Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Come Up: A&R Gabriel “G-Code” Zardes via The Source

Many of the homies around town know this dude, and the fact he works closely with a great, Nas, makes this a guy to watch out for and support. I recently came across an article about him on The Source's website. Since I'm about supporting the city: in front of the scenes or behind them. He works with some other folks we support around these parts too. Hit the jump to read the article.

Highlighting Hip-Hop’s Next Power Players
No matter how big an artist is, there’s always someone behind them that’s making things happen. For Nas, that’s Gabriel “G-Code” Zardes. Since his early days of throwing parties with friends in Los Angeles, G-Code has come a long way. His start in the music industry came in the form of A&R'ing for singer/songwriter J. Myers. Now, he’s currently Hip-Hop’s godson Nas’ right hand man. The life behind the scenes caught his attention after he found himself meeting different people and getting numerous opportunities to travel the world. When he’s not in the role of road manager for several tours, including Distant Relatives, Rock the Bells, and the Life Is Good tour in Europe and the USA, he takes the seat as executive A&R at Emagen Entertainment Group. Here he reveals key points surrounding his career thus far and even lets us into his life as an A&R. Take notes.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry?
In 2006, I was working with a singer/songwriter/producer J. Myers. He's very talented. I noticed that the behind the scenes became intriguing to me. Once you start to learn the business side of the industry, it gets kind of interesting. You start to learn something new everyday.
How did you find yourself in key positions like working alongside Nas?
Between sitting in sessions from time to time and doing marketing/advertisement on "Untitled" for Emagen, the position kind of just happened. It was more so of just being in the right place at the right time. I was hanging out with Nas before we started working together. He's like a big brother. Distant Relatives was the start of me handling all of his music. I learned his work ethics and music early from being around. When it started, there was no ‘This person do this, this person do that.’ I was already there so I took on the tasks.
You are an A&R at Emagen Entertainment Group. What do you do throughout the day?
Besides always being on the go, I search for new talent in all genres as well as spend a lot of time going through emails, listening to demos, and reading bios of artists who reach out. I also often sit in sessions with various artist, and producers to build and create fresh new ideas. I’m steady working on new material with everyone under the Emagen umbrella. 
What advice do you have for someone aspiring to be an A&R?
Work hard and be yourself at the end of the day. Sometimes being yourself can get you a lot further than a résumé can. You don't want be the person that nobody can tolerate (Laughs).  You got to have a lot of patience. Also, go in with an open mind and be prepared to spend countless hours listening. Stay hungry and treat every project as if it was your very own. Keep your eyes and ears open and be on that 24/7 grind.  No days off. No sleep!
When working on Life Is Good, did you think the project would get that amount of positive attention that it receives?
Honestly, I did and I'm not being biased. In music, a lot of artists put out records that are watered down and have no substance. That’s no diss to anyone else but I feel like no other rap album was as personal and honest as this one at the time. It showed maturity and growth. We were getting a real story on an artist’s life from the artist. That’s much better than listening to the media putting out their version of what they think is going on. And I’m sure everyone can relate one way or another once you hear Life Is Good. To add, the production was incredible and fitting for any mood. It was very musical. You got to respect it.
What's next on your agenda?
The Grammy's is next. We're nominated for four Grammy's for Life Is Good so hopefully we'll walk away with all of them. We already started going back in the studio for another album. There's a lot of stuff that we did that wasn't put on the last album. I think the next one is going to be 10xs better than the last. Not knocking the last but we just got some great material in the works. As far as Emagen Entertainment Group, we’re working with a new singer by the name of Nylo who I think a lot of people are going to love. We have a few big shows and tours. We also have producer Fisticuffs who produced most of Miguel’s debut album and also a few songs for Jhene Aiko’s mixtape. There’s a bunch of other producers and songwriters as well so we’ll just be making a lot of moves this year.
Follow G-Code on Twitter: @GabeHeight
-Danitha Jones @LifeLikeJones