Tricky Montgomery on the Music Industry

Thursday, Jul. 21st 2016 4:01 PM
Want to break into the music industry? Whether songwriting or performing is of interest, we’ve got just the man … and celebrity stories too … on this edition of Frank Relationships.


Guests: Tricky Montgomery
Date: July 21, 2016

Frank: Want to break into the music industry? Whether song writing or performing is of interest, we’ve got just the man … and celebrity stories too … on this edition of Frank Relationships.

Yes. As always, those are my babies. Thanks for getting daddy’s daughter today.

How’d you get the deal for your song writer to write the Grammy award winning song “The Only Girl in the World” by Rihanna?

Tricky: Well that came based off of constant working and relationships and we already established a great relationship with Def Jam and Rock Nation so when it came a time to work on that project, they put a request in for her to come to the studio. She went in the studio with [unclear] by the name of Stargate to create exactly for Rihanna and they created that record and the rest is history.

Frank: There’s so much in what you’ve just said. There’s so many questions in what you just said. When you said “great history”, how’d you create a great history with Def Jam? How’d you create a great history with Rock Nation? And when you say they requested her, they requested the actual song writer and she came into the studio and wrote the song in the studio?

Tricky: They reached out to me and requested that they will put together a writing champ to work on Rihanna’s new project. When I say “great relationships” that comes with time over the years of just being in the business and work and when you work with different companies, your goal in any business that you’re going to [unclear] tame the business relationships [unclear] anything. You know… you could have a lot of talent but if you don’t build great relationships with people trust your word and your work ethic and that you’re going to deliver, then it doesn’t mean anything. So you have to deliver whenever you’re called on. You have to be—atleast most of the time—you have to be able to deliver. You have to build that relationship, you have to build the relationship that you’re going to be professional in a relationship that they can deal with you business-wise also. All that matters so years of that is what I mean when I say great realtionship.

Frank: Okay.

Tricky: I mean, I’ve been in the business for a long time so I just know how to deal with people and keep the relationships—

Frank: How’d you—

Tricky: —and then my talents, I teach them how to deal with the talent and how to deal with the business side of people when they come in contact with them. [unclear] they just be kind of established that with my company.

Frank: So you teach your talent how to deal with other talent because—is there a lot of different artists involved?

Tricky: Yeah, every artist has different personalities. I try to give—now I’m not saying everybody does this—but I try to give my people background on who they’re going to deal with if they don’t already know and if they do know, they just remember this, remember that and you know… because a lot of talent… a lot of talent like song writers and producers, as you see nowadays, they all want to be artists themselves. But you can’t go on to every session with an artist that you’re creating for with an artist’s mentality because it could rub the artist the wrong way. That person that you’re working for, it’s about them. If you’re writing a song for a superstar, it should be about them, it should be about you becoming who they are in order to create the best piece of work for them. It can’t be about you when you’re in that room. I mean, it’s not fair to your craft or to the artist that is looking for that big hit or is already an established superstar. I mean, I think there’s a way that everybody should be treated and I think if someone’s earned the fact that they are a superstar, you treat them that way. And you create for them with the attitude that this is something—I’m becoming you in order to get out what you might want to say to your fans and… I just think the support. So…

Frank: That’s powerful.

Welcome to Frank Relationships, a show for you my brethren who like me, are too young to be considered old and too old to be considered young. It’s also for those of us who love and support us. We’re here to provide weekly wisdom, conversation and the information that’ll help create loving and flexible parents and partners.

I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at If you’re listening to the show on Blog Talk Radio, please follow us and if via iTunes, please subscribe so that you can effortlessly get each week’s show.

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Greetings to my super duper co-host, Nancy Goldring.

Nancy: Good morning, Frank.

Frank: This consummate generalist.

Nancy: Indeed.

Frank: We’ve got a special guest today that’ll help us develop an understanding of the music industry.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: Today’s guest loves to make the deal. His company’s services include publishing, production, and artist management and development. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia on any day of the week, he can be found negotiating deals for his artists which in part have been rewarded with Grammy nominations, billboard standings and substantial publishing deals. He also has negotiated with music’s most notorious moguls and successfully created opportunities to segway his songwriters into substantial artists, which is no easy feat in today’s business where new artists aren’t readily accepted.

So, if you like me, want to know how to break into the music business, how to build and maintain relationships I the industry and how the music industry can strengthen or strain a romance, then stay tuned as your Frank Relationships Team talk about the many aspects of the music industry with the CEO of Tricky Business Entertainment and Management, Ronald Montgomery—affectionately known as Tricky.

Welcome to the show.

Tricky: Oh thanks, man. That was a great introduction right there man. You got a future ahead of you. [unclear].

Frank: Well, we’re going to get started with today.

Nancy: Good morning, Tricky.

Tricky: Good morning.

Nancy: How are you?

Tricky: I am great! I’m up and I’m going. This is early in the morning and ya’ll got me pumped. It’s like, what a great way to start the day. The early bird gets the worm and I’m hungry.

Nancy: And I’m feeling like a new artist. What a great situation this is.

Frank: Nancy just kicked me off the mic as I was trying to say a word or two and she just had to get in…

Nancy: You already said a word or two…

Frank: Okay. So…

Nancy: Come back on to the mic, Frank.

Frank: Okay, thank you.

Tricky: Ya’ll be easy over there, okay?

Nancy: No feisty coughing…

Frank: Before we get too deep in today’s subject matter, I want to check in to see what’s going on in the news. Trick, please don’t be bashful. We want your thoughts too. Okay, this is something you might know about… both of you guys might know about it and I’ve heard about it and it’s a little interesting. There’s an app called “Tinder”. It’s a dating app—

Nancy: Right.

Frank: —where… I hear you see pictures on your phone and you swipe something… you kind of swipe something to say “accepted” or something of that nature…

Nancy: You like the person.

