Manager, A&R and underground influencer, Dommy Divine is set on becoming the SoundCloud Rick Rubin. By surrounding himself with extreme, untapped potential and creating real, long lasting relationships with the artists under his care, Dommy is well on his way to sustained success in this game. A true businessman, Dommy has proven he cares only for allowing creatives to create and get payed, without having to worry about the logistical nightmare that can often be found behind the doors of any major label conference room. That, coupled with an undying belief in himself and those that he partners with, and it won't be long until we hear his name being mentioned among some of the biggest acts of rap's future.
Taking time out of his packed schedule, Dommy showed us love here at Contagion Media and answered some questions we had about how he got where he is and how he does what he does. We’ve kept the conversation going since the initial interview and were able to pull a few more gems from the man himself, so keep reading below to get some invaluable advice and real stories of growth.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I’ve always been super into music. At a young age [I was] listening to Young Jeezy & Chingy with my boys, but it wasn’t until my clothing brand started to pop off and I was sending my gear to artists much more than anyone else I realized my heart was in music.
What introduced you to the underground/SoundCloud scene?
I was first introduced to the underground via Raider Klan, to be more specific I got hip to Yung Simmie the year I was graduating high school. I remember walking around senior year with my beats headphones on thinking I was so cool. Simmie was so raw and like nothing else I had heard before. I discovered Simmie through a dude from New Jersey, I can't remember his name right now, but he had a feature with [A$AP] Rocky and then Simmie had a feature with that dude. That led to me finding the rest of the Klan and in no later than a year I was sponsoring this festival called, Burning Mad, in San Diego. That was super dope because it was the first time I got to interact with artists on a face to face level. The festival was Seshollowaterboyz before they called themselves that, Simmie, Pouya and Fat Nick. Oh yea and Krez was there too, shout out a legend for real.
How did you start your career managing artists and A&R'ing?
I started managing when I booked my first tour. It was for Slug Christ, we both barely knew each other and had just done business on the internet. After the first 3 dates we crushed on tour, Slug asked me if I wanted to be his manager. That shit was hella cool and I didn’t even believe him that I asked the next day. The A&R shit came a lot more recently, I just have been maneuvering making artists in any ways I could. I had practically been an A&R with the title independent. I bumped into Tyler from the Orchard at a GBC, [GOTHBOICLIQUE], studio session in Brooklyn and we stayed in contact. Next thing you know I’m bringing Slug in for a meeting and bringing other artists in for distribution deals.
How did you connect with GBC?
I originally connected with GBC like way, way back in the day, I was Facebook friends with Tracy and he posted that he hadn't eaten in two days and wanted pizza, so I PayPal'd him $20 and in return he offered me a Yung Bruh verse on a Horse Head beat. A few years later we finally met in California, at a Fat Nick show (that was my first time in LA and I met a lot of people that I would eventually do business with). Tracy was opening up with Peep, that was also the first time I met Peep. I remember him asking me for something and telling me I saved his life that night.
After that I started sending them care packages of Divine Minds gear and I went out to LA again, but this time I was on tour with Xavier Wulf and Tracy was starting to pop off, I remember Wulf and them playing "come again" every night on tour. This time around I met a lot more of the members. I can't remember who exactly, but I remember Nick Blanco had given me his number as a connect to them. Little did I know that a year later they would rent my tour bus that I had just recently bought, I ended up becoming the driver for Lil Tracy's XOXO tour. That's when I really became involved with GBC, The tour had Mackned, Raven, Bighead, Nick and Tracy. That tour was really special & I made some great friendships with those guys.
Can you tell me a little about "Divine Minds" and your connection to them?
Divine Minds is a movement/brand/company whatever the fuck you wanna call it. Myself and my two best friends, Gardenz and Chump Change wanted to start something to encourage people to chase their dreams and think outside the box the government was pushing on us. We were aware of all that BS, but were too young to do anything except unite and bring awareness. I had a lot of fire in my heart because my brother had just passed away and I wanted to put that energy into something. Shout out my brothers I started Divine Minds with.
Are you still running the clothing brand and if not how did that come to an end?
I am still a part of Divine Minds, but it has shifted into something different over the years. Gardenz left the group, but Chump Change is still active.
What do you see Divine Minds growing into as it progresses?
I can see Divine Minds progressing into a major factor in the Music & Fashion scene, some sort of system that breaks artists through at will and brings to you some of the best festivals on Earth. I recently teamed up with Pete & Sam 3G, some of the best media people in my city and we have a lot to unveil in the upcoming months.
