Rising Star

Popdust Presents | Dom Marcell: From the bayou to the boardroom to the bedroom

INTERVIEW | Five lessons in business with Dom Marcell

It's been a long time coming, this Dom Marcell-PopDust interview. The Puerto Rican born, New Orleans raised, and Wall Street groomed singer, writer, and dancer started on his musical journey years ago, placed it to the side when he felt that he wasn't achieving success at a pace that made sense, and then picked it back up when he was prepared for the life of an artist. An infusion of caribbean, latin, and New Orleans Bounce sounds, Dom Marcell's music is his DNA. Here is his story.

"Ask somebody else about my credentials"

Dom went to an arts school for elementary and high school. He made the decision at 17 to attend college and pursue his music career simultaneously knowing that it was a big task. He majored in business and communications, recognizing the importance of combining his right and left brains, the artist with the analyst. Duality follows him wherever he goes, which makes sense for the Gemini who double majored in business and communications while in college. While in college, he made sure to stay connected to the entertainment world, interning at some of the world's biggest media brands, HBO and Atlantic records, to name a couple. When music didn't happen for Dom in what he considered a timely basis, he decided to shelve music and concentrate on his studies. A three year law and MBA program was his solution.

"At the end of the day, you have to be realistic too, you have to give yourself milestones."

Maybe it's the business major in him, but all of his goals have clearly laid out plans–complete with timelines and milestone checks varying in length of time. I guess that detail and thoughtful consideration is not only what transforms them from dreams into plans, but what makes Dom the artist so successful. Marketing strategies, building a useful team, operating as a product, and fielding candid feedback are all a part of his executed roadmap to success. How may artists do you know that conduct focus groups to determine the "viability of the music"? Yeah, in the words of the incomparable Jay-Z he's not a business man, he's a business, man.

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"I just don't go into something blind because I know I invested time and money into my JMBA...but music is a startup company."

You can't help but notice the level headedness he approaches his career, especially for an artist and creative. He parlayed his business and law degrees into his music career, trademarking and copyrighting his business entities associated with his music. How did he know it was time to pick up music again? An interesting question, to which Dom provides a thoughtful answer. After doing everything the right way, he was not satisfied with his life. While this was the dream route for many of his peers getting asked to come back to his investment firm and getting a business degree and his law degree still didn't bring him that happiness. What did was, songwriting. Interesting because when i asked him to choose between singing and songwriting without hesitation he chose songwriting. Songwriting led to the first song he recorded, DTK. He hadn't heard himself in years, and after the most important test in determining whether a song was hot or not, the car test, he failed it. He let the song sit on a shelf, came back to it as he became more comfortable with his voice, and then played the finished version for friends.The follow-up, Unique, is an affirmation that he was the person he thought he was, and not who people told him he was not. It was the song version of his reality. He was capable, accomplished, and talented.

Peep the whole interview , where he also encourages us to tell our friends that they aren't on the right path. Constructive and honest feedback is necessary. Watch us practice how to tell your friend he's not as talented as he thinks he is in the episode of Popdust Presents below.

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Un-BALL-levable! The Ball family debuts their own show

SPORTS | BALL IN THE FAMILY Ep 1 Recap: Thinking LaVar Ball is crazy is a common first impression, but nothing compares to the love he has for his family, and they for him.

"If you're a good loser then you must be good at losing."

This is how 15 year old LaMelo Ballis introduced to viewers in the opening credits of Ball In The Family, a reality show style documentary on the now infamous Ball Family. Thursday, August 30, 3017, the first two episodes of the series debuted on Facebook, and to say I was intrigued is an understatement. See, I've always loved LaVar Ball. Since the loud-mouthed visionary and father of three uttered his first boastful sentence in front of a camera, I connected with him and his sons, rooted for them, and defended them. While others saw a man that would destroy his son's career before it started, I saw a father with a plan–the typecast of a father that is under-represented but ever present. He wasn't meek, he didn't walk around with his eyes cast down and a humble smile, he didn't leave his opinions to the "experts". Nah. The eldest Ball boasted about all three of his sons, compared them to the greats, commented on every single thing basketball related, and when it came to his family, he was the expert. LaVar Ball has a special makeup, passed down to him from his own father, that also came together to form Matthew Knowles (Beyonce and Solange's father), Richard Williams (father of Venus and Serena Williams), Joe Jackson (Father to the first generation of famous Jacksons, including Michael and Janet), and maybe even your dad. It definitely was passed down to mine, which is why I recognized the Balls as part of my tribe. While their methods may be unorthodox, they are visionaries who see the world in their children, and lucky for them, their children listened. Though ecstatic, Lavar is not surprised with the success of his family, "I expect all of this to happen...Speak it into existence every time."