Frank: You like the person.

Nancy: Okay.

Frank: And the person will—if the person swipes you because of think you’re all on the same area—I don’t know if it’s GPS directed or just… I don’t know.

Nancy: Okay, okay.

Frank: If the person swipes you, then you can communicate. It’s new in terms of dating. Anybody know… Well—

Nancy: Well I don’t—I’ve never used Tinder. It seems like it’s been around a little while.

Frank: I was looking it up, I think it’s been around since ’12?

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: You know, it’s popular as heck today.

Nancy: Right. It’s huge.

Frank: Yeah, me and Jeff are looking at each other… I don’t know…

Jeff: The only swiping I do is on the dance floor.

Nancy: Tricky, do you know about Tinder?

Tricky: [unclear] when something’s 4 years old these days, it’s not new anymore.

Nancy: That’s right. That’s right. So do you use it, Tricky?

Tricky: Do I use what?

Nancy: Tinder?

Tricky: No. I would say that… I’m kind of old fashioned but I’m not adverse to new technology.

Nancy: Okay.

Tricky: But I wouldn’t mind trying if it’s something that works.

Frank: Have you heard of people talking about it?

Tricky: Oh yeah. I got plenty of friends that use it.

Frank: Okay. Alright.

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: I got a buddy that uses it and he meets people… it’s interesting.

Nancy: Oh you definitely meet people. I have a friend that uses it also.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: And he seems to enjoy it—let me put it that way. It doesn’t sound as complicated as some of the other sites. There’s not all these psychological profile, you know… is this going to be a life partner?

Frank: Right, right.

Nancy: None of that boring business. It’s just like (making sounds), she’s cute, he’s cute… Let’s see what this is. Like that.

Frank: Alright. Now, given that we’ve had this conversation, will you try it?

Nancy: Actually, I’m thinking of one… the name of it escapes me right now where the guy… somehow the [unclear] is on the woman to make the move. So if a guy shows any interest, the woman only has a very tight window of opportunity to get back in touch with this guy and acknowledge her interest to the lack thereof…

Frank: That means, that’s the one you’re going to use…

Nancy: Well, that’s the one I’m curious about and I’ll check Tinder out, you know like homework because this is always homework. Tricky, this guy I tell you. So I’ll check it out, Frank.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: And I’ll also get some clarity on the site that the name of which escapes me because I really think it’s sort of fascinating.

Frank: So you’re going to report back to the show?

Nancy: I shall report back, yes sir.

Frank: Got it, got it. I was looking at a website and there was a relationships columnist giving some advice when this woman said her dad won’t talk to her because of the man that she married. And I didn’t read any further. It was one of those things where I’m like well it will be me, it will be Tricky and it will be Jeff in the studio… and that’s—we all have daughters so that’s the start of the conversation right there. Can you ever see being so mad at your daughter that you don’t speak to her anymore?

Jeff: Never. Never.

Frank: I can’t imagine—

Jeff: No, that’s what unconditional love is about.

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: I mean, she can make mistakes… let’s say it’s catastrophic. She commits murder. Talk to her?

Frank: Yeah, yeah.

Jeff: From jail?

Nancy: Take sandwiches…

Frank: Trick, how about you?

Tricky: Oh never man. I mean, my daughter is… that’s my ace.

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: We got great communication and if there’s always any issue, we can discuss it and someone—I expect her to make decisions that she’s comfortable. That’s the way I raised her, to make her own decisions and be comfortable with those decisions that she makes. So that’s never and like you said, she commit murder and I’d be freaking out trying to figure out how I can take the charge. So nah.

Frank: So I third that. but you know, one of the things that we all have to deal with is there’s circumstances that arise that we don’t foresee. I’m sure this guy didn’t think that… and I, not even going into the story other than her daughter married someone he didn’t approve of. There are circumstances that arise that we don’t foresee and we could find ourselves on our heels with the situation that we didn’t quite expect and so it’s…

Jeff: Hey man. That’s called life. You raise your kids to make good decisions. But they’re their decisions.

Nancy: Right.

Frank: They’re their decisions, absolutely.

Jeff: You can discuss it with them, “Hey, I wish you would’ve done this.” Or before they make the decision, “Here’s some advice on how to make a good…” Hey, it’s their life. And I have kids in their mid-20s now and they’re making those decisions. I don’t agree with all of them. You know, like if my daughter played—

Tricky: Let’s be clear. I don’t [unclear] I’m not judging the father in that circumstance…

Frank: Right.

Tricky: I just spoke on my circumstance.

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: But I’m saying every circumstance is not the same. He may not have the same relationship with this child that I have with mine. You know what I mean? And we don’t know why he stopped talking to her. I’m saying maybe he’s talked and talked and talked… Is the guy hurt on drugs and he can’t get her help and he’s lost all hope. I don’t know. I’m not saying that a reason for the stop—or that I would stop in that case but some parents ad fathers have been backed up against the wall that is the man committing crimes on a regular basis? Is he committing murder and he’s trying to get the daughter away from her and now he can’t. I don’t know.

You know what I’m saying? So I’m not going to judge that circumstance and I’ve just learned not to be judgmental. I’ll just say that in my circumstance, that wouldn’t happen because I’ve built the relationship over years and years and not… and unconditional love all day everyday but even unconditional love is challenged at most at any given time. So you have to—what I said earlier to start out the show relationships. Even your relationships with children become very important in life and anything that you do or that they do.

Frank: Nancy, you got anything on this? Well you’re a daughter.

Nancy: I am. And… I married—

Frank: Oh no, you’re not going to—Oh man, you’re going to tell us your dad stopped talking to you?

