Carte Blanche Entertainment Group Founder, Ledonia Davis brings 18 years of Talent and Business Management experience with 10+ years focused on the music business. Carte Blanche is a Seattle based entertainment company geared to provide music management and consulting solutions to artist facing many of the challenges related to artist development, career streamlining and planning services – Just call her the “Olivia Pope” of Artist Management!
In a strategic collaborative situation, Ledonia is also the current A&R’s Rush Director for the West Coast Region under the Team Good Money (TGM) umbrella. The A&R Rush was created by TGM CEO Gary Coles, who was named the #1 Talent Scout in the US and he is also the current A&R for Dollaz Unlimited, which is spearheaded by Love & Hip Hop of NY – Rich Dollaz. The A&R Rush concept was created by Gary with the intent to provide meaningful opportunity and to compete with other sites – it is a platform which provides digital real estate for artist who want to create a visual buzz to fans and the industry. The site is a video aggregator, distribution and sharing platform. Designed to be a tool to assist independent Artists who are equipped to invest in the marketing and promotion of their crafts on-line. You can think of it as an affordable INDIE ARTISTS resources to connect and share on a global scale. Most importantly, the site provides an opportunity for registered artists to be selected monthly for BEST VIDEO by someone influential in the music business. This months cash incentive drawing is on Oct. 26th for $1,000!
This project is very exciting so currently, Ledonia is spending a good chunk of her time with the TGM Rush Movement, encouraging artist to register their high quality videos for a buzz and exposure. Outside of the RUSH movement generally her time is spent supporting her team – mapping out strategies to build the buzz for her current client list: a Dallas Rapper named Drastic (drasticondemand.com), Seattle Rappers – Velli & Cavalli Cash, a Gospel Hip-Hip group called (1ONE), R&B Artists’ C. Envy (NY), R. Harris (Chicago) and Russell LaKey (Atlanta).
Ledonia is known as a visionary and strong networker, always striving to move around, create a buzz and building blocks for artist nationwide. Understanding that Indie is the New Major she is focused on sharing opportunities to independent artist that have the passion, great work ethic, a budget, self-motivation and commitment not just interest – there is a difference between the two.
Hiphoplead.com – What’s going on Ledonia?
Ledonia- …Everything is everything, I am just ready to give a glimpse into my hustle!
Hiphoplead.com – It’s not often we get to speak with some of the peoples who make the wheels turn in the industry so bare with us while we pick your brain (laughs). For starts what made you take your managerial skills into the music bizz, why not something else?
Great question. First off, I am a music lover! Additionally, I have a degree in Business Management and also manage people in corporations in real life as well so it’s in my DNA. I have found that I am a great project manager with solid business acumen. On the people side of the business, as a writer and yes the creative type I have strong ability on the business operations side. I have a skill for assessing, developing, selling concepts or ideas. When working with artist, I excel at bringing the best out of people, especially at their worst.
Hiphoplead.com – Advo told us how hard you grind and we have seen it first hand here with all the artists you managed that have been featured on Hiphoplead.com. With a work ethic like you have what is your game plan for these artists. Are you guys trying to get signed to majors or go the Indy route?
Ledonia- This is our blueprint – Growing professionally/artistically, building a real fan base, making good music and making some money! The cornerstone of my success has been my ability socialize the right knowledge/info, put in the right work and doing the tactical or grassroots work to promote my artist. We are going to grind until Carte Blanche and my artist no longer have to introduce ourselves. None of my artists are actively seeking deals as they enjoy the creative control / freedom so far. It’s a longer grind but we have a team. However, if they are offered a compelling “situation” I am sure they would seriously consider it if it is mutually beneficial. Again the goal is to just keep making good music and connecting with fans who will become consumers.
Hiphoplead.com – Being you represent Producers, Rappers and RnB singers, which type of individual do you like working with the best?
Ledonia- I feel like I have a good ear so, I am flexible – but basically the hard working type. I don’t do flakes, people constantly in their feelings, those with people with enormous egos and personal issues. I minimize risks real quick –it’s just business.
Hiphoplead.com – Lets talk about Carte Blanche Entertainment Group. When did you first decide to start your own company?
Ledonia- I am truly entrepreneurial spirited – 12 years ago it started with a company called Music Ward Entertainment / Fugitive Tones Records and 11 artists. I was more of a silent investor and business partner. After awhile, I created my own lane and got more hands on, active and created
Carte Blanche as a spin off… let’s just say My OWN THANG!
Hiphoplead.com – Just to be clear, what services do you guys provide exactly?
Ledonia- Artist Management, development guidance, career planning and branding.
Hiphoplead.com –Let’s talk about you right now … so where are you from originally?
Ledonia- New Orleans, Louisiana.
Hiphoplead.com – What people have you looked up to in the industry for inspiration on your come up?
Ledonia- Russell Simmons and I have a respect for Mona Scott’s story / success. My mentor and rock is Dr. Syleecia Thompson of DYG management, the force behind Chicago’s Syleena Johnson.
Hiphoplead.com – Who are your top 5 favorite rappers of all time?
Ledonia- 2Pac, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Foxy Brown and KRS.
