Legendary music producer RedOne (Nadir Khayat), known for his hits with Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and others, Boyzone founder and Pop Idol judge turned-music mogul Mark Walton, and blockchain entrepreneur David Avital launched a new joint venture, SpotStar. POP Style TV had a pleasure of speaking to RedOne and Mark Walton about their new project and the music industry.
Interview by: Tijana Ibrahimovic
Edited by Edited by: Lidia Goldberg
Tijana: Hi guys. I have a special treat for you today. We have two huge names in the music industry. I’m here with RedOne and Mark Walton. We will be chatting about all sorts of things, but I’d love to start with just a little bit about your beginnings. How did you guys end up in this industry ?
RedOne: When I was sixteen, after seeing a rock group that I love called Europe my mind just went crazy. So I knew I was going to do music for the rest of my life and that’s what I was pursuing ’till now. You know? So yes, early, early, early,
Mark Walton: I think it was one year younger, 15. When I put Boyzone together, it was a big, big in my head. I was like red. A lot of people thought we were crazy with it. I just said, I’ll give it a go. There was American boy band, UK boy bands. And I was thinking, why not Irish boy band so, I took a punt and it worked, you know, so we both started very very young.
Tijana: And so how did you, um, meet and join forces?
RedOne:You were managing a huge group called Boyzone. No, no, sorry, sorry, Blue. And he wanted to work with me. H wanted them to work with me, so he reached out to my team at that time and that’s how we met.
Mark Walton: And we kind of just instantly became best friends before business, really, you know
Tijana: So Red, how do you decide whether or not you would work with someone or not?
RedOne: Ah, that’s a good question. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s gotta be something that you, you feel special about, you know, either talent or some aura or something, you know, uh, or you hear the voice. Something has to capture you.
Mark Walton: A great example is Lady Gaga.
RedOne: Yeah, when I met her, I mean, she, she didn’t have a deal. She was just actually just dropped from a label. And, uh, and it didn’t mean nothing to me, the fact that she’s not known or anything, I was like, oh my God, I feel something special with this girl. And I, I remember telling my wife, I’m going to work with this girl, whether she happens when that doesn’t happen, I’m going to work with her. And I was lucky that I worked with the right person and we created history that, that changed music in the world.
Tijana: You obviously had some hurdles in the beginning of your career.
RedOne: I left my family and everybody I love to make it globally. So that’s why I decided to, you know, to go to America. And if you make it an America, you make it everywhere. So, so, but it, it took a long time, a long time and, and the hurdles and, you know, we, you know, me and my wife had only a one man air mattress and it was very, very, very, very tough, you know, to survive. And plus, nobody gives you a chance. It’s so hard to get a chance. You, you work almost just for free, for free, for free, for free trying to get a shot. And, uh, and, and I needed somebody, which is my wife. Oh, she’s always been helping me like, come on with it. You’re going to do this. You can do it. And she convinced me to not give up that, that, that night, you know, she said, don’t worry.
We, we, you know, you’ve been trying for so long. We can make this happen. You know, like let’s try for three more months, we borrow money from my sister that dah, dah, dah. So it gave me like new, uh, new, new oxygen. If somebody tells me, you know, uh, I’m homeless, I was homeless. You know, I have no money to eat.
I had no money to eat, you know, all of that. So, so it just helps you to be, to have compassion with people, you understand what they’re going through and try to help them as much as you can. So for sure. I think it was a beautiful experience.
Mark Walton: People we’ve met over the last 10 or 12 years they’re always so surprised how normal and nice he is because if people have 1% of his success they go with the gold chains and the ego but he always surprises people like that. So is a very good thing.
Tijana: Do you think, uh, Swedish music still has a big influence on the music world?
RedOne: My influence in music was from Morocco. Before believing that you can make it we were listening to everything that’s coming from outside. Outside of the world because it’s cosmopolitan, you know, but, uh, Sweden helped me to be structured and be closer to perfection on whatever you do, you know, really take it seriously and make it sound perfect and make it so people can understand it and not just, oh, I’m challenging.
