You may see her touring with Kem in London, planning an event for Ledisi in Berlin or working with some of the top hip-hop artists in South Africa. When it comes to international marketing and promotions, Ms. Vivian Scott Chew is a citizen of the world who knows what it takes to create a successful career jumping between continents. So far this year, Ms. Scott Chew and her company Time Zone International co-promoted a show at London’s Bush Hall for Atlanta artist PJ Morton, attended the eleventh MIDEM Conference in Cannes and secured an international deal for BeBe and CeCe Winans’ newest project.
For our inaugural MAVEN interview, a new series saluting amazing women who inspire us by breaking barriers and making all the right moves, Parlour sat down with Ms. Chew to catch a glimpse of her career and what it takes to succeed in international marketing, management and promotions. Here is part one of our two-part interview, enjoy.
Parlour: After working in the music business for several years Stateside, what led you to move into the international market?
Vivian Scott Chew: It all started 11 years ago when I was running the Urban Music department at Epic Records. It became apparent that nobody was or [there was a lack of] focus on how urban artists can sell records globally. I decided as I was going into my 40th year at that time that I was not going to do anything that I did not have a passion for and that I did not love. I love to travel and I love music so I needed to figure out how I could fuse the two. I had a boss by the name of Hank Caldwell who hired me at Epic and basically gave me a lot of free reign. He was like, ‘Whatever you want this job to be, I’m here to support you.’
One of the battles was that there was an issue with the urban music department not understanding what the international [market] needed and the international [market] not understanding how the urban department rolls. There needed to be somebody who could fuse the two and under the present contract that I had [with Epic] as an A&R person I was allowed to do that. It was from me being allowed to travel and get involved in how we can help the international dept. in selling our records that I got a taste for what I could possibly do with the prototype of [what] my company would be once I had decided I didn’t want to be in corporate anymore. That’s how Time Zone evolved.
Tell us more about the beginning stages of starting your company Time Zone International.
It started out originally as purely doing marketing and promotions services for US artists on a very grassroots level and I had a partner at that time, a lovely man by the name of Sol Guy who came out of the BMG system and we were able merge our resources and identify tastemakers around the world who could help us to do this grassroots marketing and promotions thing. That idea really has evolved into that being the first thing we do and then [we noticed] that [some] artists weren’t big enough to have agents so we had to become agents and put together little mini-tours as a way to expose [the artist] in our marketing and promotions efforts. So we got into the touring business and then from there we found out that these same acts, that needed exposure, that needed to tour, didn’t have deals so we got into the international licensing distribution business. So, we now do all three and we have done it with a variety of different artists not only mainstream and major label artists like Jill Scott, Brain McKnight and India.Arie, but also independent artists like Ledisi before she was signed, Raphael Saadiq when he was doing it on his own; you know artists like that who had very little resources. It allowed us to get very gritty.