Branden Wells, Expert Brand Strategist [RADIO INTERVIEW]

Branden Wells, Expert Brand Strategist 
LASM x TDR: Trip Digital Radio Sound Art Express, Dj Journey, Tricia Love, Markeeda Monét, TizThaTime, Ravin Dave, Ashley, what’s going on people? Man, we’re living good. Jingle bells, Batman smells… I know what it is. It’s that. So we’re not here for ourselves. Tricia, I’m going to let you bring this one in because you like to do a lovely style. Let’s do it. So, we have the extraordinary, mastermind, expert in the house.
Branden Wells: Wow.
LASM x TDR: B Wells.
Branden Wells: What’s up! What’s up!
LASM x TDR: B Wells.
Branden Wells: Thanks for the nice intro.
LASM x TDR: Got it started up. I’m excited about what we’re going to talk about. All your projects.
Branden Wells: We’ll talk about a lot of things.
LASM x TDR: So here’s the thing. I read the resume, very impressed. I saw some names on there, some names and, man, it really, really reminds me of, because there’s only a few people that’s doing this in the industry and your resume is up there with Steve Stout and what he’s done for the industry.
Branden Wells: That’s an honor. That’s a huge honor. I appreciate that.
LASM x TDR: That’s why I want to…
Branden Wells: Steve Stout at middle ones.
LASM x TDR: …Yes, yes. I’m like, wow. Brand strategy and putting artists with the right brands. But it didn’t start there for you because that was an evolution. It started with artists management.
Branden Wells: Well, yes, it did started from artist management, but mainly just the love for music. I was a club promoter.
LASM x TDR: This is in L.A?
Branden Wells: In Dallas. I’m originally from Dallas, so I started…
LASM x TDR: Shout out to Dallas…  in the house.
Branden Wells: …But, I started out just working in nightclubs, scrolling in different Djs in advance and had opportunity to get a management deal with one of the huge clubs in Dallas at the time. And I used to get all these bureau of brands coming in and to my way. We want to sponsor a night. We want to do an event here? And I’m like, okay, we can do it for the club. Let’s do any day. And I started working with a lot of Djs and musicians and I was like, well, hey, it has to be some type of synergy where I can bring the brands with certain artists. So I just started taking baby steps and it’s trying to do like, hey, can we get $500 for this party that we do? And they perform and it didn’t start building relationships in for I knew it. Four or five years later, I’m working on deals bringing in million dollars to a certain client at the time or whoever is hot at the moment. So I kind of just parlayed that into something bigger and just took what I learned just on the grassroots level and it just kind of brought that strategy to Los Angeles because I felt like the talent pool was here. Brands always want to integrate their product in a number two market behind New York. And for a celebrities coming into town, you can always have some type of innovation going on with them or some type of brand exposure to get them to the next level. So it was just kind of like a perfect match. And I had a lot of relationships because just working with such artists like Erica. I used to travel Erica by dude, we used to travel together and…
LASM x TDR: She’s from..
Branden Wells: …She’s from Dallas.
LASM x TDR: She’s from Dallas.
Branden Wells: Yeah. We grew up in the same hood and everything. So been known of for years, like a big sister to me and she kind of just let me follow her around and meet some of her nuw hub peers and things she worked with. And it then it just, from there I started working with Questlove, doing stuff with Heineken.
LASM x TDR: So who influenced the Dj Erica? Because she was doing a singing thing and when she popped up as a Dj, I’m like wow, that’s a natural progression edge.
Branden Wells: It may sense for it. I mean because she has a deep knowledge of music, not just from hill pop but to RNB, reggae, house music, Chicago House. She is just a fan of the art. So it only makes sense for her to get behind the tables and rock a party. And she actually, that’s how I started getting a booking her gigs for DJ and stuff. Like hey let’s do this.
LASM x TDR: Did you have any input on her going down, because I saw her at Grambling back in the day. Yeah.
Branden Wells: She went there and she, so, I went to Louisiana Tech.
LASM x TDR: Okay… I was in Northwest state.
Branden Wells: So, grandmother was old, they were like a mile from Louisiana Tech. So we will see each other on campus, we’re just hanging out. But mainly just growing up in Dallas, that’s how our relationship started.
LASM x TDR: So there was a new thing that’s going around. I mean it’s old in a sense of where you came from. But brand partnerships are pretty much the way that artists make money now. How do you feel about that? I mean, did it evolve a bit because of the evolution of the record business or…
Branden Wells: Yes, I will say that was a big reason. Just think about less than what, 15, 20 years ago. How am I got a lot of flat to partner with certain brands.
