Center for Entrepreneurship

Hofstra University Student-Run Record Label: Unispan Records

Applications for Spring 2021- Fall 2021 will open to all students on September 30, 2020 and are due on December 1, 2020. Limited spots are available so apply now.

Hofstra University's Unispan Records is open for business and will be hiring new staff for Spring 2021 through Fall 2021. The CEO is Sharon Goldsmith Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship and Business Development.

Students will be mentored by top music industry professionals, attend mandatory workshops, and commercialize music over the course of two semesters. The previous four student cohorts signed the following artists:

  • IzzeYe, a hip-hop artist and Hofstra alumnus. Students worked on his first Extended Play (EP) record, “Illusions,” which was released on all major streaming services in October 2017. IzzeYe was one of the opening acts for Lil Wayne at Hofstra's Fall Festival 2017.
  • Hofstra graduate KarmaRé was signed in Spring of 2018. KarmaRé is a pop singer- songwriter who has performed in venues from NYC to the east end of Long Island. Her EP titled “Moodring” was released in April of 2019 and she was recently one of the opening acts for Flo Rida at Hofstra’s Fall Festival 2019.
  • Rian Wyld, a classically trained pianist who combines classic R&B with Hip Hop, was signed in Spring 2019. Wyld released two singles, “Becoming” and “A Lot On My Mind,” both available on all major streaming services worldwide.

In Spring 2021-Fall 2021, the staff will continue to produce, market, promote and distribute new music from Rian Wyld and sign a new artist virtually.

Below are the departments and volunteer positions we are hiring for:

Submit Your Application

A&R (Artist and Repertoire)
artist and song solicitation, reviewing submissions, assessment and selection, and artist development.

Required: Pro Tools knowledge, knowledge of the recording process, ear for music, passion for music, knowledge of song structure
Preferred: Ability to read and/or play music (Music or Music Merchandising/Music Business major or minor)

Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity
developing marketing plans, tools, budgets, and schedules

Required: completion of relevant courses, excellent with Excel, strong communication skills (both written and spoken), outgoing personality
Preferred: Major or minor in Public Relations or Marketing, completed RTVF21

Radio
song selection and solicitation by genre, creation of a promotional ad campaign.

Required: prior or current experience working with WRHU-88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University, knowledge of internet radio platforms and streaming platforms, outgoing personality
Preferred:  Radio production or marketing experience

Creative Services
design of album logo and concept, album cover and marketing materials.

Required: Adobe Photoshop, artistic, knowledge of branding
Preferred:  Previous internship in graphic design, Fine Arts Major or Minor

Internet and New Media
design and maintain record label website, creation of online marketing materials and campaigns, social media plans, development of games or apps.

Required: ability to design and build a website, knowledge of social media marketing strategies, SEO, active on social media, knowledge of audience building
Preferred:  Ability to code

Distribution / Sales
determine where and how the project will be sold.

Required: desire to cause disruption in the music industry, highly organized and dedicated to meeting goals, excellent math skills
Preferred:  Accounting or Finance major/minor

Artist Management
The direct liaison between the label and the artist, informs the artist of all the label demands and vice versa. Ensure that the artist can focus solely on the creative process by managing all business aspects of the artist’s career, including live performances, interviews and photoshoots. Book and supervise live events and public appearances to help the artist build their public presence and gain exposure

Required: Willingness to work as hard or harder than the artist to achieve goals, ability to create new business opportunities, knowledge of staying on brand and how brand extension works, knowledge of live performance productions
Preferred:  Experience managing an artist or working at a venue

Project Management
oversight for all departments, set dates for deliverables.

Required: ability to multi-task, hold people accountable, set expectations, create benchmarks and prepare reports
Preferred:  Experience in a management position, or as an administrative assistant



Dré McKenzie

Dré McKenzie

Dré McKenzie is a highly experienced negotiator with a keen understanding of creative and business deal dynamics, intimately familiar with pop culture trends. He has discovered, developed, and marketed raw musical talent that proceeded to climb worldwide charts, and has built an extensive professional network within the music entertainment space.

Dré is known for his passion for people and partnerships, and focus on achievement.  He has built a track record of discovering and shaping performing artists and entertainment companies through the creation and execution of effective, timely, and economical strategy, from conception to completion, creating substantive, meaningful results.  Some of the artists Dré has worked with, and projects he has worked on, include: Beyonce, Destiny's Child, Lil' Wayne, Lauryn Hill, Kanye West, John Legend, Nas, 50 Cent, Jennifer Lopez, Erika Badu, Xzibit, Lyfe Jennings, Amerie, Cash Money Millionaires, Juvenile, Hot Boys, Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J, Lil' Flip, Kidd Kidd, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, The Lost Boys, and Matisyahu.

