Owner and CEO Ali Awolowo shares his knowledge and time

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.

Ali Awolowo has the skills and experience needed to help artists trying to make it in the music industry while at the same time making a commitment to serve the community with his talents.

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Ali Awolowo, owner and CEO of 3RDLEVELMEDIA, in his studio.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian

Awolowo, owner and CEO of 3RDLEVELMEDIA, an entertainment consulting firm that specializes in artist development, music production and other services, primarily works with rap and R&B artists, although he has experience working with blues, country and gospel artists.

The New York City native moved to the Gainesville area with his family in the late 1980s when he was in his late teens.

He has been in the music industry for more than 10 years and has worked with the late rock ‘n' roll legend Bo Diddley and a host of other performers, including local artists such as rappers Big Bud and The Strugglerz, Condition Red and gospel artist Mob-B. He also has worked with artists on national record labels such as Universal, Def Jam and Corporate Thugs.

Daniel "Skid" Mitchell, creator/founder of Skids Row Inc., an artist development company with headquarters in New York City, also has worked with Awolowo.

"We have done some music together and he is very knowledgeable about what he does," said Mitchell, a 1995 Gainesville High School graduate who worked in several positions from 2003-2011 at Bad Boy Records Inc. owned by Sean "Diddy" Combs before starting Skids Row last year.

"Not only is he good at what he does professionally, I know him to be a good person as well," Mitchell said.

To show his commitment to the community, Awolowo will be donating three hours of studio time to the winner of Talent Search 2012, a gospel talent show taking place Jan. 28 at Showers of Blessings Harvest Center in southeast Gainesville.

He also is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida and S.A.F.E.ID4Families on a project that will allow him to teach the fundamentals of the music industry to children affiliated with those programs. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring program that pairs children in the community with caring adults. S.A.F.E.ID is a nonprofit organization designed to improve the emergency preparedness planning and safety education of children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.

"It is a good feeling giving back to the community, especially when you see how it has an impact on the lives of other people," Awolowo said.

He said the record industry is very competitive, so he has some advice for those interested in the business. "Get your business right and get guidance," Awolowo said. "It is just like going to college. You must treat it like a career and understand you are going to have to be developed. You need to be schooled and educated about the industry."

Awolowo considers himself an expert at music production and artist development. He said music production includes creating the final product after beginning with only a beat, vocals or some other element in the process of making a song. He said artist development deals with a number of things, but one of the most important is making sure the artist understands and knows the market he or she is trying to reach. He said it also is imperative that the artist understand and handle the responsibilities that come with being in the music industry.

"I can get people to the door, but it is up to them to handle it from there," Awolowo said.

To reach Awolowo, call 352-283-5735.

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