Four Friends On The Fast Track – Black Enterprise

Four Friends On The Fast Track

Ignoring an old adage about friends and business not mixing well, the executives of Noontime Music are defying the odds with their successful Atlanta-based publishing house. “We are like brothers,” says Ryan Glover, of his three partners. “Yes, we argue all the time, but it’s because we are feverishly trying to reach a common goal — success.”

In just six years, Glover, along with childhood friends Henry “Noonie” Lee, Chris Hicks and Terry Ross, has created a production company that’s responsible for negotiating deals for an exclusive roster of producers, which includes Jazze Pha (Ludacris, Tupac), Brian-Michael Cox (Mariah Carey, Bow Wow), and Teddy Bishop (Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton). The self-described “talent brokers” secure publishing and copyrights on behalf of their talent as well as provide a recording studio. Garnering $25,000 to $50,000 per song, the five-employee company pushed revenues beyond $3 million in 2002 and projects $5 million in business for 2003.

In 1992, Glover and Hicks left their Richmond, California, hometown to pursue degrees in public relations and accounting, respectively. Lee, their childhood friend, trekked to Atlanta, where he planted the seed for the future enterprise by partnering with an acquaintance and opening a small recording studio. After graduation, Glover and Hicks, who became party promoters during college, joined Lee and Ross, who had since relocated to Georgia. Combining funds accumulated from their promotions venture with the profits Lee acquired from his fledgling studio, along with Ross’ personal savings, the foursome invested $250,000 in a recording facility that would house their team of producers. “We didn’t make a whole lot of money our first year,” admits Lee. “This was definitely a hard field to break into.”

Things turned around for the quartet in 1998 when Hicks’ and Ross’ college classmate Sean “P. Diddy” Combs put the company on the fast track to success by agreeing to manage their first producer, Jeffery “J-Dubb” Walker. “We gained a lot of credibility in the music industry from that arrangement,” says Glover. “That [deal] put Noontime on the map.”

Fashioning themselves to become the powerhouse that LaFace Records was in its heyday, the young executives, each of whom are in their early 30s, see a limitless future for their company. They have already begun the groundwork for a record label, Noontime Recordings, by signing teen Lil’ Corey and boy band A-T-L to their label. “We are certainly doing our homework,” says Hicks, of the recent expansion. “I think we are just a record sale away from becoming the next LaFace.”

Noontime Music, 576 Trabert St., Atlanta, GA 30309; 404-691-3004;