Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections
(Page 2 of 2)

Martin Kierszenbaum has a knack for finding the next big thing

Yes, Lady Gaga is huge now. But before Kierszenbaum, the chairman of Cherrytree Records, began working with her, few knew who she was. He has that effect on musical acts.

June 29, 2011|By Melinda Newman, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Far East Movement co-founder Kevin Nishimura (a.k.a. Kev Nish) first learned of Kierszenbaum when he interned for Interscope in 2002: "He [was] high up on the fifth floor. We had no reason to be on [that] floor." But several years later, as Kierszenbaum began wooing Far East Movement, Nishimura found Kierszenbaum exceedingly down to earth. Unlike other label talent execs, Kierszenbaum "saw the cultural relevance" of not only Far East Movement's connections to the Asian American community, but also to the downtown scene. He encouraged the group members to capture their daily lives in the video for "Like a G6."

Kierszenbaum's musical ability appealed to Far East Movement, but Nishimura says it was Kierszenbaum's savvy marketing sense too. "I'd never met an executive at that level who goes into the chat rooms [on Cherrytree.com] and talks to [the fans]," he says. It was that interaction that led to "Like a G6" becoming the first single. Nishimura gave a mix tape to Kierszenbaum, who began playing the song on the label's Internet station, Cherrytree Radio. "Like a G6" ultimately became the first song by an Asian American group to top the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S.

Although much of the music industry chases trends, Kierszenbaum prides himself that none of Cherrytree's acts sound like anyone else. "I never let market conditions dictate what I sign," he says. "I sign quality and then figure out a way to get the market to see it and get into it."

calendar@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|