Keldrick Scott and GitMo Music Diversify the North Texas Music Scene
Keldrick Scott, 36, has been the head of local record label GitMo Music since December 2013. Scott is a reserved and soft-spoken man with a faded mustache, a goatee, and a shaved head. He has lived in Denton for most of his life, and grew up listening to a wide variety of music, including Prince, Michael Jackson, and Jay-Z, just to name a select few.
“My iTunes is just a shuffle of literally everything: country, hard rock, soft rock, hip-hop, everything,” Scott explains. “It’s hard for me to find a song I don’t like, I’m open to everything.”
While Scott has always been a fan of music, he didn’t think of it as a career choice until more recently. He grew up playing sports, and his family expected him to get involved in football or track. After graduating from Denton High School, he received a football scholarship to the University of Minnesota in 1999. Within days of starting school, he realized he had no interest in playing football, and left school. Scott laments on this period of his life as “just wasting time,” as he worked to pay his bills, and played video games in his spare time.
“I finally snapped out of that about three years ago. That’s when GitMo came along,” Scott said, adding that getting involved in the music business gave him a new sense of responsibility.
“Now I do so much music I’m trying to get back on the damn video games!” he jokes.
Scott wanted to get involved in music because of his experience in the studio business, as well as his status as a fan of many different genres. To spread awareness about GitMo Music, Scott and his crew recorded a compilation album entitled Breakin' Barriers. The release included every hip-hop artist in Denton. According to Scott, the album was about getting people to work together who normally wouldn’t, adding that GitMo’s line-up is diverse, and includes rock, pop, and R&B artists in addition to hip-hop.
Scott describes his position at GitMo as entirely business-oriented, though he gets support from producers, art directors, and other crew members. Most of the people who work with the label live in Denton or DFW, including 17 artists, and about 40 people who handle the business element, including graphic designers, web developers, shirt designers, a street-level promotions team, and even the owners of music venues. One of the label’s producers, Clifford Nicks (a.k.a. DJ Spinn Mo) describes Scott as a “visionary,” and a growing presence in Denton who has already made history by being the first hip-hop personality to make the local paper.
When asked about challenges that the label faces, Scott said one of the biggest challenges was figuring out which artists to include on the label, as well as trying to get an idea of which artists actually wanted to be involved with the company.
“The first two years was just a revolving door [of artists],” Scott explained.
When asked about personal successes he’s had with his time at the label, Scott mentioned the satisfaction he gets from when an artist finishes an album. He also said in regards to business, the success is being able to stay around for three years.
“For the first year, we were putting out an album a month. There was no time to dwell on failures or successes. You just have to find out what to do next. Still going is the biggest triumph,” Scott said.
For the future, Scott wants to expand GitMo’s influence.
“Right now it feels like we’re making music for ourselves. I want to make music for the people. We want to be known as a major record label. I plan on making my music so good and so much in demand, [venues] have no choice but to say, ‘we want you to perform.’ I want to make music so good that they’ll let anyone in.”
GitMo’s team is also getting into publishing artists through Astronauts Publishing. Through Astronauts, Scott intends to show artists how to distribute their work, and get royalties.
“My goal is to get everyone in DFW published,” he explains.
In 2017, he plans to have more artists make albums including Naomi, a pop/R&B artist and recent GitMo recruit.
While Scott doesn’t exactly consider himself musically inclined, he sees his ability to give artists advice on how to promote themselves as his own form of musical talent. Scott explains how some artists want the success right away, but he insists that they have to be slow, steady, and more precise in an effort to get people to know about the artist’s work and events.
“Without hard work, you don’t get anything. Be consistent, and take it small shows at a time. Be the no-name that performs in front of ten people who are actually going to remember you when you leave, and do it next week.”
Keldrick Scott thinks of GitMo Music as more than just a record label.
“We’re a family. People come in, and they feel like they’re a part of something.”
GitMo Music has a new release for one of their artists on October 15, and the release party will be held at Andy’s Bar on the Square.
Header image design by Jason Lee