I’m going to do whatever I’m thinking, you know? A lot of times, some artists, they just put out whatever they have talent, they have row talent, but they don’t have the structure on it, you know?
And that’s what I learned. That’s how I was. I had a lot of ideas, but Sweden taught me the structure to, to make it perfect.
Straight to the point. Not too much. So people can remember, you know.
Mark Walton: Like Red said being there. Some of my favorite songs, Commanders Swedish music just goes globally. They know pop music more than from anyone in the world, you know? So I understood why he went there. Um, and when I was in one of my, I was in a group years ago on my first number one was in Sweden, actually.So it’s quite personal to me as well. You know
Tijana: Tell me a little bit about SpotStar what is SpotStar?
RedOne:What we try to do with SpotStar is to cut the middleman and to eliminate the gatekeepers. So, whatever, all the talents in the world from all over the world can create their music and put it out there without having anybody to judge by the fans.
Besides the fans, only the fans that can judge you, because what is the ultimate thing for, for an artist you want the fans to love you. To love you or to, to judge you if they like you, then you know that you’re good, but not a person that had a bad day had a fight with his wife. He could say, I don’t like your music out.
And suddenly he killed you or a judge on the X-Factor the said, no, I don’t like, why? You don’t like me, but maybe millions will like me.
Mark Walton: This is something that’s never been done. We’re kind of are going to disrupt the music industry, but in a positive way, it just helps them. As Red said the young kids out there that don’t have an opportunity to get to the fans.
Mark Walton: Also it’s the first time it’s ever been done through blockchain as well. So it’s very exciting to be honest, you know
Tijana: That’s amazing. Do you think that’s where the future of music is?
Mark Walton: I mean, we’ve talked about this when we were putting this whole thing together about YouTube, all these different places we, you can have millions of millions of views and not make a lot of money.
So what we’re kind of doing is saying, you know, so if the fans like them. They can invest in them or they can vote with tokens to put them on the chart. So you’ll see, like, it could be like a thousand acts that are really hot at the moment. And again, even would have, but work in the music industry. The most important thing is, is the fans and that’s kind of work we want to put on our platform out there, you know, that a direct, direct like Red said if they like you . So there’s no middle person, you know, if they like you, they’re going to put tokens and you’re going to know it’s real, like
RedOne: Yes. And actually it’s not a bad thing for the majors or for the, the, the big managers, like Scooter Bronze or like those kind of people, like if it grows and you see some, an artist is growing.You know, financially, and as a small company, you can even help them. The majors can help them to take it all the way. So it’s not like we’re doing something I guess, but we are letting the people, judge them immediately and investing them in.
Mark Walton:. And there’s also a limit of tokens that can be invested. So if someone sings, okay. So some guy is a millionaire, you know, buys tokens for his rich daughter. That’s not allowed. So there’s a gap on everything. To make sure it’s legitimate.
Tijana: Very exciting. So when it comes to music genre, so what do you think the world sort of needs these days?
Mark Walton: In America like most of the radio stations would play the seven, eight songs over and over.
Tijana: I was going to ask you that next, like, is there space for more than top seven, ten
Mark Walton: The truth of it is even with this platform, like we don’t need radio, sort of speak, the radio will get involved because they’re going to realize what’s the hottest thing in the world right now, because this is the fan stock. So, and that’s something we talked about for a long time. There’s a medium blast red songs of the many, many times I’ve been the eight songs on the radio, but even he said, you know what? We have to do something. This isn’t fair. We have to give kids an opportunity. And that’s why this whole idea evolved, you know?
RedOne:Yes. There’s like equal chance. Everybody can be somebody. Like the poorest kids from Africa somewhere, or from any country has just a guitar and play something that touches people suddenly like goes up because people loved him.
Tijana: Thank you so much. Uh, it was a pleasure speaking to you guys. Uh, I can’t wait to, you know, learn more about the platform and to check it out. .