As with many Howard University graduates, Atlantic Records VP of Publicity Sydney Margetson hit the ground running when he decided to pursue his career. Having interned at Mercury Records, Def Jam, Polygram, and then BMG, Margetson found his home at Atlantic Records. His longevity there has helped to guide the careers of such notable artists as Sean Paul, Lil Kim, Aaliyah, Brandy, T.I., Trey Songz, Kevin Gates, and Lil Uzi.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Margetson about how he stays focused on business amid the current changes in life and what he’s been doing since the coronavirus took over the world.
You’ve been involved in the music business for some time, having been with Atlantic Records for nearly 25 years. What motivates you to continue to put in the work that you do?
My tenure at Atlantic Records has been an amazing journey. I blink my eyes and it’s been 20-some odd years later and I feel fresh. When you ask me where my motivation comes from, it comes from the artists themselves. I feed off their energy. There’s no better feeling than breaking a new artist. It never gets old. Meeting an unknown musician and helping them to become a household name is priceless.
What is it about the day-to-day activities that keep you entrenched in your work?
What keeps me entrenched in my work on a day-to-day basis is the relationship building with journalists, editors, bookers, managers, and artists. Maintaining a steady flow of communication, ideas, and strategy exchange are paramount for the success of a project.
We’ve all been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and with a stay-at-home directive in major cities, how are you able to work, and have there been any changes that have taken place because of the pandemic?
We’re living in a new world. The pandemic, the quarantine, police brutality, social injustice, and everyday life challenges affect every aspect of how we work. When I wake up in the morning, the first intake of news or information dictates my mood for the day or for at least the first half of the day. That’s why it’s important for me to exercise and be one with myself at the start of every day. It gives me energy and clarity to tackle whatever the day brings. Believe it or not, work has increased during the pandemic. People need music and entertainment as a relief from all that is happening in society. At the beginning of the quarantine, it was a definite adjustment from being in the office to working from home indefinitely. Fortunately, my work is primarily conducted over the phone and via computer so that can happen from anywhere.
Given your years in the industry, what would be the best advice you could give to someone who wants to have the longevity and success you have had in this business?
The best advice I can give to someone seeking longevity and success in the music business is passion, drive, and being a student of the game. One thing I pride myself on is being open to new things and learning new concepts and technologies. You don’t want to get stuck in your ways in thinking how things used to be done is the only way. I love surrounding myself with younger people to feed off their energy and creativity then adding my wisdom and experience it.
What do you think is the next trend that’s going to take place that we should all embrace?
We are currently living in the new trend. This “virtual” world that we are experiencing, I think, is here to stay. The pandemic has forever changed the way in which we interact and conduct business. Virtual experiences and social media will continue to progress and we will adapt right along with it.
Besides work, how have you been keeping yourself busy during the quarantine? Have you developed any new hobbies?
Absolutely! All the Instagram DJing has inspired me tremendously. DJ’s like D-Nice, Mad Skillz, comedian Deon Cole, to name a few, have inspired me to start DJing myself and share my playlists with my social media followers under the name “Club Hard Breaks.” I don’t consider myself a real DJ. I do bad transitions and hard breaks, hence the name CLUB HARD BREAKS. After a long and exhausting day, I like to open up CLUB HARD BREAKS and start playing my favorite jams. It’s like therapy. I also started a podcast with some friends called WATCH PARTY on the Hitlist Network focused on reviewing movies and television shows. I love everything entertainment.