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G-Eazy Visits Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - February 2, 2016

Rapper Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum and music executive Matt Bauerschmidt spoke to Loyola faculty, students and friends about the rapper’s rapid rise to stardom

Oakland native and rapper Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum and manager Matt Bauerschmidt visited their alma mater Loyola University New Orleans. In a one-hour forum, they spoke intimately with Loyola students and friends of the Loyola University New Orleans Department of Film and Music Industry Studies about G-Eazy’s rise to superstardom without major label support. The pair―2011 alumni of Loyola’s MIS program who began their partnership as undergraduates―were interviewed “Inside the Actor’s Studio” style by Loyola University New Orleans Professor of Music Industry Studies William O’Connell.

“It was about being a critical thinker,” Gillum said referring to the Jesuit Catholic education he received at Loyola. “There’s no formula to it, and it’s gotta be honest and it’s got to be real,” he said of his work. “When it goes, it goes…But there was such a foundation there from the start.”

The forum was held at 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, in Nunemaker Auditorium, Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, La. Joined by prospective students and their families, Loyola students and faculty in the Department of Film and Music Industry Studies heard from G-Eazy and Matt Bauerschmidt about music industry career experiences, marketing, and technical skills and industry concepts employed to catapult G-Eazy’s rapid rise to stardom. Several overflow rooms were needed for additional crowds, who watched the forum Livestream.

The Department of Film and Music Industry Studies at Loyola University prepares film and music students for entrepreneurial and business success in the creative professions. Hours before a highly anticipated performance at New Orleans’ Orpheum Theater, G-Eazy and Bauerschmidt, a leading young executive in the music business industry, discussed how, by mastering the concepts and entrepreneurial skills taught at Loyola, they were able to leverage their skills and talents to break out in an extraordinarily competitive industry.

O’Connell, an artist manager and promoter who’s worked with Lou Reed, The Ramones, The Replacements, Throwing Muses, The Smiths, and Talking Heads. O’Connell is still actively engaged in the music business, and currently manages Throwing Muses, Pixies, and BarkMarket.

“…The only people you haven’t beat so far are Bieber and Adele,” O’Connell said, querying the rapper about the beginning of his career, which started while he was a student at Loyola. “Pivoting…little incremental changes along the way…you were making observations along the way and making changes to what you did.”

O’Connell referred to the career planning, branding, goal-setting and teambuilding skills that Music Industry Studies students receive at Loyola in addition to music, songwriting, production, marketing, management and other business skills. The questions prompted honest and personal responses from G-Eazy, known for his James Dean style and IPO-level start-up success, and Bauerschmidt, who discovered Gillum when the pair were freshmen and has been his manager and best friend ever since.

“A lot of people work to the point that they get some attention from the powers that be, from a gatekeeper,” O’Connell said, admiring the way the rapper responded to early attention from some record labels, who unsuccessfully tried to make deals with G-Eazy when he was a student.

“We always talk about this idea that you were able to say a ‘credible no’ at those times. You knew what you wanted, when you needed them and when you didn’t need them…The idea that when you knew what you wanted and you were offered a deal, you said no, it was clear that you had enough going on independently from a D-I-Y standpoint, that you meant no.”

G-Eazy’s 2014 major-label debut album, “These Things Happen,” landed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. His latest work, “When It’s Dark Out,” sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week, when it debuted in December. On Sunday, his song “Me, Myself and I” landed at No. 1 on the on the R&B/Hip Hop single sales chart for the second week in a row, with impressive sales. The artist has been profiled in periodicals from The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com to Rolling Stone.

“We’ve always been critical, in a good way. We’re always critiquing, we’re never comfortable,” G-Eazy said, referring to the culture he has built among his young team. “We care so much, and that’s what drives us crazy, keeps us insane, and keeps us up at night…We care so much. If you don’t care, that reads.”

The rapper had motivational words for Loyola students, some of whom now live in Biever Hall, where he resided as a freshman. He spoke to students about the value of living, working and studying in a community of like-minded colleagues at a young age, and said he hopes to ride the wave all his life, like one of his idols, Willie Nelson.

“Always go hard, never go weak. In all things you do, be a beast,” he said, citing the six months he spent in lonely process, producing songs for his latest album. “The work you’re doing today, you might feel the benefit from, like six months to a year from now.”

Video: Rapper Gerald “G-Eazy” Gillum and manager Matt Bauerschmidt, 2011 alumni of Loyola’s Music Industry Studies program, visit Loyola University New Orleans Music Industry Studies forum on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Click here.