LASM x TDR: …It was whack to do brand partnerships.
Branden Wells: And then with Pepsi, and then over time, the maturity of the game, financing brands started. At that time, brands were one that control the situation. Now the artists are in a position to give where they can come in and say, Hey, this is what I, this is my flag I’m holding. So if your brand doesn’t mess with me, I’m not going to change my personality. I’m just going to row with a brand that works. So my strategy is always have been, work with brands that want to work with that particular client. I’m not trying to go against the grain. I want it to be as organic as possible.
LASM x TDR: Yeah. Do you feel like art is been there? Their ways to the deal of the brand or do that just naturally happen?
Brendan Wells: I just call it business,
LASM x TDR: Just business?
Branden Wells: Just business. I mean, I’m not seeing it, you got to sell out. But at the same time if people are giving you three, $400,000 to do some form. Yeah. You got to negotiate and work out what you feel comfortable with and what you feel like you want to do, and to be a part of this opportunity.
LASM x TDR: Yeah. So do you do mainly with artists and things like that? Do you do movies? Do you do anything like that?
Branden Wells: Yeah, I do…
LASM x TDR: Brand partnerships.
Branden Wells: …partnership. Brand partnerships was just a huge name. But product integrations, that’s what’s the part you’re talking about movies? You have partnership deals or endorsement deals where those endorsement deals can last for several years or you can just have a one off opportunities. And I work from, celebrities on the music side and on the film and TV side. Actually, a year or so ago I did a deal with Gabrielle Union to launch a partnership with Martini Rossi to partner up for her book. We need more wine, so it only makes sense to partner with a brand like that because of her book and a smarter shut up. It just started a situation. You just have to really pay attention to these partnerships.
LASM x TDR: This partnerships, you’ve cultivated these over the years. How did you even get into that and meeting, bringing these brands together, and building those relationships.
Branden Wells: I think it’s just being around the right people. A lot of my peers or any of the advertising agencies, and they work for these particular brands. So it was kind of, I already had the in and a friend of mine, she worked over at Annecy. I had a friend who worked over at FedEx. So, I kind of just maximize those opportunities and made sure that, it was a great situation for them because if I look good, they look good, we all look good. I just wanted to make sure I stay true to them as well.
LASM x TDR: And that’s really good for the young people coming up to understand that hustle. But at the same time, pay it forward and always do so.
Brendan Wells: And then, as long as I get my look cut I’m not doing this for free but definitely is, I’m putting in the leg work for him because I’m bringing the value to the table. Yeah.
LASM x TDR: I mean do you find the artists that you want to work with and say, Hey, I want to bring brand partnerships to you or they reach out to you and say, Hey, I’m looking at this branch.
Branden Wells: It kind of goes both ways for certain brands like, hey we have an interest in this particular artists. Do you have a relationship? I like, I always got relationships. I’m not going to tell you no, but I actually go out and try to use my resources to get a hold of that particular artist. And then it could be an artist, contacting me and say, hey Brandon, I need someone to sponsor my tour. I’m looking for x, y, and z type of partner. And that’s why I out and try to find those resources for those particular artists.
LASM x TDR: Yeah. So in your Rolodex site, what’s the biggest artists that you’ve worked with? I think I saw a name on that, but is there any…
Branden Wells: Man, it’s a lie. I don’t remember…
LASM x TDR: …I know Erica but I do, but I think I saw Jay Z on your list.
Branden Wells: …Well, no, actually I didn’t do anything with Jay Z, but he is a producer, symbolic one, I managed him for years. So he produce a Kanye West power, the murder to the excellent for watch the throne album. A couple of jams for Madonna. He just did something with Little Zan. So we, he’s from Waco, Texas, so, which is probably like a couple hours from Dallas. But I had a friend of mine’s new. His sister introduced me to S1 and I was just, I ran a nightclub at that time. So they were like, hey, it makes sense because you have the relationships with these different artists of slide. The demo too. So that’s what I did to get them on. I was like, Hey, here’s the demo. Every time I will book an artists, here’s their demo. And it just kind of worked in. Actually Questlove and P-Rock was the first two guys. They actually put S1 on to the mouth by putting his name out there for his publications and just hyping them up…
LASM x TDR: I suppose, Tiz, you got another question? No. I mean I’m just, I’m sitting back, just listening to this. And it’s one of those things that the younger generation’s got to hear. They got us hear this. They got to see how you can build and grow and add all you can bring all this work to any idea that you have, you know what I mean? And anything that you want to do, you can make it happen just as such as you did. Do you put the work in?
