It’s not every day that a clean-cut “Joe College” type will slam the brakes on his long-term goals and aspirations to switch lanes, but that’s exactly what Courtney Lowery did long before earning his title of vice president of publicity for a major record label. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, the New Jersey native accepted a scholarship to attend graduate school — and a full-time job at a Fortune 500 company. As fate would have it, an actor friend needed a ride for a gig on a random day when Lowery had nothing better to do. Within six months, he quit his job and dropped out of school for a fresh start pursuing a career in entertainment.
Did you really walk away from a graduate school scholarship and a full-time job after experiencing the fascination of walking onto a music television set?
As soon as I stepped on that set, I just felt something. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I knew right at that moment that the entertainment business was for me. I just can’t describe the feeling that came over me.
For someone who never showed any interest in pursuing television or music, your parents must have been devastated when you suddenly switched career paths.
Obviously, that caused a big uproar at my house. My dad felt I was making a big mistake, but my mom said if I was that passionate, I should follow what I was feeling. So I ended up reaching out to every A&R I could find in New York and California.
After a year of interning for free at one of music’s hottest labels, you found your niche and were offered a job in publicity. How critical is your time management?
Time is always of the essence — I have to think ahead. When thinking print features in magazines for our artists, I’m planning three months out. When dealing with my online partners, I’m talking what’s happening today, tomorrow and next week.
Were you familiar with Casio G-Shock prior to working on this project?
I’ve been a fan of G-Shock for a while. I own three or four watches. It’s a great price point, and with all the different colors they have, you can mix it up with your outfits. When I got in the music business, I met someone at the brand and got invited to different events. That’s when I started to realize that G-Shock is a lifestyle.
As a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, steel, baseball and football were the common trending topics of discussion when Arthur Pitt’s hometown was mentioned. Thanks to Pitt and his success within Benjy Grinberg’s locally founded Rostrum Records, hip-hop has recently been added to the Burgh’s claims to fame. Long before millions of records were sold, before global brand recognition was attained and before his current vice president status was acquired, Pitt easily recalls his humble beginnings, his sacrifices to create superstars and his passion to put Pittsburgh on the hip-hop map.
Was it hard to convince local talent that you could help move their careers forward?
I was a smart, college-educated kid, but not too many people believed in me at first because I didn’t have any experience. I grew up in hip-hop culture; I grew up listening to rap music. I wanted to do it, I just didn’t know how.
Once you got some momentum and gathered an understanding about how the
business worked, where
did you end up spending a great deal of your time?
I handed out flyers, I was selling CDs, putting them in stores for consignment. It was the digital age, too, and I’m pretty good with computers, so I was able to implement digital marketing. We started putting out a lot of free music, and we figured out a formula as a team.
It must be extremely fulfilling to know you’ve had artists gamble on you who were ultimately rewarded with millions in sales.
Forget the millions in sales and the touring worldwide — when you start to break artists, and people are feeling them, that’s when the artists are usually at their happiest point. With success I learned that things become more difficult, if anything. It’s not as celebratory as everybody thinks. The work gets harder because there’s more pressure.
Doing photo shoots to flex with hot new timepieces are definitely one of the many perks that come with success. What are your thoughts on the G-Shock brand?
I like Casio G-Shock, and so do my artists. They ask me if I know anyone at G-Shock. I feel like Casio has rebranded itself a lot, and the youth love it. Whatever the youngsters say is hot — that’s hot.