I know you said you worked with Slug Christ through the internet, how did that connection initially begin?
I met with Slug Christ via twitter and we started making merchandise together and getting racked up. Then I went on tour with Xavier Wulf and met him in Atlanta. He performed and we met, I actually thought he was kind of a dick but I’ve grown to understand that he wasn’t and that’s just how he is in public lol.
How did you end up on an Xavier Wulf tour?
So that's a really crazy story for me, I had been a huge fan of Wulf since 2012 and I had just met him in Montreal and then again in LA and both times I mentioned how he needed to come to Boston since there's a huge following for him there. Eventually he dropped the flyer for his first headlining tour and it had a Virginia date, a day off and a NYC date. I reached out to Wulf and told him he should hit Boston and he said he would be down as long as the show was booked. So I ran around Boston asking all the venues if they would book him.
I had no idea how that stuff worked so I was just calling venues and telling them to book him, and it got to the point where I got denied from every venue so I decided I would take it into my own hands and throw the show myself. I found a warehouse in Boston that was down for me to rent it out and I told Wulf to throw Boston on the flyer. Up to that moment I had only made merchandise with Divine Minds and had no prior knowledge to these events, but I got some friends to loan me money so I could afford the venue and Wulf, which was nerve racking since I had zero dollars to my name. Long story short, we made a Divine Minds x Hollowsquad collab to sell at the show and my partner, Joseph, told me we should make more shirts than we needed for the show so we could sell them online after. The show came and it was amazing. At first I was so nervous because only 30 tickets sold online, but by the end of the night 600+ had been in attendance. The homies from No Jumper came out and vlgoged the show, you can find it on YouTube, "The Boston Weed Party." Anyways the next day I texted Wulf's tour manager, Morgan, and asked if we could sell the leftover shirts at their next show, and that's how it started because we didn't get back to Boston until the last day of tour.
You recently put on another type of show, right?
The first ever Divine Minds fest! It was really an amazing experience, it felt like a big family reunion and the fans were there for every second of it, from the time we walked on stage ‘til 4 hours later when tracy was performing his hits with Peep!
From your first concert to your latest, what are some of your favorite moments?
I can't really pick one specifically that stick out, but seeing Chump Change (one of my childhood best friends) performing at a sold out ham on everything in LA, that was great because it was something we spoke about doing years ago and to see it manifest and unfold right in front of us was super surreal. Another moment that was great was being on stage and hyping up the crowd for Ski Mask & XXXTENTACION's performance at Rolling Loud; I believe that was X's last ever performance and to be involved with that type of energy really was something else.
If you could go back to that guy scrambling to get Xavier Wulf a show in Boston, what would you tell him?
Get a haircut.
You said earlier that official A&R’ing was pretty new for you, how’d you start working with Sony?
Like I said previously, I had been maneuvering with the homies, making money on the business side of things for artists. I just see them and how creative they are, I want to let them focus on that and me to handle everything else. But tbh people think I am an artist because of my relationships with them, very personal friendships before they were business. Anyways Tyler from the Orchard recognized I have the ability to make things make sense for people, he described me as “a suit, a business man, but dressed in Bape hanging in the trenches”, funny, yet very true. The artists know they can trust me and my intentions are pure and have their best in mind. I’m the connecting piece from the big business man and the artists, Dommy Divine lmao
What do you look for in an artist you are considering managing or helping to get signed?
Work ethic. If an artist works hard then they can make it. Seriously with the internet & all these outlets you can take anybody and make them a star. But personally, myself, I’m really only working with friends or friends of friends. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin and not be able to give my guys my all. I love them too much to not be able to put my all into them.
Are there any artists you see working right now that you believe could make it big?
Yea, every artist I’m working with right now is going to be a superstar.
Which artists are you working with right now?
Right now I'm working with more artists than I can name, but I am starting up a booking agency and my current roster consists of: Chxpo, Black Kray, Slug Christ, Dylan Ross, J.K the Reaper, Nell, Little Pain, 5 Finger Posse, some of the GBC. And that's just what I'm coming up with off the top of my head.
I’ve seen you talking about a possible festival announcement, any insider info we can get in on?
Imma do it in New England for the home town people <3 ... before it goes on the road.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
Being able to build lifelong friendships with my favorite artists.
Finally, do you have any pieces of advice for people who hope to become an A&R themselves?
Legit just do everything and anything. Network, network, network. Build bonds off real feelings and energy. If something doesn’t feel right get the fuck out. If it feels right, it was meant to be. Also know how valuable you are.
I recently decided that I am a factor and that’s how I became one.