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Behind the scenes with Ty Sanders

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

For Ty Sanders, A&R (artists and repertoire) Consultant and Promotions Manager, an internship was a chance of a lifetime. by Jodie Marcel Johnson
Special to the Tri-State Defender

For many people, internships are valuable opportunities to gain entry-level experience in a particular field. For Ty Sanders, A&R (artists and repertoire) Consultant and Promotions Manager, an internship was a chance of a lifetime.

But the internship didn’t just drop out of the sky. Sanders took a series of steps that put him in place to benefit from a helping hand.

 Ty Sanders
 Ty Sanders (Courtesy photo)

“I use to sing and play piano. That was my dream, to sing and play piano on stage and I had the chance to do that at an event,” said Sanders. “I remember going backstage to tell the promoter thank you and I noticed he was making money off the event and that motivated me to do the same. I realized you can make more money behind the scenes.”

Sanders started out managing a local studio while attending the University of Memphis. He would find artists and go over legal paper work and logistics with them.  

“One of my friends had a studio and needed help running it and with me being me, I wanted to learn everything that needed to be known about the studio,” said Sanders.

Once that long time friend and family member, Chris J, was signed to Big Gates Records, Sanders reached out to him in hopes of an internship. After that came what Sanders calls one of the most amazing opportunities in his life.

“The biggest boost in my career was by Chris J giving me the opportunity to work with him on his project when he first got signed to Big Gates Records. It was a blessing and I truly thank him for it.”

As an A&R (artists and repertoire consultant), Sanders found artists record labels and linked them up with producers. The internship at Big Gate Records afforded him the chance to work with executive A&R Trina Edwards and recording artist Plies.

“I was responsible for all artists and producer submissions for the record label. I also helped scout talent and over the years I’ve worked on Plies’ last two studio albums,  “The Realist” and “Goon Affiliated,” and Chris J’s songs, “Put It on ya” and “Don‘t Need No Man,” which featured Plies himself,” said Sanders.

Sanders’ work with Big Gates Records gave him the experience and inspiration to create his own A&R consulting company, Tysand Media, and to launch Rising Stars.

“When I worked with Plies a lot of artists gave me their demos. Many of these artists were from Memphis and I wanted to help them,” he said.

 Every month since its start in 2009, Rising Stars, hosted at Minglewood Hall, gives artists a platform to perform and showcase their musical talents and the winners can go on to the  B.E.T. television show “106 & Park.”

The experience with Big Gates prepared him work with an artist already signed to a major label,” said Sanders, adding that, “I also use this knowledge and experience to teach artists how to survive in this industry.

Fortified with that experience, Sanders worked with his long time friend Kris Thomas, who signed with Universal. Through Thomas, Sanders has met and worked with Jessica Driver and esteemed music executive, Reen Nalli, who is known for her work with Universal Records, Motown Records, and Indie Arie.

Ever mindful of – and thankful for – his opportunities, Sanders is determined to keep his life and career in perspective.

“Every time I go to a club or backstage, I know a lot of people think its all fun, which it can be fun,” he said. “But 90 percent of the time it’s work. It’s a blessing, but at the same time it’s still a job.”

He offers this tidbit for any emerging artist: have a strong team that believes you and your music.

As for his future, Sanders said, “My goal is to become one of the best A&Rs in the south and help artists fulfill their music dreams. Regardless if they want to be independent or major.”

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