The A&R Report had the pleasure of speaking to the amazing Mona Scott Young during our time at the Revolt Conference. If you’re reading this and don’t know who Mona Scott Young is, please do your research! Named a “21st Century Renaissance Sister” by Essence Magazine, Mona Scott-Young is one of the entertainment industry’s most sought after executives. Scott-Young is the CEO of multi-media entertainment company Monami Entertainment – home to Grammy Award-winning artist Missy Elliott and VH1’s most popular docu-franchise “Love & Hip Hop.”
While speaking to Mona, one thing I noticed about her was her passion and will to succeed and it definitely showed while witnessing her speak at the ‘Who Runs the World…’ panel at the inaugural 2014 Revolt Music Conference. Check out our latest A&R Talk with Mona Scott Young below:
Michael: When it actually comes to sourcing and casting for new talent, what actual qualities do you look for?
Mona Scott Young: People who want to be on television. That’s first and foremost. This isn’t something that you can force people to do, so they definitely have to want it. They have to understand that it’s a double-edged sword, and that there’s good that comes with it and a whole lot of bad. People who are willing to live their lives out in the open, for the camera, and for the world to see, and unfortunately judge.
Michael: Seeing as we’re at a music conference. One thing that you’ve doing a lot right now in shaping the industry is providing an artist an opportunity to revitalize their career. What are your thoughts on that?
Mona Scott Young: When I moved into television, which was a part of my own personal reinvention and growth, I wanted to start in a place that I knew, a place where I was comfortable, a place where I had access and resources, so that I could contribute something, because I wasn’t a seasoned television producer so I had to bring something unique to the table. The good part of that is that it allowed me to create a platform that has served to help, not only resuscitate, but for certain artist, give them a platform.
The great part about my willingness to continue to do that isn’t absent to the 20-plus years that I spent as a manager, building careers, and providing and creating those platforms. That was very important for me, and it’s something that I’m really proud of. The criticisms that come with the franchise, what I always rest-assured is there’s so many opportunities that have been created, not only for the people in front of the camera, but for the people behind the scenes, the women, the African American filmmakers that we hire. This is something that isn’t widespread in terms of opportunities for them. For me, all of those things have made this a fulfilling experience.
Michael: What would you say is your end goal in regards to your personal career and personal growth?
Mona Scott Young: World Domination.
Michael: World Domination?
Mona Scott Young: No, listen I’m living my best life. You only have one, right? You’ve got to go for everything you possibly can. I have done music … knock on wood … successfully 20-plus years. I ventured into television, and still continuing my growth there. Moving into format and scripted, then I launched the consumer brand. What the hell did I know about that? That was a challenge in itself, but there was something invigorating about getting up and doing something I’ve never done, and challenging myself to see if I could do that. That’s what living is. It’s being passionately curious and exploring that on any level that presents itself.
Michael: When it comes to reality TV, sometimes there can be a negative connotation associated with it. How do you ensure that you maintain a balance for cast and for your partners in Television?
Mona Scott Young: Refer to the answer right before this one. That’s what we talked about. The jobs or the opportunities of these artists for reinvention and to continue to build their brands, and in some instances resurrect their brands. All of those things are the balance for me. They don’t necessarily have to be front and center in the media. I know what’s happening. They know what’s happening. At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.