You can’t say Corey Scott isn’t willing to expand his horizons. The VCU sophomore distance runner is majoring in elementary education, but that didn’t stop him from working three internships – none of them related to his major – last summer, including one with ties to Def Jam Records and another associated with Grammy Award winning artist Ne-Yo.
“My dad always told me, ‘You should explore and diversify your options,’” Scott said.
Scott was born in upstate New York and raised in Albany before moving to Atlanta and later Virginia, but most of his family lives in New York City. He was looking for a new experience and a chance to live in New York, where he spent many summers as a kid. So he called his cousin, Ronnie Stephenson.
Stephenson owns Creative Production Partners, a production and management company based out of Brooklyn, N.Y. Their clients include Ne-Yo, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and the annual Fort Green Festival, among others.
Stephenson’s company handles everything from logistics to hotels to transportation and a number of other tasks for touring artists. CPP also plans a number of events in New York and elsewhere.
Scott worked for CPP as a runner, a catch-all title for someone who assists with errands and a number of other duties, as needed. He worked a number of events, including the Fort Green Festival (headlined by Mos Def), concerts and Ne-Yo’s appearance with Pitbull on the Today Show in July.
The experience was a valuable look inside the music industry, as well as the lives celebrities for Scott.
“At first it was like, wow, I can’t believe I’m working with Ne-Yo, but after the people I’ve met this summer, you realize they’re just people. Their profession just happens to be performing for millions of people,” he said.
In addition to Creative Production Partners, Scott also managed to land an internship with Compound Entertainment, a production company that operates under the umbrella of Def Jam Records. Compound serves as Ne-Yo’s artist management company and is also affiliated with Adrienne Bailon and Lisa Tucker.
Scott primarily handled administrative duties, took notes in meetings, gave feedback on music samples and more. He saw music and business blended together from close range. It was an experience that taught him a simple, but universal truth of business.
“You’ve got to make sure communication is clear on everything,” he said. “In that industry, everybody isn’t on the same page all the time, so making sure communication was clear between all of us was key.”
Apparently, two internships weren’t enough for Scott, so he added another. Another cousin, Shana Renee Stephenson, Ronnie’s sister, had recently founded “All Sports Everything”, a Harlem-based sports, marketing and fashion blog. She agreed to bring Scott on board to write for and market the site a couple days a week.
It made for a pretty busy summer of zig-zagging from subway stop to subway stop. Scott also had to stay in shape for cross country season, but it was worth it, he says. It was an adventurous summer for Scott, but a valuable one. As of now, he says teaching is still in his future, but he also wasn’t ready to rule anything out.
“I definitely have a new outlook on life, in that I wouldn’t mind going and exploring other things,” he said. “I made so many connections this summer that it wouldn’t be hard for me and go get a job and work in the music industry. I would start at the bottom, but after seeing people who have moved to get high up in a few years, it’s definitely something I wouldn’t mind pursuing. But who knows what life holds. I would’ve never thought that would be me.”
Even if he never works in the music industry again, Scott can take with him lessons that can be applied to any walk of life.
“I learned that you can definitely achieve your dreams,” he said. “My cousin started in my position as a runner and worked his way up. He was good at what he did and now he owns his own company. You can definitely make things happen. Chase your dreams. Don’t let people bring you down.”