Nancy: No, my dad definitely did not stop talking to me.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Oh but I’m thinking I married a guy my family loved.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: The big deal was getting away from him. So it’s just like…

Frank: The other side of the deal…

Nancy: And I liked him too… so what comes up for me actually is a term I heard on the way in called “non complimentary behavior” which is when you essentially…

Frank: Where’d you hear this on the way in?

Nancy: On the news, Frank.

Frank: You serious?

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: And it came right into this conversation?

Nancy: Oh I wish I had time to tell you, to give you the context within which I heard the term it was off the chain but…

Frank: And you didn’t bring it up in our segment?

Nancy: Well because it has nothing to do with the situation…

Frank: Yeah, uhuh…

Nancy: The situation that [unclear]… So okay, two seconds. Here’s the deal. Non complimentary behavior… there’s a group of people. They’re at a friend’s house having a dinner party, magical night. Everything’s going the way it should go. Man standing next to his wife and an arm where the gun barrel becomes between them. An armed gunman comes into the yard to rob them.

Well, they—he says “Give me your effing money or I’m going to start shooting,” okay? And the problem is, in this day and age, no one has any money. No one has any cash. So they try to figure out what to do. So they start talking to them and they say, “Well, what would your mother think of this?” and he’s like, “I don’t have an effing mother.” And you know, they try to guilt him, and guilting him doesn’t work. And so finally, someone at the table says, “Why don’t you have a glass of wine?” and the guy sits down and has a glass of wine with them. And then he has some of the cheese and finally out of nowhere, he says to them, “I believe I’ve come to the wrong place. I apologize.”

Frank: Wow.

Nancy: Then he says something even more bizarre, he says, “Can I have a hug?”

Frank: This is a real story?

Nancy: This is a real story happening right here at Washington D.C. “Can I have a hug?” The two women give him a hug. Then he says, “Can we do a group hug?” They do a group hug. He then takes the glass of wine…

Frank: Didn’t anybody say, “Can you put the gun down?”

Nancy: He probably had. He was drinking his wife and eating his cheese… So he then takes the glass of wine and he leaves. And he goes on his way, the party runs into the house and they’re just crying in gratitude that nothing horrible happened. A few minutes later, they go outside, they walk and they noticed the wine glass sitting placed down on the curb, not thrown down, not broken; placed down on the side walk and they recovered the glass. So he was not angry or frustrated or anything.

So the whole name of the game is you know, the person telling the story said, “You know, in many cases, we would’ve called that a miracle.” And she says, “But it turns out there’s a term for it and it’s called “non complimentary behavior”. It is when—and let me just say, ladies and gentlemen, I have to use this technique every week—it’s when you deliberately—

Frank: Cut the mic.

Nancy: It’s when you deliberately offer a style of behaviour that is completely counter what you’re getting. So it’s like, you know, Gandhi, Martin Luther King… you know, you’re non violent when violence is coming your way. You’re nice when a person is curt or insensitive or rude to you but the key is to persist with that.

Frank: To really mean it.

Nancy: To really mean it. And so, in the situation with the dad who’s not talking to his daughter because—

Frank: Oh we’re back to that.

Nancy: Well I’m saying in the context that you asked me if I had anything on this, I’m bringing the conversation back on…

Frank: Wow…. nice.

Nancy: So, in this particular situation, the opportunity is for the daughter to continue to be her—

Frank: Dad’s daughter.

Nancy: —be her father’s daughter, yes. And to let him be where he is while he’s there and at some point, if she persists, he will turn around. That’s atleast the theory of non complimentary behavior.

Frank: That’s a story.

Jeff: Well, Tricky’s been taking notes. I’m sure that’ll be a song in about 18 months.

Nancy: 9, Trick, 9. 9 months, you can do it.

Tricky: That’s crazy. That’s a crazy story right there.

Nancy: Yeah. Is that profound?

Tricky: I agree with the non complimentary behavior. In that circumstance, that’s kind of crazy. Don’t try that at home.

Nancy: He’s getting it all doe in the studio.

Tricky: [unclear] tv show right there.

Nancy: And as a matter of fact, let me show you some non complimentary behavior… Now we‘ve done this before. I want to do this again this week. You ready?

Frank: I’m listening.

Nancy: Where’ve you been? And where’re you going?

Frank: I don’t know if that fits the non comp—

Nancy: It fits! Yes.

Frank: Okay, alright.

Nancy: I’m sitting here every week, slaving away and you’re travelling. That’s not complimentary and I’m being nice about it.

Frank: Alright, I got it, I got it. So last week, Chicago and then I doing 2 spots in Illinois. I got Peoria coming up and Arlington Heights.

Nancy: Wow.

Frank: Now I said I was going to Harvey, Illinois last week—

Nancy: Okay…

Frank: —but Harvey is just a suburb of Chicago. I didn’t know that. So I don’t know, Peoria might be a suburb of Chicago, Arlington Heights might be a suburb of Chicago, I could just be going to Chicago.

Nancy: To Chicago, exactly.

Frank: So I don’t know. But that’s what’s coming up.

Nancy: Okay. Very nice.

Frank: Okay.

Nancy: Yes.

Frank: Trick, let’s get to the good stuff.

Tricky: Okay, sir.

Frank: How’d you get started in the industry? What were some of your influences?

Tricky: Well, I would say my mother was my biggest influence. I grew up with [unclear] the music probably like all of us did. You know, when clearing the house in the morning and just listening to the oldies but goodies. So that was a big influence over my life. I’m from Boston originally so I grew up with new edition being the biggest thing going when I was a kid. One of my best friends was [unclear] uncle so I got the opportunity to go, get on the road and go to shows in different markets and that was a lot of fun. So that peaked my interest and then when I went to college at Morgan State, I became part of an organization that and we do parties and [unclear] and stuff of that nature. So I was promoting my first concert as a freshman in college. I never forget it was [unclear].

