I am thrilled to announce that I have taken on the exciting new role of founding President and CEO of the Institute for Music Business, LLC (iMB).
This incredible opportunity allows me to bring together my passions for music, business, and education in a way that truly makes a difference in people's lives. As someone who has been involved in the music industry (both as a Billboard #1 charting artist/songwriter and as an indie label owner), I know firsthand how challenging it can be to navigate this fast-paced and constantly evolving field. That's why I am so committed to leading our team in delivering high-quality, cutting-edge education and training programs that equip students with the skills they need to succeed in today's music industry.
WE ARE GRATEFUL TO THE FOUNDATION FOR WEALTH BUILDING, INC, OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS, AND ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR OFFERING THEIR INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE. THEIR UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE WILL HELP GUIDE OUR MISSION.
Fred “Uncle Freddie” Jerkins, III is an accomplished songwriter and producer who has worked with icons including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beyonce, Brandy, Destiny’s Child, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few. Along with his brother Rodney, they built the DarkChild Entertainment music empire. His works have received numerous platinum and multi-platinum awards totaling over 250 million worldwide sales, along with 21 Grammy nominations, 5 Grammy wins, and several Dove Award nominations and wins. His chart-topping singles and albums include hits such as “The Boy is Mine” by Brandy and Monica, “You Rock My World” by Michael Jackson, “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, and “If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez.
Fred later branched out and started DarkChild Gospel, a gospel label producing for Deitrick Haddon, George Huff, Dawkins and Dawkins, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, Virtue, and Kirk Franklin. In 2018, Jerkins ventured into radio servicing and promotion to take on clients (including Jonathan Nelson, Jabari Johnson, Angela Moss Poole, and The Walls Group) and has achieved multiple #1’s for his clients.
Tony Mercedes is a 30-year veteran of the entertainment industry with over 60 million career records sold, and seven top-five Billboard records including TLC's "No Scrubs" and Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You". Having worked with industry icons, such as Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Ceelo Green, Pink, Usher, and Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Mercedes first made his mark in the music business with the 1992 debut club anthem “Dazzey Duks.” and is the visionary largely responsible for introducing the world to the 1990s-“bass” subgenre through some of the hottest singles of that era, including the iconic “Whoomp! (There It Is),” which 27 years later also remains a pop-culture catchphrase.
Mercedes transitioned from radio and records to film and television and was credited for placing Beyoncé Knowles and Destiny Child in their first feature film and managed the early career Tiffany Haddish. Mercedes is also the CEO and founder of Urban Digital Filmworks, a film production company specializing in hi-quality entertainment for teens for network television, mainstream, and cable television markets.
Meta Washington is a longstanding radio host on SiriusXM/Pandora's Kirk Franklin's Praise. In 2023, Meta was honored as the “Radio Announcer of the Decade” by the Spin Awards. In 2020, she won the prestigious Stellar Award for “Gospel Radio Announcer of the Year. She is also a published author of titles including “Cracking the Code: What Indie Gospel
Artists Need to Know,” and “Bible Trivia Made Easy.” Meta has been heard by millions nationally and in her 20+ year radio career she has conducted interviews with countless A-list artists, luminaries and celebrities including Pastor Shirley Caesar, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Andrae Crouch, The Winans, The Clark Sisters, Patti LaBelle, Tyler Perry and Sheryl Lee Ralph just to name a few.
Damon D is a talented musician and experienced executive. Damon attended Southern Illinois University and Illinois State University, where he studied Secondary Special Education and focused on helping children through multimedia and music. He began his career with Interscope Records, and later became a Midwest Regional Talent Scout at Interscope, then joined Icee Records as the Executive Vice President of Urban Music, working on projects with Kanye West and John Legend. His Urban/Pop Entertainment Company "IGA Talent Mgmt. & Consulting, Inc" is responsible for more than fifty #1 hits including Marvin Sapp's "Never Would Have Made It" which is the longest-running #1 single across all genres. Today Damon continues to assist in the promotion efforts for Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker, Donnie McClurkin, Tamela Mann, Marvin Sapp, and Israel Houghton, to name a few.
Meet the mastermind behind the success of rapper and producer T-Pain, B.o.B., and rising star Trap Beckham. TJ Chapman's passion for music started with a humble beginning in 1984 when he created TJ's DJs Record Pool to fulfill the need for new music in North Florida. Over the years, he has made a name in the industry with his premiere urban music Tastemakers Only DJ/Music Conference which brought together over 800 key DJs, PDs, MDs, retailers, club owners, magazine writers, artists, promoters, marketing companies, and label reps nationwide. TJ Chapman remains on the road and virtually speaking at various conferences and industry functions.
TJ's contribution to the industry has not gone unnoticed. He is responsible for one of the biggest rap songs in the last 30 years, BoB's "Airplanes," featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore. As a testament to his achievements, on October 7th, 2023, TJ's DJs was inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame. With an unwavering commitment to his craft, TJ Chapman continues to pave the way for up-and-coming artists.
Brett is a versatile EDM, Hip-Hop, R&B, and pop music producer. He has worked with Grammy-nominated producers, writers, and engineers. Brett’s music has been featured in ads for ESPN, Jeep, the NHL, and the Food Network, among others. He is also the founder of the sound design studio, Goldentone, and the music production company Tastebreakers, which has created custom tracks for brands such as Brilliant Earth and Gamblit Gaming. A skilled collaborator, Brett is frequently called on by top Songwriters, Producers, and Artists for sessions needing unique drum sounds, textures, and flavors. As a Producer, he is known for quick turnaround and an uncanny ability to deliver the perfect vibe, regardless of genre or subject matter.
Jay Lyriq is a multi-talented artist hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, with a distinct music style that blends R&B and HARD N B. As a BMI songwriter, vocalist, and vocal coach, Jay Lyriq has made significant contributions to the music industry with five Platinum plaques and three Gold records, and over 100 songs , earning him widespread acclaim. Working closely with T-Pain and his renowned Nappy Boy Entertainment, Jay has achieved remarkable success, notably through his collaboration on T-Pain's chart-topping hit "Up Down (Do This All Day)."