Warryn Campbell: Welcome to My Block
By Tanisha L. Williams (1journalista.wordpress.com)
Don’t underestimate producer/songwriter/label owner Warryn Campbell. He is not the new kid on the block. Recognized as the mastermind behind Grammy-winning gospel-duo Mary Mary who all won a Grammy this year for Best Gospel Song for the record breaking “God In Me, Campbell has also created platinum hits for top artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Musiq Soulchild, Yolanda Adams and Brandy. Starting at a young age alongside his mentor DJ Quik at Death Row Records, Campbell quickly rose to the top with his talents opening doors for an opportunity as VP of A&R for Elektra Records. Flash forward to today where Campbell has been carefully cultivating talent at his Los Angeles-based Fever Studios for his own record label My Block Inc, which he launched in 2009 along with partners Jaha Johnson of Content Entertainment Group and DJ Reflex of Los Angeles’ KPWR-FM (Power 106).
A long-time admirer of Motown’s legendary Berry Gordy, Warren “Baby Dub” Campbell, who comes from a musical family, has been following a similar blueprint to build his My Block brand. Currently in the studio working on his debut album What’s Missing featuring Amerie, Musiq Soulchild and Mario, Campbell says the project is in the vein of the Quincy Jones albums like “Back on The Block. “Quincy produced and wrote everything. I’m doing the same thing. It’s going to be like a musical block party,” Campbell explains, saying that he won’t be stepping to the mic on this project though. “You might hear me chirp a little bit on one song but for the most part you are going to experience rock, hip-hop, gospel, everything on one album.”
An established veteran in the music industry, Campbell, who recently served as a panelist on ASCAP’s “I Create Music Expo,” recognizes that the platform for music is ever changing and he advises artists, producers and songwriters: “You have to be better than everyone else around you. That’s how people will take notice of you.” At age 18, Campbell who was already pitching his songs to artists, noted, “The only other person trying to break into the business at my age was Rodney Jerkins and he was having the same struggles but everyone else was older. I told Rodney, man, I’m just as good as these other guys and he said, ‘that’s the problem, you have to be better.’ You have to write just one song that is better than one of theirs.” That song for Campbell was “How Deep is your Love for Me” by Dru Hill featuring Rain Man.
Ever cognizant now of branding his own label, he says recognizing the value of true talent is the key to a blossoming label so he is always on the look out for the next big thing. “I don’t care if it’s on YouTube or the guy next door who has a cousin who’s sister’s baby daddy can sing, I don’t care,” Campbell shares adamantly. “I take scouting trips. A great artist is very, very rare. There are a lot of artists out there but great artists are hard to find.”
Lucky for him, he didn’t have to look too far for the latest addition to the My Block stable that also includes Kelly Price, Mars, Soul Seekers (of which he is also a member) and Mary Mary, his baby sister Joi StaRR has joined the ranks. “She was actually the first person that helped me produce when I was 12. I’ve been writing songs for that long and she was always my guinea pig,” Campbell laughs as he reminisces. “She is an amazing singer and she likes to call her style ‘Art and Beat,’ which is R&B with a splash of pop.”
In fact, big brother Baby Dub, as CEO of MyBlock, Inc, hosted the premier of his sister’s debut album as well as the launch of the new reality TV show “Mary Mary” that premiered March 29th on WeTV featuring mega Columbia artists Mary Mary—sisters Erica and Tina—focusing on their lives juggling recording careers and family life. Joi StaRR, a songwriter in her own right who spent five years touring with Kanye West who recently joined Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg onstage at Coachella, introduces her new project on the show that includes the single “Magic Monday,” featuring the Game, Paul Wall and PJ Morton. Cameras roll at the premier party just as they do in the Campbell household.
Unlike most reality shows where stars are struggling to revive their careers, Campbell says this show is the real deal. “You will definitely get a deeper look into who Mary Mary is and what they are like at home and with their families. It’s cool because when you see them at home, like, my wife (Erica Campbell) doesn’t wear makeup at home and I look at these other shows and I go, man, I know this isn’t real!”
One highlight not to miss on “Mary Mary” this season is Warryn and Erica Campbell welcoming their third child into the world. Between his ever-expanding record label MyBlock, the reality TV show, producing and writing for chart-topping artists, his own solo career and a wife and three kids, Campbell takes it all in stride. “I have been blessed with a lot of things over 10 years, so, I pick and choose what I want to do and I work with whom I like. I just do things at my own pace and eventually everything will get done.”
Mary Mary can be seen on WeTV on Thursday’s 9/8c. Campbell’s website is myblockrecords.com and look for his debut album, What’s Missing, tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2012.