His work is deeply rooted in identifying the greatest good for both his own team as well as his partners, meticulous research, analysis, intelligent strategy, and thorough, persistent execution.  Dré is currently CEO of AXIA Music Group, a nascent company using predictive analytics to identify the most promising talent around the world.

Angel Martinez

Angel Martinez

A Bronx native and veteran on the New York hip-hop scene, Angel Martinez is a highly sought after consultant, advisor and marketing specialist in the entertainment industry. Angel’s favorite quote is a great indicator of his tenacious personality: “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” – Chinese Proverb.

Mr. Martinez began his career as an intern at Sony working in the IT and radio promotions departments. After a year of successfully juggling his studies and his role at Sony, Angel broadened his experience by accepting an internship at Interscope Records in the Artists and Repertoire (A&R) division, which eventually led to his promotion to Marketing Coordinator at Interscope.

Following his time at Interscope, the eager entrepreneur accepted an internship that once again led to a permanent role as Product Manager at G-Unit Records. Working with high profile clients such as: Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, DJ Whoo Kid, Rotimi and Young Buck.  As a product manager, Mr. Martinez tackled multiple roles outside of music.  Focused on Mr. Jackson’s empire this included: boxing, books, film, television, vodka and clothing.

After his years at G-Unit Records, Angel joined Def Jam as a Project Manager in 2017 working on major releases for Jeezy, 2 ChainzDesiignerPvrxPayroll & Cardo, and Pusha-T.  After his 1st year at Def Jam, Mr. Martinez was offered a position as a Senior Director of Marketing at Asylum / WMG where he currently working on developing new artist and building the brand.

Rigo "Riggs" Morales

Rigo Morales

Music is not an occupation for Riggs Morales—it is a lifestyle. For over 15 years, Riggs has been a fixture in urban and hip-hop music. First as a renowned music journalist documenting the culture for publications like The Source, XXL, Vibe and Fader, and later as a reputable music executive overseeing records to the tune of 28 million in sales.

Riggs Morales is now Vice President of A&R and Artist Development at Atlantic Records where he works with artist such as Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Janelle Monae and Hamilton, the ground breaking soundtrack to the hit Broadway musical.

In 2015 Riggs signed and produced Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Album with Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright, Lin-Manuel Miranda. The recently certified platinum album won a 2016 Grammy award for Best Musical, a Tony Award for Best Original Score and is the only cast album to ever debut number one on Billboard’s Rap Charts.

With an ability to foresee potential and a keen tastemaker sensibility, Riggs penchant for spotting talent was cultivated during his tenure as a music editor at The Source magazine. Between 1995 and 2001, Riggs wrote and edited innovative stories while overseeing columns such as Lyrics of the Month, Independent’s Day and The Unsigned Hype where he discovered young acts such as David Banner, Kardinal Official, Juelz Santana and most notability, Eminem.

Riggs transitioned to the executive side of the music business in 2000 as a producer manager at Goliath Artists, Inc. and simultaneously taking on A&R duties for Eminem’s Shady Records, where he championed the signing of 50 Cent. The signing resulted in multi-platinum classic, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and solidified Shady Records as a powerhouse rap label of its generation. During his 12 years as Vice President of A&R for Shady Records, Riggs worked on all of the label’s prominent releases including:

50 Cent - Get Rich or Die Tryin (10X Platinum), Eminem – Recovery (7 x Platinum), 8 Mile - Movie Soundtrack (4X Platinum), D12 - D12 World (2X Platinum), Obie Trice - Cheers (1.3 Platinum), 50 Cent - The Massacre (6 x Platinum), Eminem Presents: The Re-Up. (1.3x Platinum), 50Cent – Curtis (Platinum), Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel (Gold)

In January 2004, Riggs founded The Monday Night Fight Klub (“MNFK”), an exclusive rap battle event that pinned some of the world’s best unsigned rappers against each other in a lucrative verbal competition. MNFK became the most talked-about venue for unsigned talent and was later developed into a series for MTV.

Riggs won 2011 Grammy acknowledgment for his A&R work on Eminem’s comeback album, Recovery, where secured the smash single, “Love The Way You Lie” featuring Rhianna amongst others. His follow up project, Bad Meets Evil, debuted at number one on The Billboard charts and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Riggs lastly provided Eminem with latest number 1 hit, “Monster” featuring Rhianna, before departing to Atlantic Records in 2014.

