Joined: 31 Dec 1969
Location: HMI World
|Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:52 am Post subject: RICHARD URBAIN: KOMPA MAGAZINE INTERVIEW (HMI PEOPLE)!
|RICHARD URBAIN is one of the most recognizable names in the HMI today in terms of behind the scenes people. Today in this installment of KM's HMI PEOPLE, we bring to you a very interesting 25 question interview with RICHARD URBAIN.
HMI PEOPLE...Because EVERYONE HAS A STORY.
1) For those of us that don't know you that well, why don't you tell us how you started in the business?
RICHARD URBAIN: My first real party was in 1993, to mark my TV show “Anous Les Jeunes” first anniversary with Phantoms
2) What led you to want to become an HMI promoter? Is there money to be made as an HMI promoter?
RICHARD URBAIN: It was during Phantoms Peak days, One Easter Sunday, there was a concert @ Brooklyn College and the promoter did not add Phantoms to the line up. I thought that was not fair, so I decided to organize a party for kids @ Chateau d’Or on Empire Blvd. I shocked and changed the HMI on that day. Back in those days, you had to be known to book a band.
Have a record label, be a media personality, own a club, and at last work for a not for profit organization. Quite frankly, I don't know when I became a promoter. I guess it was a certain degree of eagerness to demonstrate my potentials, that some how paved the way. I had to continue to show that my first success was a matter of good fortune or luck.
As far as money to be made, the odds are against us. The math does not add up. At the end of the day, the answer for me is sounding NO. Every now and then, there is a money maker, so one remains in the industry, in order to be relevant.
3) You had an affiliation with PHANTOMS early in your career. What led you to leave them to go to their rival ZIN at the height of their competition?
RICHARD URBAIN: I felt that Phantom was beginning to lose respect for me; which hurt me. In 1996, I wanted to have a party with Phantom for Jeudi Saint, and Jensen of Phantoms declined my request. I would have never approached Zin, had it not been for Pierre Michel Theodat, who encouraged me to contact Zaza, Zin's manager, who very much embraced me with open arms. From there I initiated JEUDI JEUDI ZIN and then ZIN’s Thursday program in the summer. I must tell you that two programs pretty much closed the deal on Phantoms. Brooklyn went back to ZIN. Phantoms never regained their strength in Brooklyn.
4) Do you still remember your very first HMI party as a promoter? What was it like?
RICHARD URBAIN: Great experience. My most memorable moment was producing CLAUDE BARZOTTI @ Brooklyn College. A stunning success!
5) Your biggest money making bal as an HMI promoter up to right now is?
RICHARD URBAIN: Dzine Labor Day 1999, Zin vs Tvice Easter 2000, Phantoms vs Dzine 12/24/98
6) Are you one of the top 5 HMI promoters in the business as we speak? TOP 10?
RICHARD URBAIN: No I am not.
6A) Name the TOP 5 promoters in the HMI right now as per Richard Urbain.
RICHARD URBAIN: First of all, let’s not put NY promoters in that category. It is not fair. No market is as competitive as NY. A party in NY attended by 700 guests should compared to a 1500 to 2000 attendees in those other market.
On the basis of their role and relative recent success in their respective markets, I find:Evans Blaise NY, Joubert Charles Haiti, Rodney Noel Miami, Moschino Canada, Jean Eddy Bazile Boston.
7) Your biggest REGRET as a member of the HMI
RICHARD URBAIN: Jesifra’s first show in NY presented by Venus Productions. Due to my lack of experience at that time, I failed to order back line for the sound. The show started 1 hour late, and a lot of people left and got their money back. Eric Virgal was performing and the gentleman, who was his rep, demanded that he gets paid in full, before going on the stage, and I just lost it on him.
In retrospect, I thought I was mean, I unfair, and acted cowardly, because I had my crew with me. I WISH TO APOLOGIZE TO THIS DUDE. I HAVE NOT SEEN HIM SINCE THAT DAY
7A) What about your proudest moment(S) so far?
