My Buffalo pal Carl West recently got discovered by Marquis Boone at Boone’s first ever “Discovered” conference in Georgia. Carl West, aka “C West,” is a singer who can play guitar and has a heart for the Lord. Boone is a Gospel music promoter who played a major role in introducing new talent to the Gospel music world recently– including Casey J and Bri!
So it’s exciting that Marquis Boone discovered C West at his “Discovered” conference.
In partnership with ASCAP, the oldest and most prestigious performance rights organization in the USA, “Discovered” was an intense, one-day long series of instructional sessions to assist those seeking to break into various aspects of the entertainment industry with workshops ranging from social media branding and songwriting to artist management.
“We attracted more participants than we targeted,” Boone says. “Throughout that day and since then I’ve received so many calls and emails from people who really appreciated the information they received.”
A who’s who of the Urban and Gospel music industry showed up to offer advice to aspiring entertainment professionals. Celebrity Vocal Coach “Mama” Jan Smith, who has worked with stars like Usher and Justin Bieber, as well as Crystal Nicole, who has penned songs for artists like Beyonce, shared some of their roughest experiences that propelled them to the next level in their careers. Lee Lee Lyons of the legendary R&B trio SWV talked about her own career ups and downs while also offering specific advice to various people requesting it during her discussion.
Throughout the day there were classes on publishing, getting songs played on the radio, songwriting skills, how to read recording contracts and public relations techniques. It all led up to the evening showcase of two dozen artists vying for a demo deal with Marquis Boone Enterprises. Hosted by Fonzworth Bentley, host of BET’s “Lift Every Voice” program, he hilariously emceed as a range of artists from inspirational rappers to traditional gospel acts performed for a four-person judging panel of industry leaders.
“It was very hard to pick a winner,” Boone says. “There were so many good artists but there were a couple who just already seemed ready for primetime so instead of crowning one winner, we did two.” The two winners were Jokia Williams, a singing guitarist from Texas with a style similar to that of Indie Arie, and C West, another guitarist with “more of a Lenny Kravitz vibe.” Boone will create commercial grade demos for both and the world will then wait and see what’s next for these first two “Discovered” graduates. I’m hoping Boone does a great job letting people know what I already know: C West should be known in the Gospel music world! –Mark Weber