One of the great things about the Christmas holidays is that it gives you time to get caught up on some reading. A book that I’d been dying to pick up for a long time was LA Reid’s autobiography Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next. Aside from what I do with SHIFTER, I also do a bit of talent management so anytime you get a chance to learn from one of the best, you gotta take it.
Sing to Me is a story about a black kid from Cincinnati, Ohio, who, through some important people in his life, develops a love for music at an early age. Through stories and personal photos, we learn about his first love, drumming, and how through a series of accidents and open doors, becomes a songwriter, producer and eventually executive.
Through this book, LA Reid offers us a crash course in the inner workings of the music industry, from songwriting and producing to discovering and developing talent. We learn how he discovered some of the top artists of the past three decades, including TLC, Usher, Pink, Outkast, and Justin Bieber. We learn the background stories of some of our favourite pop songs. We also learn about his biggest regret, giving up on Lady Gaga too early.
LA Reid doesn’t hold back. He’s completely honest about his successes, as well as his mistakes, failures and weaknesses. What we discover about Reid is that he’s just like you and me; at times he’s insecure, doubts himself, and flat out doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. What we’re left with is an honest and real rags to riches story from one of America’s leading cultural influencers.
It’s not everyday that you find a book that impacts you deeply. This was one of those books. It was honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It impacted and inspired me as an entrepreneur, black man, and someone that has a deep love for the entertainment industry. Through this book I’ve uncovered more about who I am, as well as the person, entrepreneur and leader I want to be. If you’re working in the music industry (or aspire to), are a entrepreneur/dreamer, or simply a fan of music, I highly recommend Sing to Me.