Hiphoplead.com – We noticed you represent a lot of artists from the South and West. Are there any artists on the East Coast you are interested in working with as well?
Ledonia- Actually, my artist C. Envy is from Mount Vernon, New York. As far as other indie artists to absorb into the team – I am with it, show me what you grinding with!! On a major level I would love to collab with 50, Swizz, Rico Love, Papoose, Nicki Minaj, Nas, Mos Def, Jay-Z or Fabolous….Ok …Ok, I know I am dreaming in color.
Hiphoplead.com – One of your artists who really caught our attention was Drastic. Since we had a chance to chop it up with him what else has happened with the young emcee? (That “I Own It” song was stuck in our heads for days!!)
Ledonia- Drastic is a strategic and meticulous guy – he stays planning, grinding and building. He is working on his catalogue, getting more production (HINT), working on a college tour, branding his energy drink more as well as dropping a single and visual project for a song that he has called SALUTE. He is working – He spearheaded a mixtape for Freeway Rick Ross earlier this year and he is finalizing a treatment for video right now and we are all excited. By the way, just won a Dynamic solo artist award in Dallas and has several interviews lined up to build the necessary buzz. Keep checking for him!
Hiphoplead.com- If you had to be stuck on an island for a week with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
Ledonia- Taking my business hat of for this one….Ouuuuweeeiii – hands down- Idris Elba! Why? Um I love his accent ( side yes ) (Laughs).
Hiphoplead.com- Outside of the music business what does Ledonia like to do with her spare time?
Ledonia- I love to write, working on finishing a book called SOMETHING ELSE TO CONQUER… (WAIT FOR IT) It is going to be a juicy read (laughing) Also, I love to read and “tinker” – with peoples brains. I love mingling and have taken a liking to international travel lately and need some more stamps in my passport.
Hiphoplead.com- Best TV Show of all time?
Ledonia- A tie between FAME and The Cosby’s. My alter ego would say First 48 hands down.
Hiphoplead.com- What famous artist can’t you hear enough of and which one makes you want to turn the radio off?
Ledonia- I love Trey Songz but my Boy August Alsina made me put him on the back burner…. don’t judge me. On some real… I can’t deal with Miley Cyrus right now.
Hiphoplead.com- Fill in the blank. If I could turn back the hands of time I would__________________.
Ledonia- _have worked for the FBI.
Hiphoplead.com- Lets put you on the hot seat (laughs)… out of all the artists you represent, who is your favorite and why?
Ledonia- I don’t really have a favorite they are all DOPE to me, but the most challenging because of the genre and interesting so far has been my Gospel hip hop group called 1ONE. They are a married couple very passionate about Christ, music and performing. Outside of delivering relatable spiritual messages in their core music that makes people listen and love they are also sports enthusiast – die hard Seahawks fans! Working with these two is exciting because they are versatile and have also done various Seahawks and 12th man anthems to communicate their passions in support of their team which has afforded them an opportunity to perform at the stadiums and players events. It’s funny because my involvement has me liking football now and trying to remember who players are. I use to be a Saints fan, but now I realize I might just be a bandwagon fan.
Back to the norm..
Hiphoplead.com- Outside of your own company you are working behind the scenes with Rush Movement. How did that come about and what’s new on that front?
Ledonia- Gary and I have done business together and he is a thinker and dreamer with the ability to execute – he just needed the right players to bring his vision alive. I guess he saw something in me and the way I take care of business and presented me with an opportunity. It’s an exciting time for Team Good Money and Carte Blanche, we are blending our visions for something big and beneficial for artist. I am all about opportunities and resources or relationships that provide a value add – this is one of those things worth building on.
Hiphoplead.com- We know you have a lot going on right now but are you still looking for talent? If so, what type of talent?
Ledonia- I am always looking for serious business partners –Those who know me know, strong work ethic and loyalty is a pre requisite to work with me and non-negotiable. I sacrifice a lot and bring a lot to the table so I don’t hesitate to minimize or cut off risky partnerships with artist who lose the vision or can’t take direction – I don’t want no mediocre!
Hiphoplead.com- Thanks for taking time to chop it up with us. This was a truely entertaining interview. Thank you for letting us into your grind for just a little bit. In closing the floor is yours and let the world know whatever is on your mind.
Ledonia- Thank you all for the opportunity to kick it with you, if nothing else, I hope this inspires others! Warm thanks to my mentor and friend Dr. Syleecia Thompson, DYG Management, Kool Won from BLOW BIG ENTERTAIMENT and #TGM for putting me up on GAME. Thank you Advo, HHL for always providing a vehicle for showcasing my artist. Watch out for more from my artist R.Harris who was featured on DD 32 (Hosted by Twista)– “LET YOU GO” and other artist that I am endorsing: Tori Bleu from Detroit, Stephun Moseley, RedHead, Frenchy and the whole N$G family – they are making serious independent moves!
Ledonia and her team at Carte Blanche are poised to develop the skills of Artists, Producers, DJs, Models, Entertainers and independent labels. TeamCarteBlanche – a team able to operate with the right mixture of financing, talent, planning, and game plan execution.
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