Frank: Wow.

Tricky: And then doing parties and starting my own company with a few of my brothers and we went on to just like make a lot of money, pay our way to college with that type of stuff. So that’s how I got started. I started independent label in Baltimore way back in the day.

Nancy: Wow.

Tricky: So…

Frank: Let me say this..

Tricky: That answers the question.

Frank: Trick, I’ve know Tricky for since ’89.

Nancy: Okay.

Frank: So that’s—what’s that? How many years? 27 years?

Tricky: [unclear].

Frank: I’ve known him quite a while.

Nancy: Okay.

Frank: And Trick is… He’s always been—when I’m around him, I tease him often because he’s intense. I’m like, “Trick, come on. Take it down.” But he’s intense but in many ways, beautifully intense. Like jus—he’s just who he is and he gets the job done. He’s serious about whatever the project is he’s working on. He’s going to irritate you, atleast me. He’s going to irritate me. I mean, I’m not saying that for everybody but you know…

Nancy: Going to push the buttons… Okay…

Frank: And… But on another note, he is serious about his friendships. So the friendships on my side are not just happy go lucky. You know, we have fun and we got memories and history and all of that but it’s also serious. You know, he’s going to check you on this. You’re going to check him on this and it’s just—it’s a beautiful do, really, just that’s what I’m saying.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: But there’s anything I’m saying is that…

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: 27 years known him, think a lot of him, love him and he’s a hell of a brother.

Nancy: He’s a Morgan grad. He spent time in Baltimore.

Frank He is a Morgan grad.

Nancy: See?

Tricky: Yes.

Frank: He spent a lot of time.

Nancy: Me do, Tricky. And I spent a lot of tie in Baltimore and I’m beginning to think that Frank has good luck with Baltimore.

Frank: Perhaps I do.

Jeff: But Tricky left Baltimore. So that has a sense of sanity involved…

Nancy: I am so going to let that go…

Jeff: You know Frank, if I may, I don’t know Tricky. And I probably do know his work but when you get to a certain level, in 2 specific—well, I 3 specific genres: music, sports and I’ll include movies and film production in this. Those relationships/friendships, they may be for 2 or 3 months in a time but they have to be intense. They have to be serious. They have to be based on trust. Think about sports. You need your teammates. Music is the same thing. Tricky may work with an artist on a song for 3 days. There’s got to be that implicit trust in it then they’re friends for life but your show’s about relationships and you don’t learn that. It’s one of those—you’re in—your training is by doing.

Frank: Yeah.

Jeff: And Tricky, you mentioned Boston. Were there people in your early days when you were running through the maze of how to make it that you’re still in touch with, that you still trust, that you still have that type of relationship because I seem to think most of those successful executives/producers/performers who last more than 3 years rely on those relationships.

Nancy: Sure.

Tricky: Oh yeah. I’m a relationship guy as far as you know, kids that I grew up with, I still communicate with and have a relationship with, and when I’m home, we hang out. When I’m not home, they checking on me or they come visit me and that type of thing. Same thing with that’s all the way through high school and I [unclear] through college. Me and Yao went to college together and he knows I have long term great relationships from that period of time and talk about how I am and how he used the word “irritant”. Some people use the word, sometimes you know, I can be an asshole—for lack of better words…

Frank: You know I’ve never thought about that, Trick.

Nancy: Don’t think about it now…

Tricky: [unclear] and I’m really about if you say you’re going to do something and then you do it… If I expect something of you, then I expect that of you. And I’m saying—and I want you to put that same weight on me. I think what happens in my experience, being a manager, people trust you when you do what you say you’re going to do and when you demand of them. I work in a business where you can easily surround yourself with a lot of yes-people and I’ve never been that. So what happens like with people that I’ve managed in the past, they trust me to tell them like it is or people that I work with. They just trust me to say like the same thing in people [unclear] like, “God damn it, Tricky.” It’s the same thing that’s helped me be successful because when people know that hey, I’m going to get the real from him, hey you know what? If that record’s not good enough or if I’m not putting into work that I should be putting in, he’s going to tell me. I don’t have to worry about it. He’s going to tell me and I don’t have to worry about that there’s a [unclear] behind it. There’s no [unclear] behind it [unclear] hey [unclear] be great. You know what I mean?

Frank: Right.

Tricky: I’m up at 7 this morning on the forum with Yao because I have to deliver when I’m speaking him on this because he reached out to me and I can’t come in bullshit so that’s what that’s about. With that, it makes time that he—things that oh I need someone for this. Oh you know what? When I hit Trick, he’s going to be up. He’s going to deliver. I’m not going to be calling his phone at 7:30 and I wonder where the hell he is because he’ got a reputation of being there and deliver it. I instill that in my daughter and my child. I think that’s our responsibility.

Frank: Absolutely.

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: As men, as men in business, all that good stuff. Speaking of, your songwriters—how’d you become a songwriter? I mean, are they a former poet…? I mean, how do you even find out you can write a song?

Tricky: The crazy thing of it is man such a phenomenal child, Yao like some of them are poem writers, some of them actually just go on a songwriters, some of them—believe it or not—some rappers become good RNB writers because they understand tempo and melody and things of that nature. So it comes from all different areas. Not everybody has it. Some people are just average but the great ones, you just got to get spotted. I’ve been lucky enough to spot a few of them and that’s worked out for me but song writing is such a key to all of it—

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: —because we could all, you know… we remember the artist based off of—[unclear] the artist based off of the song that they did that made us feel a certain way. You know what I mean? And we remember the artist but a lot of times the artist had nothing to do with writing the song.