He has consulted for corporations such as Pepsi Inc., Sony Records, Adidas, B.E.T and has served as onair correspondent for MTV, VH1 and MSNBC.

Andre Morris

Andre Morris

In 2010, Andre Morris, launched Varran Media LLC which at the time, represented the roster of G-Unit and G-Note records in New York, NY. Rapper and mogul, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson created G-Unit as a rap label and G-Note as the pop, dance, and R&B division. In 2012, Varran Media LLC soon signed International Latin artist, Lucenzo. Lucenzo is the writer and artist behind the mega-hit, "Danza Kuduro." Beginning June 2015, Varran Media began working with the premiere drag queens from the hit show, "RuPaul's Drag Race," including Alaska 5000, former "American Idol" star/drag star, Adore Delano, and season winner, Sharon Needles. Varran Media now represent Producer Entertainment Group and its roster.

Prior to 2010, Andre worked as a Media Manager, with Sony Music Entertainment where he created and implemented innovative campaigns for pop, hip-hop, gospel and R&B artists including Terrence Howard, The Naked Brothers Band (Nickelodeon), and Bow Wow. He maintained solid media contacts in a variety of genres including mainstream, rap, gospel, fashion, sports and lifestyle publications and television outlets. Andre also worked closely on John Legend, Beyonce, Prince, and additional Columbia Records artist projects.

Vanessa Satten

Vanessa Satten

Vanessa Satten has held the title of Editor-in-Chief at XXL Magazine for over the past six years, significantly contributing to the publication becoming the most respected and bestselling urban music magazine in the nation. Satten’s undeniable expertise, passion for the hip-hop culture, and widespread influence, have all garnered her unprecedented respect and success as XXL Magazine’s first ever female Editor-in-Chief.

Raised in Manhattan and upstate New York, Satten always had a love for hip-hop and grew up listening to the likes of 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang and more. She discovered her knack for journalism as an intern at XXL Magazine in 1998 – the publication’s second year of existence – and would eventually work her way up the ranks, holding numerous titles including executive editor and deputy editor. As a fan of the massive Cash Money movement happening down south in the late '90s, Satten was influential in scoring XXL its Hot Boys cover story and later snagging the first interview with Juvenile after he controversially left Cash Money Records.

Satten would go on to personally interview 2Pac's mother Afeni Shakur at her home on the eve of the 7th anniversary of his death—a date many speculated would be the resurrection of the rap superstar. In a daring move that would ultimately sell thousands of copies, Satten and her boss at the time, released an XXL cover featuring the Afeni reenacting a famous Tupac pose and wearing his jewelry.

Never afraid of pushing the envelope within the hip-hop culture, Satten was a founder of XXL’s now famous annual Freshman Class cover in 2007. Since its inception, Satten has been at the helm discovering, selecting, interviewing and producing the class editorial features and cover photo shoots every year. The successful Freshman Class covers have helped launch notable careers for most all of its members including Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa and many more.

After racking up an incredible list of outstanding achievements at XXL, Satten would take over as Editor-in-Chief in 2009. As the first female Editor-in-Chief of the publication, Satten wasted no time in continuing to build the magazine’s legacy as a leader in the urban print industry. She’s interviewed or worked with the biggest names in hip-hop including Eminem, Drake, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar and many more. Satten has also overseen the production of XXL's annual Freshmen Class since it launched in 2008.

Her genuine love for hip-hop coupled with her contagious passion to contribute to the growth of the culture, sets her apart in the industry. “I believe in journalism and doing things right," says Satten. "Who’s going to write these stories the way they used to be done. We’re not bloggers, we’re journalists. It has a lot to do with seeing what we used to love about hip-hop, in this new generation of artists." Respected by everyone from A-list producers and artists to high level executives and label heads, Vanessa Satten has humbly raised the bar for urban publications looking to stay relevant in an ever-evolving, social media driven, digital society.

Leota Blacknor

Leota Blacknor

From Marley Marl to Sean “Diddy” Combs to Notorious B.I.G. to 50 Cent to Freeway, Leota Blacknor is an accomplished music executive with over 25 years in the entertainment industry. Starting as an executive assistant at a production company to her current role as a Senior Vice President of Marketing at Roc Nation, Ms. Blacknor has built her career in a wide-variety of roles working with some of the most successful artists in urban music.

