JONATHAN TORRES

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INTERVIEW: TERRELL “REALIFE” BLACK [@REALIFEVMG]

VALIDATED: YOU GREW UP IN QUEENS AND LONG ISLAND (NEW YORK), WHAT'S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP CULTURE?

JONATHAN TORRES: MY EARLIEST MEMORY OF HIP-HOP WAS MY DAD HAVING SOME RUN-DMC TAPES IN OUR TAPE DECK. ALSO MY FAMILY, OLDER AUNTS AND COUSINS WERE BIG IN THE CLUB SCENE LIKE THE COPACABANA, AND WOULD LISTEN TO SONGS FROM LL COOL J AND HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ. “NOW THAT WE FOUND LOVE" WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SINGLES I REMEMBER AS A KID.

VALIDATED: WHAT DOES HIP-HOP MEAN TO YOU?

JONATHAN TORRES: HIP-HOP TO ME IS AN EXTENSION OF  AFRICAN AMERICAN AND LATINO (PUERTO RICAN) URBAN CULTURE. STARTING IN THE BRONX IN THE EARLY 1980'S, IT ENCOMPASSES THE ARTS OF THE EMCEE, DJ, B-BOY/BREAKDANCING. IT THEN EVOLVED TO WHAT WE ASSOCIATE NOW TO MODERN DAY "RAP". HIP-HOP IS NOW A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR WORLDWIDE BUSINESS. 

VALIDATED: YOUR AMBITION LED YOU TO LEAVE COLLEGE YOUR JUNIOR YEAR TO BECOME A SELF-MADE ENTREPRENEUR. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A COLLEGE STUDENT LOOKING TO DO THE SAME? 

JONATHAN TORRES: I WOULD TELL A STUDENT TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. ALWAYS HAVE AT LEAST 1-2 WAYS OF INCOME TO BE ABLE TO SUSTAIN YOUR LIFESTYLE WHILE YOU FOCUS ON DREAMS. STAY LOYAL AND HUMBLE. STAY POSITIVE, CONSISTENT, AND PERSISTENT. MINIMIZE THE AMOUNT OF OUTSIDE INFLUENCES WHO ARE NOT IN ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR AMBITION. 

VALIDATED: YOU OWN SEVERAL SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES RANGING FROM BARBERSHOPS TO MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS ENDEAVORS. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 "MUST HAVE" FACTORS BEFORE DECIDING TO PURSUE A BUSINESS ENDEAVOR?

JONATHAN TORRES: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SOLID BUSINESS PLAN. LACK OF PROPER PLANNING LEADS TO POOR PERFORMANCE. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR LEGAL PAPERWORK, IN REGARDS TO TAXES, CONTRACTS, AND PARTNERSHIPS. LAST BUT NOT LEAST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME RESERVE CAPITAL FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS JUST IN CASE BUSINESS IS NOT DOING AS WELL AS EXPECTED TO SALVAGE YOUR BUSINESS FROM GOING UNDER. 

VALIDATED: WHAT ARE A COUPLE OF THE MAJOR PRO'S AND CON'S OF BEING SELF EMPLOYED?

JONATHAN TORRES: SOME PRO'S OF BEING SELF EMPLOYED ARE BEING ABLE TO WALK AT THE BEAT OR YOUR OWN DRUM. THE ABILITY TO COME AND GO AS YOU PLEASE. MAKE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE AND ABILITY TO MOVE AROUND FREELY. SPEND MORE TIME TRAVELING AND BEING ABLE TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES. HAVING THE ABILITY TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE, AND IT DOES NOT FEEL LIKE WORK. ALSO NO CEILING, SKY'S THE LIMIT IN RESPECT TO POTENTIAL AND CAPITAL. THE CONS ARE YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN. THERE IS NO STABLE INCOME, HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFITS OR 401K (UNLESS YOU PURCHASE YOUR OWN POLICIES). THERE IS NO PAID SICK TIME, NO WORK, NO MONEY (UNLESS YOU SET UP SOME TYPE OF RESIDUAL INCOME STREAM).

VALIDATED: IN 2011, YOU BEGAN HOSTING A RADIO SHOW ON "STRONG ISLAND RADIO", WHAT IMPACT DID THE OPPORTUNITY HAVE ON YOU?

