As time passes in the music industry, aspiring figures are figuring out the right moves to impact the culture. Take Tay-K, the teen who’s name caught the attention of many last year. Around the release of his breakout single, “The Race” the 17-year-old was literally on the run from a murder case. His manager Ezra Averill, also 17, helped boost the single to platinum status, making him the youngest person to help A&R a platinum record.
Speaking with Forbes on Tuesday (Feb. 27), Averill proves his promising prowess isn’t limited to just Tay-K. The Arlington native shared how he formed his business savvy mind at 15 after taking birthday money to throw his first event.
“That first show, on my 15th birthday, it was called “Dallas 300,” it was with Playboi Carti, he was the headliner, and Tay performed,” he said. “There were a LOT of people who pulled up. It was really an important Dallas show, did crazy numbers, I’m pretty sure we sold out, and from there we just started building.” In addition to his work with Carti, he’s also booked shows in the city for MadeInTYO, Yung Gleesh and 21 Savage.
And while this grassroots story of self-made success is inspiring, Averill reveals that a phone call with Roc-A-Fella co-originator Dame Dash, was the most pivotal call of his life thus far. “He told me what to look out for, what type of deal I should look for Tay, he told me who to watch out for, what these people might do if I go this way, what they might do if I go that way. He gave me a lot of advice, a lot of game, in a short phone call,” Averill said.
Averill took heed to his words. At this time, he’s boosting the other acts under his Stomp Down umbrella like Maxo, D Flowers and (hopefully) CJ Casino. “Our main goal isn’t just to be something for Texas, our main goal is to be something that changes the whole industry and changes hip-hop for the better,” Averill said. “We wanna bring rap back to its roots. Rap wasn’t founded on money and popularity, it was founded on individual expression, and bringing a voice to people who didn’t have a voice before. We really want to bring that part of hip-hop back.”
This coming from a kid who admitted he has school on Monday disproves the theory that hip-hop is endangered, showing the genre is in good hands.
As for Tay, the teen is still awaiting trial for a home robbery and murder of 21-year-old Ethan Walker. Tay was charged with two counts of capital murder with his co-defendant receiving 20 years in prison. “Everyone’s innocent until proven guilty, and I believe wholeheartedly that my brother is innocent, I know that he’s innocent,” Averill said. “We have unreleased music comin’ soon. Everything you see in the industry, nothing’s gonna be the same when Tay comes home.”