RICHARD URBAIN: 2006 KREYOL LA on PARKWAY.Brokered a peace agreement between Joubert and Gracia Delva when I went to Haiti. Also the day when I had Gazman and Arly on the phone for the first time after their breakup in Dzine. Also When I accompanied Gracia to the Embassy
If you had to pay the money for the RICHIE/GRACIA CD...would you do it again? Why or why not?
RICHARD URBAIN: No I would not have. It was an emotional decision. One that brought me a lot of fame, and at the same time earned me a bad reputation with other promoters.
9) Can we expect a SEQUEL of RICHIE/GRACIA produced by you?
RICHARD URBAIN: No, never again. I think I had miscalculated the enormity of such a project.
10) A lot of people don't know that you are probably the main reason why ARLY/GAZZMAN got back to working together to create Nu Look after what went down in Dzine. Tell us how that went down.
RICHARD URBAIN: I would not say that I was the main reason. First and foremost they wanted to, because I would not have been able to force their hands. I would take credit for being the one to FACILITATE their first direct conversation, but it was something that I had before, and I failed repeatedly.
Somehow, Arly called me one morning, which was a daily routine between us, except that this time, he was calling to share the news of the birth of his first child. I excitingly asked him to hold the line and I called Gazman to share the news with him. Gazman wondered if the child was being named Garly? (GAZMAN/ARLY) To which I replied, why don't you ask him? He agreed, from there, they conceived their own baby, who has grown and is now known as NU LOOK. If either party had said no to that 3 way conversation, it would not have taken place. Let me steal a famous phrase from George Bush “It was all about conditions on the ground” at the time Bro CIRCUMSTANCES!!!
11) Why aren't you in charge of their booking, or working with Nu Look?
RICHARD URBAIN: I was NU LOOK's NY Rep from 2002 to 2004. Arly and Gazman would tell you that it was because I lost interest. Their current Rep is doing a good job, protecting their interest.
12) Who is the HMI personality/person that you RESPECT the most. Why?
RICHARD URBAIN: JUBE, I find that he treats everyone with respect. Although, he and I disagree more than 50% of the time. He is one person to make me feel that it is not always about the $$$ sign.
13) Are you FOR or AGAINST promoters from out of town doing parties outside of their home state? Why/Why not?
RICHARD URBAIN: Kote'm pran tan? Ou we'm gen tan. That street mentality is not an approach that I personnally condone. This HMI is not that serious for anyone to be fighting over territory. If there was a lot of money to be made, I could have invested my money in every town where the HMI is vibrant, except that i would use someone who resides there as the front person.
14) Festival of the Island: Where do you see that going? Will it stick around, or will it fold?
RICHARD URBAIN: I do not know what the future holds. People tend to identify me with that festival more than my co-investors. Ironnically, that was their main concern. They thought that the festival would have become known as Urbain Richard's festival. I only held 20% share of that festival. I was no more important than the rest of them.
What hurts me the most, was the fact that I allowed folks to lead me down the drain. I totally regret that investment, because I have absolutely nothing to show for it. TOTAL DISASTER.
15) Tell us about your upcoming COMPAS ON BROADWAY show next year.
RICHARD URBAIN: Wow!!! Compas on Broadway, Pat you know what, I am hoping that it works. NY needs that big show. I am so proud of my team collaborators. They are working tirelessly to make this show a success. This is not about me. This is about the HMI, our culture, being showcased at a very different level.
16) Your detractors would say "WHAT" about you? (People that don't like you)
Map fe we
16A) What about your ADMIRERS? (The ones that like or respect you)
I think out of the box
I am courageous
I am fair
I never started something I could not do
He is not a thief
17) You made the transition from TV host to HMI promoter. How difficult was that?
