Mase, a Florida-based producer with a growing list of celebrity clients, is poised to make a powerful impact on the music industry. Laser-focused, with a no-compromise attitude and strong business acumen, he is quickly making headway in the music industry.
Mase was born in Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, Africa, and attended school in France. After graduation, he moved to the United States, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in international relations.
The producer said his true calling is music, however, and he’s combined his heritage, studio knowledge and musical talents to launch Miami-based DMS Entertainment, signing rising stars and solo artists CaMille and Alexandra to his new label.
Mase recently discussed his love of music, what it takes to be a good producer and his goals for DMS.
AFRO: Growing up in Gabon, when were you first exposed to music?
Mase: I have been exposed to music since I was little. I was always attracted by the beat first, not by the lyric. It’s something that makes me move; something in you that you cannot explain — drums, sounds, all of that. When I listen to a song, I listen to the beat first.
I grew up on a lot of African music, Michael Jackson of course, Madonna and Prince. I learned about rap from a friend of mine in Gabon. I didn’t speak English, so it was amazing to me to hear Snoop flowing on the beat “Deep Cover” that he did with Dre — the beat blew me away, the way he rapped on it.
AFRO: How did being in the U.S. expand your musical tastes and knowledge?
Mase: In California I was around a lot of people who love music. I went to concerts and knew what I wanted to do. I have always listened to different genres of music; my first CD was by Nirvana. I still like rock music, but what I love most is hip hop, R&B and some pop. If I hear a good song, it doesn’t matter the genre. In my music you get the feel of rock, African, American and European. My sound is really different because I’ve lived in a lot of different places.
AFRO: In addition to being a producer, are you also a musician or songwriter?
Mase: I write songs, but I would not say I’m a songwriter, because that is not what I do all the time. I can write and give concepts, which was hard to do at the beginning because I did not know much English. Sometimes I make a track and have lyrics for a song. Three years ago my best friend — my dad — died and I made a beat with a song in my head for him. The song is called “We Miss You” and it is on iTunes. It took me a long time to get in the studio and do it.
AFRO: Tell me more about CaMille and Alexandra.
Mase: A friend of mine brought CaMille to me. She is from Guyana. I didn’t like the direction she had, so I worked with her and switched things around. I produced most of her album. We did a video for “Superman Lover,” which I produced. It is getting a good response. Her single is on iTunes. Someone I worked with brought Alexandra to me. We worked on her album and I produced a couple of songs. She’s pop/rock/R&B with an edge. I produced her new single, “Atten Hut,” (available on iTunes) with Dimarco, and it’s a really great song. It’s getting a lot of response.
AFRO: There are risks involved in launching a company. How did you prepare to launch DMS Entertainment?
Mase: It costs a lot of money to start a company, but besides the music, I love to do business. I always had a drive to be successful and involved in a lot of different things. If you do something, you always are taking a risk, so I’m fortunate to be in a situation where I am able to put money into my own company. I’m not Bill Gates, I’m not rich, but you have to know how to spend and spend it right.
AFRO: What’s next for you?
Mase: Right now, it’s getting my two artists’ projects out there. I want to do a lot of things — clothing, movies, businesses between the U.S. and Africa. I want a charity to help children in the U.S. and Africa. My goal is to be an example for the younger generation and to inspire children to do their best. If I am able to do that with my life, at the end of the day I will be happy.