Published on February 5, 2015 | by LawNews
Alumnus Kenny Meiselas ’81, Lawyer for Diddy & Lady Gaga, Interviewed by Billboard
Hofstra Law alumnus Kenny Meiselas ’81, a partner at Grubman Shire & Meiselas, was recently interviewed by Billboard to discuss his career as a music attorney.
Meiselas, who represents major clients like Puff Daddy, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Usher and Avicii, talks about how he landed his first major client, whether giant paydays for electronic dance music (EDM) DJs are justified, how the industry is adjusting to streaming services, and working with veteran entertainment attorney Allen Grubman.
Below is an excerpt from the interview.
Who was your first client?
The Exciters were a group from the 1960s whose song “Tell Him” was used on the soundtrack for The Big Chill, and they had not been compensated. So they came to me, and I was trying to break into the field, so I embraced it and turned over every stone until I found where the money was coming from. And I was able to get the group paid. Two years later, Cory Rooney, whose mom was the lead singer of the Exciters, and his friend Prince Markie Dee had a group called The Fat Boys, but they aspired to become serious songwriter-producers and wanted out. So I was able to get them out of the deal and their first project was on Uptown Records for an artist named Father MC. The 19-year-old A&R-ing the record was a guy named Puff Daddy.
Was that how you first connected with Puff?
I got him fired from the project so that Father MC could control and A&R it himself. Well, with all respect, the world hasn’t heard of Father MC since, but Puff came to me a couple months later and said, “I like the way you did that, will you represent me?” It’s been 20 years now.