“I was taught to be an entrepreneur by my father,” Mckee said. “He started training me in middle school by having me read entrepreneurial books, marketing and finance books. So since a young age, I’ve created and run my own businesses.”
J.R. Mckee is a music executive, entrepreneur, author and the CEO of MPR Global, a marketing firm dedicated to artists, musicians and entertainers. He is also the founder of the educational platform Shared Information.
Mckee graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts at age 16 and saw the music industry as a way to create wealth while also stimulating his creative mind.
Over the last 18 years, Mckee sold 160 million records, won a Grammy Award and has overseen some of the most notable and renowned independent R&B and hip-hop artists of this generation. Some of his many clients include Tha Joker, K Camp, Rod Wave, Lil Durk, Muni Long, Mannywellz and LaRussell.
Now, Mckee decided to take his career in a different direction. His latest venture is writing and independently publishing his first book titled 10 Artist Commandments.
Across 10 chapters and around 120 pages, Mckee delves into everything that every aspiring artist should know to create and enjoy a lasting career in the entertainment industry.
The chapters of the book consist of (not counting the introduction):
Tell the Truth
Tell a Story
Put Yourself Out There
Identify and Engage Your Audience
Sell Early (There’s more than music to sell)
Trial and Error
It Takes a Village
Business is Business
Adapt or Die
Mckee said 10 Artist Commandments was inspired by his passion to educate artists and executives and help them become entrepreneurs.
He spent his entire 18-year career finding ways to maximize his wealth and finding new opportunities for the music industry, especially as the world rapidly changes.
“So when I decided to write a book, I knew I had to do it based on timeless principles that will direct artists through whatever era of music they find themselves in,” Mckee said. “I’ve lived through many of them myself so I took a look back and pulled out the 10 common denominators that had made artists successful, regardless of what era they broke through in. That’s the 10 Artist Commandments.”
Mckee was “astonished” by how quickly the industry changed over the last few years, particularly with the rise of technology and social media.
Streaming makes it possible for people to listen to who they want to at any time, from any place and from any era of music. Social media controls how consumers discover content. Both tools make it so that artists no longer have to rely on middlemen and they can reach out to their fans directly, Mckee went on to say.
“However, in order to do that they have to build communities,” Mckee said. “Artists are waking up to these facts and that’s why artists who are community leaders will be the next wealth class of the music business. They have the power to sell their products and anyone else’s to their own community, making them the wealthiest influencers of this next era of music.”
Despite his prestigious reputation and numerous accolades, he believes that supporting artists mentally, financially and creatively is his true calling.
“I have a passion for educating and the thing that I’m most versed in is the music business,” Mckee said. “So I speak on what I know and what I do. I get fulfillment out of helping and serving others and this is the best possible way I can serve at the moment. I also very much understand the wealth gap as well as how this particular industry has added to that gap. So I’m only doing my part to help close the gap by helping artists realize their art’s true value and how to secure that value for themselves and their families.”
10 Artist Commandments released on Amazon on September 16.
In addition to the official release, Mckee will also have a book tour to personally promote his book and engage with his readers. He will travel to The Gathering Spot in Atlanta on Wednesday, October 25.
“We live in an online society and it’s the creative IRL [in-real-life] approach that will win the biggest,” Mckee said. “So I’m headed to meet and engage with my audience face-to-face.”
Mckee hopes that 10 Artist Commandments will prove to be an affordable and valuable resource for anybody looking to make it big in the art, music or entertainment industries.
“I am highly aware that I got to where I am today because I was educated,” Mckee said. “Not by school or by college, but by men who openly put their experiences and knowledge in books that are available and affordable for any man or woman.”