As a kid in high school, Dallas Martin was a serious music fan, downloading music by Lil Wayne and Jay-Z on Napster. He studied top hip-hop moguls and obsessively searched the internet for new music, then predicted which songs would be hits. Driven to turn his passion into a career, he left Flint to begin his journey in Atlanta, GA where he pursued music industry connections. There, he went to college, made progress and faced setbacks – but was focused on his dream and has made it a reality.
Now, Martin is in Los Angeles heading Atlantic Records’ A&R (Artists and Repertoire) division, where he is responsible for scouting new Urban/Hip-Hop recording artists and guiding their commercial development.
Martin credits his Flint upbringing with spurring his ambition to be successful. In 2016, he rallied support from big names in the music business to help with the Flint water crisis. The busy record executive recently took some time for a Q&A with MCM.
MCM: Are you originally from Flint? If so, what part?
DM: Yes, the Southside. I went to Flint Central High School.
MCM: Did you go to college? Where and what did you study?
DM: I studied marketing at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. I was fortunate to intern at Def Jam Records under the late Shakir Stewart, which got me started in my music career.
MCM: What aspect of your career is the most exciting?
DM: I get the chance to help change lives.
MCM: What career achievement are you most proud of?
DM: Being promoted to head of A&R at Atlantic Records
MCM: On what career goal/ projects are you most focused on right now?
DM: I’m working with Roddy Ricch and Meek Mill.
MCM: How did growing up in greater Flint shape who you are today?
DM: Growing up in Flint gave me a hustler’s spirit and made me ambitious to make a better life for myself.
MCM: Did any special people influence you?
DM: (record executives) Shakir Stewart and Todd Moscowitz
MCM: What is your ultimate career goal?
DM: I hope to start my own record label, and make it the biggest in the world.
MCM: What do you hope for the future of Flint?
DM: Clean water
MCM: What do you like to do in your spare time?
DM: Spend time with my young son, Maverick.
Photo provided by Dallas Martin