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: If there’s somebody you’ve never heard of, unless they become big like we know Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie and the [unclear]—

Frank: Smokey [unclear]…

Tricky: —because they’ve written so many and they’ve gotten so big but a lot of songwriters you never hear of and you’re singing a song and you’re humming it and you’re riding in your car to it or you’re singing it in the shower and somebody that’s behind the scenes put that work in. So a lot of times there’s a thankless job except for the financial part of it—

Nancy: Part of it, yeah…

Tricky: —you don’t put the same glory as…

Nancy: The artist. Yeah.

Tricky: …the artists unless you’re a [unclear] who does both and it’s like okay, he writes great songs and he’s a great artist. You know what I’m saying? So it’s a gift. I believe that all you can do is hone that gift and turn it into something that as craft and a career.

Frank: If you’re a songwriter, how does the royalty game work?

Tricky: I mean, at the end of the day, the money’s in publishing and the music business… You know what I mean… For the songwriters, the money’s in publishing. Like you write a hit record, you make money on that hit record based on how many times it plays on the radio, how many times you guys go on to the karaoke and sing the record and how many times it’s performed all over the world by either the artist or other people, how many times it hits the tv shows. Those are pennies and pennies and pennies adding up. You know what I mean? A number one record on the pop charts can make a person millions of dollars over a period of time. The one number 1.

So imagine a person that wrote five number 1’s or six number 1’s… You know what I’m saying? And somebody that writes a record that maybe it’s just a record that hits the radio or [unclear] period of time, they might not see as much money but at the end of the day, your [unclear] is mostly songwriters. They’re not writing these records because of the money—trust me. They’re writing these records because it’s something they love to do. It’s a passion of theirs and it has to be in order for you to really stay at it.

Frank: What is it that you appreciate most about the industry?

Tricky: I appreciate the art of the deal, man. You know me. That’s the type of person I am. I appreciate the negotiation parts and plotting out someone’s career. I don’t have—I can’t sing rap or dance and all of that type of stuff, never happened to me. I’ve always been behind-the-scenes mind person. So I appreciate the art of the deal. I appreciate craft in someone’s career from A to B. Take it somebody out like from the hood or neighborhood that was a struggling and then seeing them go on to succeed and go to award shows and be successful and see the looks from their family’s face when they get to that level. I really like that art, you know. I’ve always been a mentoring type of person, my whole life so I’ve always looked at people giving knowledge and the opportunities to get to the next level.

Nancy: Tricky, what’s a—

Tricky: That’s why I appreciate it.

Nancy: What’s a writing camp? What does that mean when you put that together? What’s involved in that?

Tricky: What happens is is that, you know… it’s one group of writers and producers get together and they go in a studio and they start creating records together. It’s [unclear] people that wouldn’t have worked together or don’t work together, sometimes they do work together but they all meet up in one place and it may be 10, 20 people from all over the country and it might be—the records company or the production company or someone like myself may set it up. I’ve done several in Atlanta and what happened was, I reached out to different… you know, all the record companies that [unclear] and all the publishers in the business and they sent their top writers and producers to my studio in Atlanta. I had 3 rooms there. I set them all up in different rooms. I mismatched them. This person who might have wrote the big record for that person, this person might [unclear] record for that person but they’ve never worked together.

So we put them in a room and then they just create. You’re in this for 8 hours and you create whatever you could create and at the end of the day, you might have 30 or 40 records that you go through even more but just say 30 or 40 records you go through and you say this record fits this person or this record, this would be a great record for Mary or this would be a great record for Beyonce, or this record would be a great record for [unclear] or this might fit Jenny Fox or whoever… You know what I’m saying? And that [unclear] a lot of hits come out.

Every record company does writing camps now. you know what I’m saying…

Nancy: Nice.

Frank: Are you broached the issue, you’ve thrown some names out there… Mary J Blige. You got a story? Or what comes to mind when you speak of her or think of her?

Tricky: No story but she’s a hardworking talent and she’s not about no BS. She’s passionate in her music that’s why so many people are fans of hers and women can feel her because she’s authentic, a [unclear] authentic. You know what I mean?

I had a songwriter that has done 4, 5 records on her and worked with her and she’s just authentic. She has a work ethic and she’s authentic. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of her. It’s just real and authentic. I can say real but you know, that makes it sound more cliché. I think [unclear] authentic, you get the fact that it’s real but it’s also—it comes with the work ethic along with it. so a lot people can be real but they don’t put that same work ethic on giving that to the fans through that realness.

Frank: Beyonce.

Tricky: Say who you say?

Frank: What comes into mind when you think of Beyonce?

Tricky: Oh. Phenomenal talent and business woman. Yeah, I had record on her. One of my writers and she’s just a phenomenal talent and she’s royalty. She’s [unclear] like I got an old, a friend of mine that said years ago… He was like, “Those are the [unclear], man. There are [unclear],” and I just laughed. I was like, “Yo, that’s real. And it’s coming to [unclear]…”

Frank: She’s literally a carter.

Tricky: She’s royalty… as far as we’re concerned. You know what I’m saying?

Frank: Puff?

Tricky: You laugh now because you’re thinking about it but it’s real, right?

Frank: Yeah well I was just saying she’s literally a carter also.

Tricky: That’s my point.

Frank: Yeah.

Nancy: Yeah.

Tricky: The artist are—[unclear] they’re like royalty, man.

Frank: Indeed.

Tricky: They’re the real deal. They’re—for lack of better words—for people that came up like us, they’re [unclear, man…

Nancy: Wow…

Frank: Puff. What you got on Puff?

Tricky: Had the luxury of working with him and I’ve managed Kalenna with you know… [unclear] with Puff on Dirty Money. We put Dirty Money together and put that album together. He’s a beast. You know what I’m saying? Like no one outworks him.

Frank: Really?

Tricky: He demands everybody around him to work. He does those writing camps, nobody—for his [unclear]—nobody sleeps, nobody stops, nobody can’t half-ass him. He’s seen it all, done it all, done it all and he’s not lead to be less. One of my rap producers just had two records on the last project he put out in December.