Branden Wells: Yeah. But the thing what I like about the younger generation, they have everything at their fingertips.
LASM x TDR: They do. It’s about that hard work though.
Branden Wells: And it’s a gift and a curse at the same time. It’s like, yeah. Djs don’t understand the back end day you had to carry you on crates. Now you just carry your laptop. So…
LASM x TDR: Or your feed drives.
Branden Wells: …That’s what I’m saying. So, but I understand it, but I wish that some of the younger guys will take it to the next level and understanding, hey, some of those old school tactics, still can work today.
LASM x TDR: Most definitely.
Branden Wells: And it’s mainly just relationships.
LASM x TDR: For sure.
Branden Wells: And people, younger guys, they’re so quick to burn bridges. That’s what I really don’t like about the situation nowadays.
LASM x TDR: Definitely. Exactly. So I heard you talk about, in the beginning like one of the was Erica Badu actually one of the first people that you actually work with. When you came in, when you came into the realization that this is what you were meant to do.
Branden Wells: Well actually I never told this before, but Erika is the reason why I got into management.
LASM x TDR: I love that. That’s, which leads me into me wanting to ask you like where did it all truly begin and when was kind of like your Aha moment that you were like, you know what, this is what I need to do.
Branden Wells: It was kind of like, we was, Seattle apartment kind of like downtown Dallas. We were just in her house and people just used to go do our house all the time. Producers, songwriters. It was just kind of like a music Mecca for Dallas. We just hung out at her crib. Yeah. And it was working on some couple of demos and I always had a relationship with everybody in the household. Made sure food was at the house. We had water, you know what I’m saying? You got a little money in your pocket. Oh you get some weed book. Yeah. I mean she just rolled it to me one day and just say, hey, your going to management? And I kind of just kept at the back of my head for awhile and into, found some couple of artists that I really wanted to work with and put that dedication and that time into. So I took it from there. So, I’m not, you got hip hop heads, but like groups like strange fruit project.
LASM x TDR: Strange fruit baby. Yes sir. So there have…
Branden Wells: You manage them?
Branden Wells: The label and everything. I then have, did a management, then I started the label just to make sure the music got out and that’s what s S1 came from.
LASM x TDR: Okay.
Branden Wells: Yeah. And then, Ill mind.
LASM x TDR: I’ll mind.
Branden Wells: Yeah. With all…
LASM x TDR: I was with you, didn’t even know it.
Branden Wells: That’s what I’m saying, you didn’t even know what I’m saying. You didn’t know it. So I’m just wondering, does when I tell them that they like, really? I’m like, yeah, I would just behind the scene guy. I’m just a money man. I just wanted to make sure everybody’s happy.
LASM x TDR: That’s awesome. Yeah.
LASM x TDR: Does that lead to TizThaTime questions? Yeah. it this man, because now I got to find out, man. I mean with all these amazing things that you’re doing with and for people. We got to find out. Then what is your superpower. That’s all you.
Branden Wells: I would say the plug
LASM x TDR: The plug. Yeah. Yeah. You ignite it all. I have this saying on my Twitter page. Don’t ask me what I do. Just tell me what you need. Well, like a leader that day. Well. I can leave it at that. most definitely.Drop the mic. What is your superpower? Well, actually I am the power. I’m the currency that flows through chord. You plug me in and you will have, poll energy. Yeah. Okay, so Brandon since you’re to plug plug where they can find you.
Branden Wells: You can definitely hit me on my Instagram at Milkman Dallas.
LASM x TDR: Milkman Dallas.
Branden Wells: Yes. And then, just hit me up on LinkedIn. Like if you want to talk real business and they’re like, outside of that I keep my social media accounts personal. That’s cool.
LASM x TDR: Yeah. We all have one of those a little secret one.
Branden Wells: Just send me on your ID. I’ll accept you, maybe.
LASM x TDR: Yeah, myspace days. My top friends are these guys.
Branden Wells: I really appreciate it guys. Letting me come down here.
LASM x TDR: Thank you.
Branden Wells: You know what I’m saying. This is a nice setup. It’s Awesome. Beautiful windows. Sexy…
LASM x TDR: Do you see the thousands of people out there.
Branden Wells: Amazing.
LASM x TDR: And they’re tweeting and Instagram on the same time. We constantly have to stay humble. They’re always, Yep. Hi! No, no. We’ll be right back. For real the radio show has 89,000 listeners per show. So grateful.
Branden Wells: That’s huge.
LASM x TDR: I’m so grateful. He is the best. B wells. Everyone. How about that! Let’s give it up. We’ll be back trip digital radio L.A. STYLE Magazine
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