Ball In The Family: Episode 1- Bittersweet Victory

The first episode starts off with a family introduction. Somehow five people are all weighted equally, the three Ball brothers, their mom Tina Ball, and the patriarch, Lonzo Ball. "They were born to go pro", LaVar says as the episode cues to a flashback of Papa Ball's appearance onFirst Take with Stephen A. Smith with Stephen A. Smith in March. "I'm concerned your mouth may get in their way", Smith shouted to Ball. For as loud and proud as LaVar is known to be, I hope to subtly serve crow the same way he does to Smith, in my own documentary while using a doubter's words to launch into a series that shows I am exactly who I said I am, as I told you I would be. To be fair, comprehending why Smith doubted LaVar is not obscure. In a world of fake news and instant gratification, Ball didn't have the receipts to match his hyperbolic claims. But see, Smith hasn't been around this type of father, I was raised by one. LaVar didn't need receipts, he had all he needed. Like a prophet in the wilderness, Ball held onto his vision of the promised land, convinced his family that the only things they required in life were their talents and his vision, and held onto his faith. Sure it seemed crazy, but Ball was used to crazy being a common first impression. His most faithful teammate, his wife, thought he was crazy when they first met.

"I don't care if your eye is on the side of the face…"

The story about how LaVar and his wife, Tina, met is a perfect example of self prophecy and persistence. He met Tina, told her he was going to have her in some kind of way still to be determined and she waved him off. Though LaVar likes to compare himself with Jordan on the court, he was most like Jordan when courting his wife. He was turned away, stuck it out, she put him on the team, and then he formed a team primed and ready for threepeat championships. A vibrant Tina recounted how LaVar told her that they would have all boys pretty early in their meeting. Another prophecy fulfilled. Tina learned early that if LaVar wanted something, it would be his, even when it came to her parents. LaVar's in-laws admit they didn't accept him immediately because he was Black. He didn't back away, he didn't pressure them, he focused on the plan. Tina was his girl, as he affectionately calls her. They were going to have all boys, Laker players of course, and they would be a team.

As the show takes us behind the scenes of Lonzo's NBA draft, the Ball matriarch has a stroke that leaves her life hanging in the balance for a few weeks. Still not fully recovered, her parents recount the story with fear, but her sons recall their mom's journey with strength and confidence, something else they evidently got from their father. A few tears are stifled, three red faces go blank for a moment, but they clear up almost instantly like a summer storm. They know that they their mom will be ok, and step up as the household changes to accommodate her recovery. This is one of several times you are thankful the boys have LaVar as their father. The Compton native steps up emotionally and physically while his wife deals with her own recovery, constantly checking in on her when the family is away and reminding his sons that she is always with them. As Tina watches the draft from their house in California and the Ball boys are all in Brooklyn on draft day, LaVar reminds them that her spirit is there with them, "She hasn't missed anything since they were kids. Everywhere they go she is there."

"We believe our dad's master plan and we will do anything to make it happen."

LaVar and Tina have three sons, Lonzo(19), LiAngelo (18), and LaMelo (15). Lonzo and Melo have been featured heavily in the media over the course of this last year, seen to some as the puppets in LaVar's circus. One episode of this show easily dispels this myth. Lonzo knows his dad, his character, and accepts the fact that his quirky ways and unshakeable spirit can be seen as abrasive. He doesn't mind, and even makes fun of it in public. It's his dad that helped him get this far, and Lonzo won't stop listening now because the media speaks out against his way, "We believe our dad's master plan and we will do anything to make it happen." Because of the master plan, Lonzo is a Laker, and Melo released his first shoe today, MB1 by Baller Brand. While Lonzo is the calm and humble big brother, taking fame and the road from college to pro in stride whose only unforgiveable flaw is denouncing Nas for Migos and Future, Melo is baby LaVar. Loud, proud, and ready to perform. Gelo plays into his birthright as a middle child so far in the show. We don't know much about him other than he looks up to his big brother while being a role model for his little brother and according to his father, he too, is going to be a Laker. Only time, and more episodes will tell.

Brittiany Cierra is an entertainment and travel journalist and On-Air host highlighting where culture, music, film, television, and current events intersect. When she's not writing about people, places, and things, she's speaking about, dancing on, or marketing them. Follow the journey on twitter and Instagram.