So I had several occasions of being able to being [unclear] to different projects with him but he… when he gets you on the phone or he talks to you, it’s like… it’s pressure. He’s putting pressure on you in the nicest way though. [unclear] because he’s not [unclear] up. He’s taking no for an answer on anything. So yeah, he’s the beast, man. I use that word.

Frank: Taraji.

Tricky: Oh she’s a jewel. You know what I mean? You got my [unclear] and he’s based in D.C. That’s my business partner, one of my closest friends and we do a lot of booking of black Hollywood talent for different things and things of that nature. He’s always had a close relationship with her back to the [unclear] days. So she’s a jewel, man. Like she’s—we got to appreciate her for what she brings as a black actress and what she does [unclear]. I think we do to a certain degree because of her fan base but I just want to make sure that that’s clear like we’ll see years down the road like she’s just generations… In my opinion, she’s like this generations Angela [unclear]. She’s a jewel.

Frank: Interesting.

Tricky: Someone that we all appreciate and black women can relate to in most of the characters that she takes on.

Frank: Rihanna.

Tricky: Phenomenal star at a young age. I think people forget how young she is because she’s been doing it for so long but she got started at 15. She’s been like 10 year [unclear] and she’s a rebel. Ou have to appreciate the fact that she’s who she is. You know what I’m saying?

Frank: How do you…

Tricky: And I appreciate that one of my writers had the #1 record with her. So big, big record Grammy winner [unclear]. You know what I mean? So…

Frank: What do you think of the relationship… I mean, my understanding is JayZ put her on, is that correct?

Tricky: Yeah, without a doubt.

Frank: Okay and so—

Tricky: [unclear] and they managed her to this day. That’s her family. So yeah. It’s a beautiful situation where you kind of—you can start someone out and be with them 10 years down the road, still working with them. Once again, back to relationships.

Frank: Mariah Carey.

Tricky: Phenomenal, phenomenal star. You know, my writer, co-wrote “Touch My Body” with her and on that album, we ended up with 5 records from that particular album.

Frank: Wow.

Tricky: A few other albums. She’s true to her craft. She’s a great songwriter. A lot of people don’t know that—

Frank: Yeah, I didn’t know that.

Tricky: —but she doesn’t do a record that she doesn’t write or co-write like she’s really into—we were talking about songwriters earlier. If you listen to one of her records, it’s a 99.9% chance that she wrote that record. Now maybe with co-writers or whatever or made by herself but she takes her fans evry serious about what she delivers to them.

Frank: And then L.A. Reid. I recently—and I say and then like that’s the one I’m most familiar with through you because I was at the BET Honors Awards that you did here in D.C. a few months ago. So please…

Tricky: Let me correct that. We didn’t do BET Honors Awards. What we did was—

Frank: Influences.

Tricky: —Influences [unclear].

Frank: Yes.

Tricky: And then this was our third annual one and it takes place during the same week of the BET Honors but it’s the Influences [unclear] myself and my buddy—actually both of [unclear] from D.C. [unclear] still my partner and my other friend, Donald Wood. Three of us together do what’s called the Influences [unclear] and this year yet, L.A. Reid was our guest person where we had Chris Spencer do a conversation with L.A. Reid. He has a new book out and I think you got a copy and hopefully you’ve read it.

Frank: Yeah, I did.

Tricky: It’s a great read. He’s phenomenal, man… like he’s a legend. I mean, I think he’s an icon, he’s definitely an influence so he’s opened up so many doors for black executives and black talent over the years starting way back with [unclear] with all the superstars that he created. But he also created executives and opened up the doors for producers and songwriters to become successful and become [unclear] rich and that’s huge to have somebody… And he’s still doing the same thing like, RNB music and black music is still in good hands with him to this day when the doors have closed a little bit more for that genre, he still keeps them wide, wide open. You know what I mean? No matter what building he’s in where he’s a CEO at, he keeps those doors wide open.

Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’re talking with the CEO of Tricky Business Entertainment and Management, Ronald “Tricky” Montgomery. Tricky’s sharing music industry expertise and stories. Trick, how can an aspiring artist or songwriter connect with you?

Tricky: I can be reached… I got an Instagram, @trickybiznessworldwide and that’s on Instagram where I can be reached. You have [unclear] a story and I got a good one and you know…

Frank: Hit it.

Tricky: It’s kind of funny but it’s a good one if you want to hear it.

Frank: I want to hear it.

Tricky: [unclear]. She is back. I told you about my partner [unclear]. So he’s in the story like… you met him. He’s in D.C. right now somewhere probably listening to this podcast. Anyway, went to the Grammy’s. My songwriter Krista won a Grammy for “Only Girl in the World” for Rihanna. We go to the after-party. Me and my publishing, we’re having a great time, you know… as they say nowadays, I’m lit like we’re enjoying ourselves. So we’re leaving the party. Another partner of mine had been moving me around [unclear] LA’s like hey, whispers in my ear, blah, blah, blah… I’m like “Oh word, okay.” So I tell her buddy “Let’s go. We’re going to another after-party.” And they’re like, “Where’re we going?” I see a couple of kids, these white guys out of [unclear] I was like, “Hey, come on. You want to come with me?” and they’re like, I don’t really know them well but I know them… You know what I’m saying… They worked with some of my people before but they don’t know me and they just—but they know who I am. So I’m like, “Come on, man. Ya’ll seem like [unclear].” They’re like, “where are we going?” I said, “You guys have nothing else to do?” They’re like, “No,” “Well come on.”

So we all get in the cars and they’re following me and we get there. I got like 10 people with me, right? Some of them [unclear] maybe 5 of them are in my crew and then there’s like 5 of them that were just [unclear] happen to ride with is. So we end up going up into the hills and we end up at Prince’s house.

