JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - He is well known in the entertainment industry for managing artists like Lil Wayne and working with other big names like Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Cortez Bryant is working now to share what he has learned with students at his Alma Mater, Jackson State University, in a course called Careers in Music.
What Bryant learned in the music business was hands on, from the ground up.
Bryant said, “I jumped in the music business just to represent my best friend Lil Wayne and not knowing anything about the music business. All I had was the tools I’ve learned at Jackson State, my high school and implemented them early on in the business.”
He wants to share that knowledge with students at Jackson State University where he has remained active. He was a member of the Sonic Boom of the South, JSU’s renowned band, graduated in 2004 and is now Professor Bryant on campus.
“I felt like it was time for me to go back and find that next person that may be the young me. Coming from New Orleans, you know, single parent household, not having much, to pour some knowledge into them and give them exposure because a lot of, I mean even when I was in school, I feel like our community still lacks exposure," he stated.
The Chair of the Music Department Dr. Lisa Beckley-Roberts explains why this eight week class is important in the development of future musicians and executives.
“Students are getting an education in the business side as well as the performance side," she said. "We all need to understand how to make money, how to manage money, how to protect money and a lot of times artists get really caught up in making my art, making my music and so we want to equip them with all the tools they need to be successful.”
Lowell Hollinger, Assistant Professor of Music and Associate Director of Bands, is the college classmate of Bryant - they also marched side by side in the Sonic Boom.
Hollinger said, “This is his home. He is from here and he has wanted to give back and, you know, COVID is bad and we know, we understand that, but at the same time it gave him the opportunity and the time to be able to do something like this.”
From manager to businessman, Bryant wants students to be prepared.
Bryant said, “They know the jobs of the rappers and the athletes from the front forward, right? But they don’t know that there are plenty of careers behind the scenes, you know, that’s just as great, pay just as well but they have no idea because they are not exposed to it.”
Bryant’s impressive career includes branding partnerships with Beats by Dre, Samsung, Mountain Dew and more. He also helped pair Lil Nas X of Old Town Road fame with Doritos for the 2020 Super Bowl Commercial.
Bryant is co-CEO of the Blueprint Group based in Atlanta. He and his team established Young Money Sports four years ago. The sports agency manages 50 NFL players including two first round picks in the last two NFL drafts.
Bryant was also an intern at WLBT.