Shawn Prez is an Entrepreneur and Founder of the “Grammy’s for DJs,” the Global Spin Awards. The South Bronx native got his start at a young age, as an intern for P. Diddy, and quickly rose through the ranks to become a VP at Bad Boy Entertainment, while also being known as Diddy’s “Ambassador to the Streets.” Prez’s hunger for entrepreneurship and respect for professional DJs and the music industry as a whole led him to create the first industry recognition show just for DJs – the Global Spin Awards. Now in its sixth year and taking place in Los Angeles for the first time ever, the event is known as the “Grammy Awards for DJs” and is set to honor Timbaland, Jermaine Dupri, DJ Khaled, Steve Aoki and more.
How did you get into the music and entertainment industry?
I started in the music industry as an unpaid intern, first working for Arista Records, Atlantic Records, an independent record label and eventually found my way to Bad Boy Records. After the internship, I secured a coordinator position and worked my way up to the Vice President role. Working at Bad Boy Records presented me with significant business opportunities and the experience I needed to eventually launch my own marketing firm, Power Moves Inc. and the Global Spin Awards.
Any emerging entertainment/music industry trends?
In today’s digital world, musicians no longer need to get signed to a record label to be successful. More and more each day, new musicians are getting discovered via social platforms, like Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube and more. It’s definitely a trend to watch.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The influx of social platforms present great opportunities for emerging musicians to be discovered, but on the flip side, it can also be challenging to get your voice heard in a crowded space. Up and coming musicians need to be strategic to get their name out there, and they also need to be prepared to face the criticisms that come along with the world stage – that is social media.
Inspiration for the GSA, and your vision for it?
My inspiration for creating the Global Spin Awards came after I realized there was a void in the marketplace, in terms of recognizing professional DJs. I always saw DJs as the backbone of the music industry – not many people realize how many mainstream songs were first discovered by a DJ who decided to play it on the radio or in the clubs. Until now, I never really felt that DJs were recognized for their contributions to the music industry and bringing music to the masses. The vision of the Global Spin Awards is simple: To be the Grammy’s or the Academy Awards for the professional DJ community.
What's next for GSA in the near future?
Currently, we are hyper-focused on our 2018 ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22nd. In the near future, we will continue living up to our name to really increase our global presence. We want to take our brand and expand further to countries beyond the U.S. This year, we have a few international nominees – such as DJ Osyris from Australia and DJ RENA from Japan, and we want to continue to grow our international nomination categories to recognize DJs from around the world.
Your key initiatives for the success of GSA?
To me, it is very important to remain credible and legitimate. No matter how big the Global Spin Awards grow, we need to keep the legitimacy of the nomination process alive and remain credible in our process, to continue gaining the respect of the community.
Your most difficult moment with GSA? (and what did you learn?)
Most difficult moment with the Global Spin Awards was when we started with a shoe string budget at day one. Back then, we did the production on our own for the first three years. We learned that we had to hire a professional production company to take the reins. Shortly thereafter, REVOLT TV approached us to take on broadcasting the show, and they saw a great response from their viewers. We’ve been with REVOLT ever since.
. Ideal experience for a viewer while watching GSA?
The ideal experience for a viewer while watching the Global Spin Awards would be that they are discovering this new type of ceremony that we are, and understanding that we are unlike anything else in the sense that the show is centered around DJs themselves. We also love when our viewers discover new DJ talent and music.
How do you motivate others?
Lead by example. I also push the team to achieve results beyond what they believe they are even capable of achieving. I’m always pushing for an inch more.
Career advice to those in your industry?
My career advice would be to understand that the entertainment and music industry is a very small, difficult industry to penetrate, and it’s even more difficult to remain relevant. You can never rest on yesterday’s achievements. It’s always about what you’re doing now.
What do I do best?
Lead by example
What makes me the best version of myself?
Knowing my strengths as well as my weaknesses and staying true to myself.
What are my aspirations?
Continue building businesses bigger than myself
My Biggest Success?
Raising my son will always be my biggest success.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Leaving Bad Boy Records and starting Power Moves Inc.
Live life on life’s terms.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Oprah Winfrey, Mohammed Ali and Al Haymon
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Florida – Fort Lauderdale
My Favorite Products/Objects?
All electronics and gadgets. I switch phones every year. Sonos Speakers
My Current Passions?
Enjoy going to church more than ever. My faith in God is a major passion, outside of business. I enjoy building – the GSA is a passion of mine that continues to grow year over year. Continuing to build entities and watching them flourish.