“Those I looked up to, now look up to me” – Interview with Latin musician and EEM Records boss Jowynalex
Check out our interview with musician and owner of record label EEM Records Manuel Avendaño, otherwise known as Jowynalex.
Meet Manuel Avendaño, also known as Jowynalex, a self-made artist producing music in a wide range of genres, from Pop and Electronic to Reggaeton and Merengue.
Avendaño has a massive following across social media. Jowynalex’s track “Call Me Up (feat. Tory Lanez),” distributed via RouteNote, was recently re-released and already has over 20,000 streams on Spotify.
We had a really enlightening conversation with Avendaño. He’s a good example of an artist for whom being seen as a businessman is as important as being a musician. Confident in his own success, he’s proud to declare himself the first Latin artist to collaborate with Tory Lanez and Bobby V, and recalled highlights of running his company Celebrity MGMT Agency like being involved with the Bud Light 2019 Area 51 viral campaign.
He discussed the tricks that help him balance making his own music with running EEM Records, gave advice to other indie label owners – and opened up about the bumps in his road to success.
Check out the interview below.
My name is Manuel Avendaño, also known professionally as Jowynalex.
I’m the Founder and CEO of EEM Records, a record label I decided to establish when I first got into the music industry to sign myself.
You also release music through your label as Jowynalex. How did you get started producing music?
I started producing music at the age of 15 and began a professional music career opening concerts for many major artists.
That gave me the opportunity to perform at Machete Music World Tour in 2010; an International tour by artists of the Latin Urban music label Machete Music owned by Universal Music Group.
Are you self-taught?
Yes, I learned to do everything on my own because nobody would help me back then, but it definitely paid off. I also play the piano by ear.
Can you remember a moment you knew for sure you wanted to spend your time making music and working with artists?
The moment I heard myself for the first time on the radio back in 2010 was when I knew I wanted to do it for a living, although it actually took me a decade to see earnings and build a successful brand.
I decided to work with selected artists, producers, and songwriters from around the world a couple of years ago because I love to help others, as well learn from their mistakes. It also helps me become a better businessman day-by-day.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
I honestly don’t have a dream collaborator, because anything is possible as long as you put the work in and go after what you want to accomplish in life. Today, those I grew up looking up to now look up to me, as well as follow me on social media networks.
So I know the opportunity is there, but I’d rather have them approach me when the time is right. That’s when I will know a dream collaboration is happening.
As a label owner, do you think it’s best to talk to an artist like a brand?
Yes, I think approaching artists like a brand is much better and also more professional than coming to them as an artist saying: “Hey! I have my own label and can help.”
Usually they take that as you bragging about it and makes them hate or envy you.
How do you feel about social media? It can be easy to get obsessed over follower numbers and likes.
There’s a saying: “The more money you have the more problems you have.” It’s similar to followers and likes. It seems to be that when you have more than others you become a centre of attention and a target for hackers, especially those that wish to see you fall.
For example when I first got verified on Instagram in 2015 I worked really hard to get to over one million throughout the years, only to have someone hack my account and make me lose a verified badge, all because I decided not to work with them.
Not only I did I want to quit social media and give up on life, but it made me learn that what matters is not numbers or what evil people do to try and bring you down, but how you are mentally. Because they can do or say anything about you, but it’s up to you if you let that affect you. So why not kill them with success and blessings.
Who would you say are your biggest inspirations – from a music point of view, and also from the business side?
First of all, my biggest inspiration is my family because without their support I would not be where I am today.
Musically I would say 50 Cent, because not only does he think like an artist but also as a businessman, which has lead him to be very successful in creating companies as well as helping others.
What’s been your proudest moment during your career in music?
Probably on March 31, 2020 when I joined one of J Balvin livestream on Instagram. He gave me a shoutout without asking, also pronouncing my artist name Jowynalex perfectly.
At that moment I knew that I had reached a level I dreamed and worked so hard for, to have celebrities like him know who I am.
What attracted you to RouteNote as a partner for distribution?
After months of negotiations and talks with distributors, especially those from majors, I came across RouteNote and after speaking with Nicholas Croucher for several weeks I knew I had found the right partner.
RouteNote is a company that makes EEM Records feel welcomed and professional, and also one who is willing to build a long-term solid business relationship.
Do you see most of your streams on one particular platform?
It varies but I do feel that TIDAL is one of the best streaming platforms. It pays the most for streams today and is also the one who has helped EEM Records’ music the most through editorial placements, so we are very grateful for their support.
Do you think running a label would be possible without streaming platforms nowadays?
I think DSPs play a big role in labels’ and distributors’ success. Without them it would truly set things back to as it was decades ago, when the technology was in the process of evolving.
At RouteNote we believe anyone with a talent for music should be able to release songs online and get their tracks heard without barriers. What advice would you give to anyone setting up their own independent label?
One of the most important things is to learn the business and legal side first. Because without that I’ve seen others learn the hard way throughout the years and burn bridges.
It also ruins your reputation as an independent label owner if you don’t know what you’re doing.
What’s the best thing about running a music company?
The best thing about running a music company is building relationships from all over the world, especially those at DSPs, because without them there’s only much you can accomplish on your own.
Where would you like to see EEM Records in five years time?
The goal and mission for EEM Records has always been to become a global independent leader. Our name EEM stands for “Esto Es Mundial” in Spanish which means “This Is Global” in English.
In five years I would love to see us as the number one leading independent label that artists, producers, and songwriters can always rely on as well as trust, and continue welcoming individuals from all over the world, providing them with services to succeed in the music industry.
Want to run your own record label and take control of releasing your music? Sign up to RouteNote. Since 2007 we’ve been helping artists and indie labels to get their music heard, for free.
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