Nancy: Wow…

Frank: Another Prince house story… Jeff had one too.

Tricky: Oh then good. So you know these stories be crazy, right? This story might be part of the same story—I don’t know. But we ended up in Prince’s house in the hills in L.A. so… It’s not Beverly Hills, I don’t think… But anyway, we get there. We go into the house and people are starting to realize “Oh this is something different here.” And we go downstairs into the basement and there’s only maybe like 15 to 20 people there. So we make it like 30, tops, you know what I’m saying? And there’s like celebrities [unclear] oh wow, look at that person. Oh wow look at that person…” like Cindy Lauper and people like that and then [unclear] was her band.

Frank: He loved her, didn’t he?

Tricky: Prince is on stage jamming out. [unclear]’s band is jamming out and I remember Steven Hill from BET was there. He got up on stage and was dancing the stuff like that, right? So everybody’s jamming out. The part of the floor is like a fish tank [unclear] and we’re just jamming. My partner is a huge Prince fan. So he’s excited as hell, You know what I’m saying? I’m a Prince fan but I was Michael guy more than anything. You know what I’m saying? So I was MJ but my guy, [unclear]—

Frank: You can’t be both? Is that what you’re saying, you can’t be both?

Tricky: No, no. You can be both but I mean, let’s be clear. There were lines drawn, brother. [unclear]

[Cross talking]

Nancy: You cannot serve two gods, right?

Tricky: You bet, there could be both. I was both. I’m just telling you I was more of a Michael fan.

Nancy: There it is.

Tricky: Some people have Princess than [unclear]… [unclear] Michaels than [unclear] but you can still be a fan of both.

Frank: Okay, aright.

Tricky: Alright. So we’re jamming out and my guy’s trying to call his mom, he’s trying to call everybody late [unclear]. So I go into the bathroom and he used the bathroom because we could get no phones [unclear]. I don’t know if he was jamming them signals or something what Prince was doing but he was jamming out. He was playing the guitar behind other people that was performing… and I’m saying just playing along with [unclear]’s band, different people. You know what I’m saying? He was pulling up there.

I go into the bathroom and this has stuck with me forever. There’s a note in the bathroom—and I’m not going to say… I’m going to paraphrase what it actually said but it basically said, “Hey. No cellphones please. Keep this memory in your mind where it belongs.” Signed, Prince. And it just stuck with me because in the cellphone era, we’re ready to do everything like that and here he was saying like, “nah, don’t put out your phone. This is special. Respect the fact that this is special. you’re here in my home and I’m jamming out. Keep this in your memory where it belongs,” like we’ve done forever. You know what I’m saying? The memories that we keep with us and cherish and all [unclear].

So the experience was a great experience and the people that were leaving and the cat from overseas like [unclear] “I can’t fucking believe it. [unclear] Prince’s house.” It just stuck with me and that was some years ago, maybe 4, 5 years ago. No, about 5. Maybe 5 or 6 years ago. But anyway, that’s the story right there. it was a great experience and it was a memorable note on that bathroom mirror and I came out the bathroom and told my partner what it said. He was like, he got it but still was trying to call everybody [unclear]… So that’s my Prince story.

Frank: Got you. And it’s [unclear] given the circumstances that [unclear], that he’s the one that you throw out there. You ever find yourself star struck? You kind of just said you would be. You do, basically because if you were to see Mike, Michael Jackson that is. If you were to see Mike—

Nancy: MJ.

Frank: —you would have been like, “Wow.” So do I assume—you find yourself star struck?

Tricky: Let me be clear on this… [unclear] half seen him but I have seen many stars and I’m never really star struck. I’m more of—I’d probably be getting up about being around athletes than I do about like… when I say athletes like you know…

Nancy: Lebron…

Tricky: [unclear] in the game and… Because I’m a Boston fan, people like that…

Frank: [unclear] Really a Boston fan…

Tricky: [unclear] at all. I just appreciate and respect somebody that’s worked at their craft like you can’t be an overnight star and get my attention but if you’re somebody I work with your craft and you’ve gotten to a certain level, hell yeah. I get respect-struck.

Nancy: You mean, to legends…

Tricky: Because I’m around how many of these people all the time so it’s never star struck thing.

Nancy: Right.

Tricky: It’s really more of a respect with that work put in. I’m friends with a lot of people so nah, I don’t get… Like I wasn’t star struck about Prince and the circumstance when I was was “Yo, isn’t it crazy how we ended up here?” and I was more intent about the fact that the people that were with me that was star struck, like their appreciation for this is where they want to be, this is what they’re working on their craft to get to and now here you are around it, like any given day it can happen for you so be ready at all times.

Nancy: Yeah, nice. Nice, nice, nice… Black Hollywood.

Tricky: Yes.

Nancy: What does that bring up for you?

Tricky: Black Hollywood… A lot of talented people that really put their grind in and I’m saying we’ve been lucky in some regards that the talent has grown and getting more exposure. We’re still fighting to get the respect that we deserve. You know what I mean… when it comes to place, things like the Oscars and things of that nature but overall, they come together in a different way than what they might have years ago. Me and my team have a lot of interaction with it, like I said we do a lot of booking for different events for that talent and some really good people.

Nancy: Okay… and you have…

Tricky: I don’t have no crazy stories, nothing like that about them because a lot of them are just… some really good personal relationships so I won’t put that out there like [unclear]…

Nancy: Okay.

Tricky: But lot of fun, a lot of good experiences…

Nancy: Excellent, excellent. Okay, so do you feel… how do I want to ask you this… You mentioned you have artists, you have songwriters that want to become artists. You have artists that want to become film stars?

