Boss Vixen: A&R Executive Erica Grayson Urges Women To Find Inner Strength + Corporate Style
Erica Grayson’s got moxie! It’s clear from her hard-working journey climbing the record label ranks to become an executive A&R that she embodies the fearlessness (or chutzpa) it takes be a well-respected, intelligent boss! She has rubbed elbows with the who’s who of the biz, especially Interscope head Jimmy Iovine, and has now taken on her own entertainment management and consultant company. She’s MADE it–literally–and VIBE Vixen caught up with the humble, modern-day hippie to talk about her newest venture with music’s hottest producers and songwriters, her experiences working with other women in entertainment and how corporate style can be fly and exclusive. -Niki McGloster
How did you come up with Moxieworld?
It’s sort of like a sub-brand of MADE. It’s a part of the company that really has the angle of women empowerment. It’s not from a typical feminist perspective; it’s more from a personal background of the things I went through, and how I feel like it’s our responsibility to stand up and offer some advice or help. I think we get too much of a bad rep of not being able to work together or not helping each other, and I don’t think that’s true.
What do you mean by “moxie,” in reference to the message you want to come across?
Moxie is a Yiddish term, and it means guts or fearlessness or chutzpa. I think that’s what I represent. I like to lead the world; that’s what I want women to embrace. Not that we’re aggressive like men or that we contribute in the world [like men], we contribute in our own unique ways. We’re fearless in the ways and things we go after, whether it’s business or in the way we raise our families. We, as women, make those decisions every day, and a lot of times, it’s like we’re doing it on our own. I think it’s important we embrace that and find that inner strength.
Do you find it hard for women to speak up in a male-dominated industry?
I think that it’s intimidating for anyone in a high-pressure gig. You’re dealing with hundred thousand dollar, multi-million dollar projects and to raise your hand will set you up to either be rewarded because you’re right or put on the chopping block because you’re right. What I do think is that any woman who has pursued a high-power career or her own business probably has the strength to raise her hand and be counted, so it doesn’t make it more difficult because they’re men, at least that’s not the way I thought of it.
Now, with everything that you’ve done especially with working with Interscope and Jimmy Iovine, what would you say you’ve learned in your entire career?
On the record side, specifically, I learned music is valuable beyond measure. Despite what people think in terms of the traditional ways of how people get their music and how that changed, people still value music. It’s still the soundtrack to everything that we do. We’re just in a position to have to figure out how we utilize that fact to benefit financially. Personally, I learned you have to have a set of internal morals or goals, things that you will and won’t do. That’s really because there has to be some level of quality control on your life. I don’t know if I was taught that at my time at Interscope; I think that’s been through experience of being next to highly successful people. I want to do that, but I want to know that I have a rich life as well, rich in character, rich in love and rich in fun.