Legendary record producer, songwriter, and Grammy Award winner Jermaine Dupri is no stranger to staying ahead of the trend: he has a knack for discovering emerging talent and helping develop some of the world's most iconic artists. After starting his record label So So Def in 1993, Dupri worked with Kris Kross, Usher, Nelly and Mariah Carrey to help bring them international fame. Since then he has sold more than 400 million albums, working with Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, TLC, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris, Alicia Keys and Bow Wow, among others. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2019 the Grammy Museum celebrated the 25th anniversary of his label.
Will Godley and I spoke exclusively to the Dupri yesterday, revealing its secret ways to keep up with the latest trends.
“Veganism is the next big trend in business. This is the first new store I've seen since then … (+)
The 47-year-old was a little nostalgic when asked if knowing what's trending is always a given. "What I've learned in the past is that I like to do things that aren't done. So I have to watch out for the next wave. But most of the time I don't know I'm doing it, it's God given. "When it comes to writing songs or producing an album, the music icon is usually confident that his work will do well. "But it's not just about the music, it's about everything else. How can I get people to pay attention to Kriss Kross before they even hear their music? If you can understand that, you can do well."
ATLANTA, GA – FEBRUARY 23: Jay-Z and Jermain Dupri perform at So So Def's 20th Anniversary Concert … (+)
It's not just musical trends that Dupri is looking for. At the turn of the millennium, analog technology disappeared and digital technology took its place. Smartphones and the World Wide Web quickly dominated every market. It seems like everyone has a social media presence today, but in 2005 the Dupri saw the opportunity to develop its Global14 platform. This change of direction away from music for the Grammy winner was ironically inspired by his fans. "I wanted to create a space for my fans, for people who have the same interests as me, be it food, clothes, girls, cars or music. They didn't have that in 2007, there was no Instagram and Twitter wasn't like it is now So I got this wild idea. I have a million followers. What if I can bring 25% of them to a new platform where I can post my activity and start a conversation? "Even though Dupri found that innovation will always have some critics. “body wanted to hear my idea; They called me the Black Mark Zuckerburg. But I started this community, Global14, and that means people like me have a place to represent them, as opposed to trying to fit in with a crowd they don't even know. "
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 15: (L-R) Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Bow Wow, Jermaine … (+)
His latest project is again off the music scene as he embarks on a journey to make the world vegan. That decision may have been more personal for Dupri, having led a meat-free life for 14 years, but he believes this is the next big thing in the world. "Veganism is the next big trend in business. This is the first new store I've seen in my life. " Comparison of the vegan business with the sneaker business that existed in Dupri's childhood. "They have new products on the market, Yeezys by Kanye (West) or Pharrell (Williams) Adidas. But sneakers are not a new business."
While Dupri insists on being able to spot a trend the natural way, being vegan 14 years ago wasn't a trend for most people. Dupri still doesn't cook at home, but argues that a lot has changed in the restaurant world. “There are now far more vegan restaurants than when I started vegan, especially in the southern states. It's funny because the south is known for its soul food. But Atlanta now has more black-owned vegan restaurants than any other city. “Although he still can't do without his mother's spaghetti, which is now made with plant-based alternatives.
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 14: Usher, Mariah Carey and Jermaine Dupri attend while Jermaine Dupri celebrates … (+)
Getty Images for So So Def
Whether veganism, social media or musical sensations – Dupri has the history behind it of being ahead of the trend. He attributes it to “focusing on things that are close to my soul, what my soul is telling me. If that means nobody else did it, then so be it. “The special thing about Dupri's ventures is how they survive the initial trend and add longevity to the music he's worked on around the world. He believes that veganism is no different and "it's here to stay" which predicts a boom in vegan restaurant businesses. For other companies looking to keep up with this trend, Dupri predicts that this will be easier than it sounds. “This is a new business and the space is very open. People always think vegans are second or third choice, but it's time to be on the front lines. If you are quick, clever and understand space, you will grow up. “As an entrepreneur, the 47-year-old was reluctant to reveal his business ideas, but he says the most prominent area at the moment is airports. You are dealing with people who are waiting for their flight and want to eat. If you read about this new restaurant in Forbes, you will want to try it out. "
So far, Dupri has switched many of his friends to a plant-based diet, including Jay-Z and Beyonce. However, the 47-year-old hopes to continue expanding the vegan lifestyle and take on a new role as Creative Director of The Beet. In his new role, he is committed to healthy eating and living, taking into account the cultural change that is affecting the way people eat: Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, plant-based food sales have increased as the Meat sales have declined for the first time in six years.
NEW YORK CITY, NY – FEBRUARY 7: (L-R) Beyonce Knowles, Jay Z and Jermaine Dupri visit Marc Jacobs … (+)
Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Feeling like he had a background in the music business, Dupri has helped him thrive as a vegan because both of them require a creative and soulful mindset. "I sit in the studio most days, it's not an active lifestyle. You just eat and work. I had to switch to a vegan lifestyle, and I think everyone should do that at some point. That's why I made The Beet. I want it to be." Make a plant-based diet resource number one so I can make sure people understand this is for them. "While he appreciates widespread change, they won't be without challenges." The hardest part is getting people to do it educate, which is why The Beet makes so much sense. I needed a place where I could find the different vegan restaurants in a city or the answers to my questions. "
Jermaine Dupri, Professor Ben Laker and British broadcast journalist Will Godley talk about Zoom
Professor Ben Laker ZOOM
Looking to the future, Dupri believes the world will be vegan and the demand for an ethical and sustainable lifestyle is growing. “The global effects of Covid-19 have made the vegan lifestyle much more desirable as people pay much more attention to their health and strengthen their immune systems. People have woken up to the benefits and are paying attention to it. “Joining veganism will include some other lifestyle changes that the music icon awaits, but veganism has no choice but to move up. If the younger generation talks about it more, they definitely won't leave town. It has a strong ten-year run of 100 percent. "