Michael "Voe Vegas" Harrison
And their persistence paid off, when they convinced Dedra Tate, who is now the President of Flava Unit, and produces the Vibe Awards every year, to become their manager. It was through her guidance they produced their first paying record for Debelah Morgan at Atlantic Records. They were now on the map and record companies were beginning to call them.
"I don't remember wanting to be anything else,â€? says Michael "Voe Vegas" Harrison of Tycoon Entertainment. "Voe," which stands for vocalist, started wowing audiences with his voice as a youngster in the St. Charles Borromeo Church Choir.
This Harlem native at 13 years old caught the eye of Greg G, the 4th member in the then popular Harlem rap group the Disco 4. Greg G was so impressed with his tenacity and talent, he then introduced Voeâ€™s quintet "First Impressions" to Teddy Riley who was a producer with Uptown Records. â€œI used to go from high school to Teddy's house to practice,â€? he notes, adding that a lot of the things he learned from Teddy he teaches his artists today.
Although they never received any formal training, First Impressions began to create a buzz in the city, performing in popular venues such as Harlem's Roof Top where the likes of LL Cool J, Run DMC, Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh were attendees. Things were looking up for the young group as they moved on to work with Larry Blackman, the producer of the group "Cameo," but when a demo song they created with him resurfaced on Bobby Brown's first solo album without receiving compensation, they soon realized they had a lot more to learn. â€œNobody ever tells you everything you are supposed to know, you gotta learn the hard way," he cautions. Frustrated with the music business the group broke up in the late 80's while Voe continued his quest to acquire more. "Life is what you make it,â€? he says.
As a straight A student his mother wanted him to be a lawyer while his father had dreams of him joining the military but for him, "the real world has always been about music."
Voe took a break from the industry and started saving up money he earned from working at a local bank to build a music production studio. When he hooked up with his old high school friend Pop they became known as the producers called the Hitmen. â€œI'm of the streets but I'm not street,â€? he acknowledges, about learning the art of hustling from growing up in the projects on 141st and Lenox. â€œMy understanding of the streets is that this is the lowest we are ever going to go.â€?
The Hitmen walked daily from their studio in Harlem to downtown to show record labels samples of their music because they could not afford to ride the train. And their persistence paid off, when they convinced Dedra Tate, who is now the President of Flava Unit, and produces the Vibe Awards every year, to become their manager. It was through her guidance they produced their first paying record for Debelah Morgan at Atlantic Records. They were now on the map and record companies were beginning to call them.
They produced the entire album for the female R&B group Zhane, including the hits "It's a Groove Thang, "Hey Mr. DJ" and "Listen to the Vibe." They once were signed to Prince's label Paisley Park and worked with the Wu-Tang Clan to score the 1999 movie "Black and White" starring Brooke Shields, Robert Downey Jr. and Mike Tyson. They also produced the pop album for Michael Fredo, Tommy Hilfiger's nephew who toured with Britney Spears.
But God tends to show people endless and mysterious ways of his powers. It was shortly after he came off of the national tour with Fredo that he envisioned some sort of status symbol resembling the letters T-Y-C. Fast forward to a year later and those same letters together became the current logo of his new record label Tycoon Records Inc. It is here that all of his accomplishments have transgressed into his true purpose in life.
From Singer to Producer to President he is now honing other's dreams. Voe just returned from a radio tour to promote the label's first act "Fortune," a soulful R&B quartet who croons ballads so tenderly sweet, reminiscent of the way love songs used to be. Their debut album "And the Winners Are . ." can be found in Tower Records in NYC and its first single "I Love You" is currently airing on entertainment television shows overseas. A rap compilation cd of unsigned NY artists "Fight Club to the Yacht Club" will soon follow.
You can catch Fortune's performance on Valentine's Day at Nightingale Lounge, 213 2nd Avenue, E. 13th Street. Doors open at 6:30 pm, Showtime at 8pm. For more information contact Michael "Voe Vegas" Harrison at www.tycoonrecordsinc.com
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