Boyz counted among first clients
Magic Johnson has bowed a music management arm and inked Boyz II Men as among its first clients.The move shifts into high-gear Johnson’s entry into the music business, which began last year with the launch of a record label. The newly minted arm also has inked Kelly Price, who’ll be co-repped by her Priceless banner, and Master P protege Mase. Qadree El-Amin, SouthPaw Entertainment founder and Boyz II Men manager, has been tapped by Johnson to help guide the management arm in association with Phil Robinson, chief of Magic’s 32 Records. The addition of industry vet El-Amin gives the arm instant credibility. Other SouthPaw execs Jeff Dyson, Damon Jones and Karen Levy will also segue to Magic Johnson Music Management. SouthPaw Entertainment is in the process of disbanding. Under El-Amin and former SouthPaw partner John Dukakis, Boyz II Men have become the industry’s bestselling R&B act. Their disc, “II,” is the industry’s 26th bestselling album at 12 million units. The management roster additions — which will be unveiled tonight at a Club Soho reception — come on the heels of inking singer-songwriter Myron Avant (no relation to former Motown chairman Clarence Avant) as the first artist on Magic’s 32 Records. The label is promoted and marketed by MCA Records. It is named after the jersey number worn by the retired L.A. Lakers player (Daily Variety, Oct. 6). “We’d like to create a respected management company and a label like a mini-Motown — a label that has a unique image and a special sound,” Johnson told Daily Variety. “And we’re also going to make sure our artists know the business side of the music business, not just the recording side of it. There are a lot of artists who think they’re rich because they are selling albums, when they really aren’t.” Johnson said he’ll keep the rosters small, “around five to 10 management clients.” He also said he plans to impart some of his business acumen to his clients but won’t necessarily be in on the dealmaking. “Qadree has been involved in some big negotiations, and he knows the deals,” Johnson said. “I’ll let him handle that end of it.” He said acts have frequently approached him about shepherding their careers, but the timing wasn’t right. The label and music management arm are the latest additions to Johnson’s multimillion-dollar empire that includes a real estate development outfit, TGIF and Starbucks partnerships and a theater chain. His talent management arm, led by Lita Richardson, boasts Vivica A. Fox, Steve Harvey and Beverly Johnson, among others. Johnson’s development corporation announced Tuesday it has agreed to renovate a theater in Brooklyn that had been closed for 22 years. Johnson will transform it into a state of the art facility. “We were looking for a place in New York to open a theater, and we were told about this one,” Johnson said. “It was once the neighborhood theater. It’s perfect.” Johnson said it’ll take about a year to rebuild and will employ 100 staffers when it opens.