Tricky: I think that as far as with talent, I think that the thing about is they all want to cross genres. You know what happens… I was explaining this to someone last week because they were complaining about… people think that they want you to stay in a box, right? The thing with music right now is all these songwriters and producers want to be artists. So it’s kind of messed up in music right now a little bit on the urban side of things because what happens is the music gets watered down because these songwriters and producers nowadays, they keep the records for themselves where it used to be, you gave the superstar the record, someone that’s already considered a star. Now, it’s not about we consider a star anymore because of the internet, anybody can push that [unclear] and get it to the world just like that. So everybody has access now. So no one’s filtering who that real stars anymore like as much as they used to. You still have labels doing it but they don’t have the power over getting watered down because everybody put the music out. So some of us complain about it. I said to them, “Well, when I came up and maybe not as much kids now but when we come up in high school, typically the person that could sing was taking drama classes. I’m seeing two, I mean you have people that could sing that took drama classes, they were involved or they played instruments. They didn’t just do one thing. They did multiple things.

Nancy: Right.

Tricky: And now what happens is, some of them break in one thing because they put their focus on that one thing so they can give it a 100%. But don’t get it twisted. If you’re a singer that could act, you don’t stop thinking you could act [unclear] start singing or if you’re an actress that can sing, you don’t stop thinking that you can sing just because you got a couple of movie roles. Like in every genres, that’s why you see a lot of these actors start being in these rock bands, [unclear] why is so and so, why is [unclear] has a rock band? Because he jammed out when he was in high school and now he has the freedom to really jam out. The same thing with people in black Hollywood, there’s a lot of them that can sing. [unclear] Roger’s a good singer. You know, there are different people that can sing. And vice versa, there’s singers that can act or rappers that can act like who would have thought that LL Cool J and Ice Cube, so many years ago would now be known more for their acting to whoever’s coming around now than they are for their actual music.

Frank: Yeah, indeed.

Tricky: You know what I mean? So I say that like most times, talent and talent of people that have been given that gift actually have more than one gift.

Nancy: Right.

Frank: And they get the atmosphere to explore it.

Nancy: Absolutely.

Frank: Because if you’re in one industry doing well, people will give you a look in another industry and see how well you do… Speaking of, Trick, I’ma take you back, man. And I say this on Facebook once in a blue moon but people don’t really respect Will Smith. Will Smith was… He started off doing real rap.

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: Like it wasn’t even just popcorn [unclear] don’t understand. He started off as a Philly rapper that got—I mean, he was talented and matched with Jazzy Jeff, they made some good music. People forget that. When you—

Nancy: He’s been acting for so long [unclear]…

Frank: He’s been at it for so long.

Nancy: Yeah.

Frank: What are your thoughts on Will Smith, Trick?

Tricky: I mean, I used this word earlier but I mean, Will’s an icon. For all the reasons you said but not just that. he’s a businessman like he’s a big current businessman. His company produces those films too. So that’s like, he has power. He is Hollywood power. I’m saying which is a big deal. You know what I mean? And I get a talent… I think you underestimate how much he’s respected.

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: I think he is respected. Maybe they don’t respect them like as to rapper—

Frank: Yeah.

Tricky: —and I don’t think that he cares… You know what I’m saying? But he wants to [unclear] start to let you know what he can do. I know recently he—I heard something on maybe it was on Facebook or something that he’s [unclear]… but also, like they’re the Smiths. Like I said about the [unclear]…

Nancy: Right, right.

Tricky: So [unclear] doing their thing and it shows that like growing up, it was always a big deal about being able to past things down. That’s what I respect about—not just Will but Puff too… like to get wealthy, and then to pass it down and make life easier for your kids. You know what I’m saying? For them to have the avenue to do whatever they want to do, pursue whatever they want to pursue. Man, that’s the African-American dream. You know what I’m saying? People say that’s an American dream but that’s the African-American dream. So when I see people like that and families like that, that’s something that I appreciate to the utmost, man. People like to judge these kids now because we live in this blog atmosphere but I look at it like, yo. I grew up in my era with—it didn’t have black families that could have black kids screwing up or doing what they wanted to do and it’d be like just normal. Now we do because of the Will’s and the Puff’s and you know, so many others or… even the masterpiece and stuff like that. We’re seeing it and our kids are seeing it. so what’s happening is our kids in our community are seeing that as a kid, there’s other things you can shoot for or parents can work to set that—not that we [unclear] working to set that up but it’s actually there to be seen. It’s witnessed now and I wasn’t what we were [unclear]…

Frank: Indeed.

Tricky: I hope you understand what I’m saying.

Frank: Absolutely.

Nancy: Right, right.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with Tricky Business Entertainment and Management, Ronald “Tricky” Montgomery. Tricky’s been sharing music industry expertise and stories. One more time Trick, how can an aspiring artist or songwriter connect with you?

Tricky: I’ve never ever heard a Ronald wild as crazy. Tricky Montgomery here and you can reach me at…

Nancy: Instagram…

Tricky: I got a Twitter that’s @trickybizness.

Frank: Got you.

Tricky: Yeah, I think I gave my Instagram out earlier so go back and rewind that part.

Frank: Thank you.

Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed publishing, creating a legacy for your children in the music industry and black Hollywood. Thank you to my co-host, Nancy. Thanks to Jeff Newman, my engineer and thank you to my guest, Tricky Montgomery. You’ve been great.

Tricky: I want to thank you guys for having me. I appreciate it and I hope that everybody has a blessed day. Good luck to ya’ll.

Nancy: Thank you.

I hope you’ve had as much fun as I’ve had hanging out with today’s ensemble.

As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that I hope you create a relation that’s as loving and accepting as possible.

Let us know what you think of today’s show at, on Twitter at @mrfranklove or at If you’re listening via Blog Talk Radio, make sure you like us there and if via iTunes, make sure you subscribe so that you can receive each week’s show.

This is Frank Love.


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