RICHARD URBAIN: It was rather easy. At the time, Bands such as Phantom and to a lesser extent Zin, were the main sponsors. Instead of giving you a couple dollars monthly, they would give you a date to throw a party, and you work your butt off to make it successfull. On camera, I am the Host; and off camera, I was a promoter
1 If you were to retire from the HMI today, what do you think would be the thing that you are best remembered for?
RICHARD URBAIN: I would honestly want to be remembered for nothing that I have done so far. I don't there is anything that I have done to seperate me from the rest. Please reserve judgement until COMPAS ON BROADWAY, THE HAITIAN MUSIC AWARD, APRIL 12, 2009 @ the AVERY FISHER HALL, LINCOLN CENTER, NYC.
19) You are currently in charge of HANGOUT in New York. Why do you think they haven't been able to hit the market by storm? Any plans to stop working with them?
RICHARD URBAIN: HANGOUT- I don't know. Perhaps it's chemistry. Perhaps it's management, perhaps it's destiny. I wonder if there is any one musician, whose heart is really with that band. Is there one musician, who can rally the troops in difficult times. Mind you, they play well. It seems to me that no one cares.
20) Dramatic turnaround by the Kreyol La crew in terms of how they were after carnaval 2008, to how they are right now. What happened in your opinion?
RICHARD URBAIN: I think their live format has been well accepted by their fans. I also think that, this was a group of guys, whose resolve had not yet been tested. Things always seemed too easy for them. When they were faced with adversity, they did the right thing by regrouping and rethinking their strategy. It is paying off.
21) You once told me that the HMI is a drug. You are addicted to it. Why do you think that is?
RICHARD URBAIN: I made that famous statement in 2004, the board came down crashing on me. Members thought that I was being cocky, among other things. Others threatened not to ever support my events (as if I cared). However, when Gary Pierre Pierre and Fito Farinen repeated the same thing a year or 2 later, folks understood.
ADDICTION: We complain every day, but we never quit. It does not pay off, but we still investing in it.
22) Upcoming bands in the business are upset because they feel that HMI promoters such as yourself, refuse to give them a chance, preferring instead to go with the top/popular groups. YOUR ANSWER/ADVICE TO THEM IS.....
RICHARD URBAIN: They may be right Pat. I am sorry, I am not here to satisfy anyone's ego. Just about every band out there, started out of a conflict by two members of another band. Once a musician leaves a band, he begins to form another, with the hope that someone such as my self would help them along. The market is saturated. I would not give anyone reason to make it worse.
23) The TOP 5 bands in the market right now as we speak in terms of bal moneymakers....ARE...
24) How can you break into this business as a new promoter, and still be able to book dates with top bands?
RICHARD URBAIN: There was a time when you had to pay your dues, but those days are gone. Behind close doors, most band managers have respect for only a hand full of us (PROMOTERS KI KAPAB PEYE) . However, they are fearfull of the consequences that they or their band would face, if they did not want to deal with certain promoters. (Big Dogs, Bad Boys)
My advice is to start small. Book a CARIMI, a ZIN, a DOLA on a friday, and prove your self. Later on, Try NU LOOK, or DJAKOUT, or KREYOL LA, or KREZI, or T-VICE still on a Friday, (2nd group would be more expensive, because of other transportation cost). That to me is the conventional way to earn the right to join the league of HMI promoters. lol
25) Can YOU make the KREYOL LA/KREZI bal happen?
RICHARD URBAIN: Yes I can. Don't you let anyone fool you. There is no beef so deep in the HMI, that can't be settled. One has to position one self above those conflicts; come across as someone, who can be fair, and be trusted. Last but not least be willing to pay a high price, and be ready for the criticism that would come from other envious promoters.
(INTERVIEW conducted by PATRICK DESVARIEUX for KOMPA MAGAZINE)
KOMPAMAGAZINE CONTACT INFO
Phone: (646) 529-5735
Last edited by kompamagazine on Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:36 pm; edited 1 time in total