“I’ll just say, I’ve lost a lot,” admits the Bronx born creative entrepreneur and founder of Vinyl Crown who responds to the name: Saint Cassius. He always wanted to be the product of his imagination – whatever he dreamed he could be, he’s done, became or on the way to becoming. While Saint Cassius assumes the title of creative entrepreneur, he’s at heart a music man. Earning life-affirming awards from ASCAP and a Grammy nod for his wordsmith contributions to Bruno Mars’ No. 1 hit debut single “Just the Way You Are” in addition to platinum recognition for his role on J. Cole’s
“No Role Modelz” track. His self-proclaimed “sky’s the limit” mentality doesn’t let him linger in his own success for long. In 2017 he started Vinyl Crown, a hub for independent companies that are grounded in arts and entertainment. Saint Cassius is the backbone of this company, listening to people’s ideas to help inform a shared vision. Here’s an excerpt from our interview.
Share a bit about your dream. What did it start out as, how has it manifested, and in what ways has it changed?
I’ve always had lofty dreams. I know this sounds corny but I dreamt about becoming who I’m becoming now. Maybe not the path but definitely the ideology of a creative entrepreneur who can thrive on multiple platforms. I don’t think my dream was something I’d seen before and there was no straight line to it. I’m not sure that it’s changed, but I’ve experienced a fair share of the dream feeling foggy at times and clearer in others.
So is Vinyl Crown the manifestation of the dream?
Vinyl Crown is the result of my vision to build a brand that conceives ideas from some of the most creative minds in music, art and lifestyle. On the music front, we’re working to relaunch Vinyl Crown Recordings, which was the original flagship company of Vinyl Crown, and our independent record label.
Just last month we launched Nyáma, fulfilling both our art and lifestyle vision. Nyáma is a new creative design agency, leading the charge in changing the way artists and major brands are publishing content including: album packaging, merchandise design and content creation. In 2019, we’re planning to launch a new company called, Sample: The Library.
What is the inspiration behind the name Vinyl Crown?
The inspiration behind the name comes from my personal belief that to look forward, you have to look back. The name Vinyl Crown represents history, taste and a push for quality.
What motivates you to want to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t know that I’m motivated to be an entrepreneur, honestly. Truth is, I haven’t really known the alternative well enough to feel like it was an option for me. I’m a college dropout with little to no work experience and a “sky’s the limit” mentality. That doesn’t necessarily scream corporate superstar. I’ve never been afraid to eat what I kill and once I learned how to develop pipeline income, I enjoyed leveraging assets as much as I enjoy generating new income.
What do you need to thrive in New York?
I’ve lived in Atlanta & LA each for at least 5 years before moving back to New York. New York, especially Harlem is just the capital of African American culture in America. But in New York you have to be deliberate about being here. Between the weather, the constant grind, and the inability to settle – there will be reasons to leave if you aren’t deliberate about being here. It’s not trendy, it’s an intentional step in wanting to build something forever. You need to find something or someone who reminds you of home. You need a metrocard. You need a sense of minimalism toward personal belongings and you need to know how to properly tie a scarf.