn: We’re in L.A., and are introducing the Global Spin Awards to an entire audience that may have not had an opportunity to come and see what we do firsthand. It kicks off NBA AllStar Weekend, so many of the athletes, actors and actresses will be in the building. That for me is very exciting. We’re opening this up to more people. I’m a person who constantly challenges himself, and with the show we have planned this year, I know we’re taking this platform to another level.

For an entire list of nominees and more information on the show, visit globalspinawards.com