As an Executive Assistant to Sean “Diddy” Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment, Ms. Blacknor was responsible for the day-to-day functions of the CEO’s fast-pace office. She worked closely with multi-platinum record releases for Notorious B.I.G., Faith, Mase, Total and 112. Diddy later promoted her to Senior Director of Administration serving as chief liaison between Bad Boy Entertainment and venture partner Arista Records. As Senior Director, Blacknor assisted in the launching of his non-profit organization: Daddy’s House Social Programs, Daddy’s House Recording Studio and Justin’s Restaurant.

Ms. Blacknor served as General Manager of Ruff Ryders and was ultimately responsible for the marketplace success of multi-platinum and platinum recording artists such as DMX, Eve, Drag-On and the LOX. Her efforts have included innovative partnerships that include unique and first time ever programs through channels such as MTV, Foot Action USA and Remy Martin. Ms. Blacknor proposed and fostered a successful partnership with MTV and Ruff Ryders to launch Eve's sophomore album, Scorpion . This marked the first time that the music channel partnered with a hip-hop label through advertisements, a televised album release party, co-op marketing and financial support of a rap album which led to the success of the Scorpion album project.

Continuing to rise in the music industry ranks, Ms. Blacknor became Vice President of Urban Label Acquisition & Marketing at Caroline/Capitol Records. Her tenacity and drive led to the success of multi-platinum artist album releases for 50 Cent & G-Unit, Tyrese, Johnny Gill, Vivian Green, Chrisette Michele, Damian Marley, Raekwon and many more. Ms. Blacknor has successfully negotiated deals and implemented marketing strategies, where she was responsible for 14% of Caroline’s market share growth in 2014 and $6.4 million in net sales, in 2015. Part of that year’s success was defined by the core of Caroline’s R&B artists nomination for Soul Train Music Awards.

Ms. Blacknor remains one of the most sought-out music executives in the industry and has gained a reputation as a skillful listener and a firm but tactful communicator who gets to the heart of problems through incisive and thorough analysis. As Senior Vice President of Marketing at Roc Nation, she was responsible for overseeing the marketing launch for various developing artists and was instrumental in the artist development and budget planning.

Ms. Blacknor has also brought her in-depth knowledge of the entertainment industry to the classroom, and was an adjunct professor for the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music within the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. Additionally, she created Biz-Muzic, a seminar program which provides participants with an in-depth, tactical and behind-the-scenes look at the role of a record company in the music industry.

She has been recognized for her various accomplishments highlighted in several magazines (Source, Vibe, etc.) and her participation as a panelist on various music industry panel discussions. Most recently, Blacknor will be featured in the September issue of “Amazing Women” (Forbes.com). A native of New York City, Ms. Blacknor graduated from Syracuse University with a major in Speech Communication and minor in English & Textual Studies and studied Journalism in London via SU’s Abroad Program. She was also a member of the Communications Committee at Autism Speaks.

Patrick Viala

Patrick Viala

Patrick Viala is a Grammy Award winning mix engineer based in New York City. In over 19 years as a professional in the recording industry, Pat has built an impressive discography featuring iconic artists such as Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, P Diddy, Pharrel, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, and the list goes on.

Growing up in the streets of Queens NY, Patrick’s love affair with music began with two turntables and a microphone. Throughout high school, he could be found moving the crowd with a mix of Hip Hop, R&B, and Reggae. The few bucks he earned as a Dj, was enough to make him pursue a career in music production. After enrolling in Five Towns College in the fall of 1995, Patrick began to develop an ear for refining music on a professional level while studying Music and Audio Engineering. The summer of 1996 marked his entrance to the music business with an internship at the infamous Quad Recording Studios in Times Square. Pairing a world class ear with the ability to communicate with the most difficult of artists, made him highly requested at an early stage in his career.

Case, DMX, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Ja Rule were among the superstars he was able to make history with in his first year, which ended with winning the Grammy for Best Comedy Album alongside Chris Rock. !After leaving Quad in 1998 to become a freelance engineer, things quickly escalated. By establishing working relationships with producers such as Irv Gotti, Rocwilder, Swizz Beats, The Neptunes and Sha Money XL, he was able to make major contributions in Hip Hop as a world class mix engineer for years to come.

Patrick has taken his talents to London, Paris, Dubai, Jamaica, Japan, Canada, and every corner of the U.S, providing mixes to artists of all genres with a care and professionalism that is rarely found in music today, to the total of over 180 million records sold worldwide.