JONATHAN TORRES: BEING ABLE TO HAVE MY OWN INTERNET RADIO SHOW IN 2011 ON WWW.STRONGISLAND.COM, IT GAVE ME ALOT OF NOTORIETY AND VISIBILITY LOCALLY HERE IN LONG ISLAND. I WAS THEN ABLE TO TRANSLATE THAT TO A LARGER FOLLOWING ACROSS THE NY/NJ AND TRI-STATE  AREA. THE BENEFIT OF BEING ON THIS SHOW WAS THAT IT WAS INTERNET BASED SO I WAS ABLE TO REACH ANYONE WHO HAD BASIC INTERNET ACCESS. 

VALIDATED: PART OF WHAT YOU DO IS BEING ABLE TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX AND INFLUENCE TRENDS, FOR EXAMPLE, PUSHING CRYSTAL GLACIER WATER VERSUS ALCOHOL IN CLUBS. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT TRAIT IN MARKETING?

JONATHAN TORRES: THINKING OUTSIDE IS VERY IMPORTANT. IT IS KIND OF RISKY TOO. IF EVERYONE GOES LEFT, AND YOU GO RIGHT, YOU CAN HIT A HOME RUN OR YOU CAN FLOP. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TAKE RISKS, BUT THEY MUST BE THOUGHT OUT AND CALCULATED RATHER THAN JUST BE EMOTIONAL. STUDYING TRENDS AND THE MARKET IS VITAL. 

VALIDATED: YOU STARRED IN BET'S REALITY SERIES "THE GRAND HUSTLE" WHERE MULTI-PLATINUM RAPPER TI ENLISTED SOME OF THE TOP HUSTLERS IN THE COUNTRY TO COMPETE FOR A JOB AT HIS 'GRAND HUSTLE' RECORD LABEL. WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THE EXPERIENCE? HOW DID THE OPPORTUNITY BETTER YOUR BUSINESS SAVVY?

JONATHAN TORRES: SEASON 1 OF "THE GRAND HUSTLE" TAUGHT ME ALOT. SPECIFICALLY WHAT CAUSED ME TO BE ELIMINATED IS THAT SOMEONE IS ALWAYS WATCHING. YOU MUST ALWAYS BE SHARP AND ON YOUR TOES BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW. THE SHOW GAVE ME ALOT OF VISIBILITY AS WELL OUTSIDE OF MY HOMETOWN AND NY DEMOGRAPHIC, SPECIFICALLY DOWN SOUTH AND THE MIDWEST. THE SHOW GAVE ME MORE CREDIBILITY BEING ON A MAJOR PLATFORM AND HELPED ME PROPEL MY PERSONAL BRAND OF 1PR. 

VALIDATED: YOU RECENTLY COLLABORATED WITH HOT 97’S DJ DREWSKI AND SHADE 45’S DA INPHAMUS AMADEUZ FOR “ARTIST 2 WATCH” VOL 1. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE PROJECT?

JONATHAN TORRES: YES. MY COMPANY 1PR INC. IN APRIL 2019 DROPPED A DIGITAL MIXTAPE ON SEVERAL STREAMING PLATFORMS CALLED "ARTIST 2 WATCH" VOL 2. IT WAS HOSTED BY SHADE 45’S DA INPHAMUS AMADEUZ AND ALSO HOT 97’S DJ DREWSKI. WE TOOK 25 OF THE BEST UP AND COMING ARTISTS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND COMPILED THEM INTO A PROJECT. WE THEN UPLOADED THEM ON SEVERAL BLOGS, STREAMING PLATFORMS, AND USED ALL OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS. WE GOT 30K UNIQUE STREAMS IN 30 DAYS. VOL 2. COMING SOON. 

VALIDATED: HOW CAN ARTISTS SUBMIT THEIR MUSIC FOR A POSSIBLE SLOT?

JONATHAN TORRES: ALL ARTISTS FOR MUSIC CONSIDERATION OR PLACEMENT THEY MUST FOLLOW @TORRES1PR ON INSTAGRAM OR EMAIL ME AT TORRES1PR@GMAIL.COM.