From Konvict To CEO
Though Bu Thiam has quietly made a name for himself in the music business he's still mistaken for his older sibling, R&B superstar Akon on a regular basis. On the contrary Bu has been building his reputation based on his own hard work since the beginnings of Konvict Musik. As the co-CEO of all Konvict entities, Thiam carries the bulk of the responsibility for the movement of the labels: Konvict Musik, KonLive Distribution, and now, BuVision. He's a well-known figure in the Atlanta music wave, with nods from Young Jeezy and T.I. That is until LA Reid (Def Jam chairman and CEO) saw something larger in him and his track record. In addition to his duties with the Konvict umbrella, Bu was also a trusted consultant for Def Jam. That is before head honcho LA Reid saw something more and offered Bu the opportunity of his life.
03:00PM ET November 11, 2009
Contributor: Nadine Graham
A Rocky Williform Company
Let's get an official response to the rumors that are circulating on the streets. What exactly is your new title up there at Def Jam?
Sure. I have just been named Senior Vice President of Island Def Jam by LA Reid.
And what does that position signify for your career, besides the obvious?
It means a lot for my career. It's a new, opened door for me that'll bring opportunities for my peers, my writers, and producers, just everybody. You know what I mean?
You've made a prominent name for yourself out in Atlanta. What will your Senior VP status do for the city? You have to move up north don't you?
Well, I'll be up there. But I'll still be down here in the streets too. And as for the city, I'll be able to bring acts from Atlanta and bring a whole other view into the building, because I already feel like the people that... There are a bunch of older heads that don't really understand our music and our culture so I'm thankful for the opportunity to bring that energy into the building.
How did the promotion go down?
Well, basically, LA Reid just came to me. He saw that I signed T-Pain; he saw that I had something to do with Lady Gaga. I asked him: "What goals are you trying to accomplish right now?" He was like: 'I want to break new acts.' He said that he had decided that he loved my energy and what I'm doing. Shortly after that, he came to me with the Senior VP position.
Things can get tricky with you at Def Jam and Konvict under the Universal umbrella, can't they?
Well, we have a special contract with Jive. We have Konvict Entertainment with Universal, which is Akon. We have KonLive which is a four to five label deal with Interscope. KonLive is Kardinal Offishall, Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and people like that. But Def Jam will absolutely take us in the direction that we need to go.
What direction is that?
It'll give me the opportunity to understand the music industry fully. I've been independent all my life. I've never really worked for nobody. I feel like this is my opportunity to learn the corporate world and I feel like once I get the corporate world and the opportunities that come with it, I'll be a force to be reckoned with in this industry.
And your work load has obviously increased right?
Oh yeah, but my responsibilities are still to bring new ideas to the table. Like, it was my idea to put Jeezy with Rihanna on that 'So Hard'. I had a lot to do with her album. Like, my responsibilities are a lot, but none of it is anything I haven't done before. I'll just take it all on head first.
Tell us a bit about your fledging label, BuVision.
BuVision is a joint venture with Def Jam. We've got a lot of different type artists on there. Bree D'Val, Sean Teezy, Prynce, Rachel Assil and Tami Chynn, who's kind of on the reggae tip but she's singing. They're all dope.
What does an artist need to have to catch your eye?
You've got to have originality, charisma, superstar quality, and confidence. You've really got to want to change the world with your music.
Are you going to use that same method to choose artists for Def Jam?
I'm never gonna change how I choose an artist because it works for me. A lot of A&Rs and executives in this game, when they look for an artist, they look for a particular face, a particular name... I want something special, something wild. Like Lady Gaga is wild and different. I don't want to do the same thing everybody else is doing.