In case you don’t know Gregory Lofton, allow him to introduce himself.
For starters, Lofton is a native Memphis whom, as he tells it, has a fond admiration for the Bluff City.
Indeed he does.
“I love Memphis,” Lofton told longtime journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview.
A 60-year-old jack of all trades, Lofton not only is armed with an array of gifts and talents, but this Memphis Douglas High alum is widely known amongst his peers as one who has a keen passion for music.
An accomplished entertainer, Lofton is the founder and executive producer of Silky International Records, a Mid-South-area venture that has greatly afforded Lofton to put his immense musically-inclined skills and talents on display, thus help others to follow suit.
To his credit, Lofton often deems it necessary to share his vision, of sorts, as a way to inspire others to buy into his purpose — and gifts — by which God has blessed him.
“When Philadelphia International Records closed its doors around 1986, I think my dreams as a recording artist (or group), writer, arranger and producer folded too,” Lofton explained. “Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were the only people on earth that I would have given any control to. After the passing of Leon Huff and the departure of the O’Jays from the label, my dream of one day co-writing and co-arranging music for the them left also. I stopped pursuing my goal at that time. I decided to do a CD of my own for personal reasons and I did.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, despite a few bumps, obstacles, figurative road blocks and hurdles about which he had to clear, Lofton admittedly is steadfastly pursuing his long-awaited dream that seemed a distant memory in recent years.
To his credit, he’s thought it essential to share his passion for music with several prominent figures in the Bluff City, most notably individuals who are affiliated with the city’s sports franchises and programs.
Just recently, Lofton sent what he described as an “informal submission” to new University of Memphis head basketball Coach Tubby Smith through a personal contact, as well to a couple of Memphis Grizzlies front officials.
All he needs, he contends, is just two ears to tune in to his craft, accompanied by at least one resounding “Yes.”
“I wanted the parties to have the full kits,” Lofton said. “Will it make an impact or wind up in the trash is the question. I don’t do uploads unless it is through a direct email to a contact person.”
As for his up-and-coming record labeling, Lofton said his primary emphasis is not on selling music, but rather on licensing.
That, he said, is where the big bucks are generated.
“CDs don’t really sell anymore unless you are selling them at a gig,” Lofton said. “The money is in licensing.”
He has even more proof.
“A good song by an unsigned artist is worth $250,000 per year plus all that is due according to the copyright act under a Master Licensing Agreement,” Lofton said. “You can sell the rights for less but don’t sell out.”
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As he continues to greatly promote his product through the media, Lofton deemed it necessary to pass along some pivotal advice to those who, like him, boast lofty aspirations of getting recognized through their musically-inclined talents.
“Always remember that you wrote the song,” Lofton said. “Don’t put yourself in a position where you have the ear of the whole world and media and you’ve given your music away for 15 minutes of fame and exposure. They get rich and you try to pay your bills using a check with exposure written where a dollar amount should be.”
Well said by one of Memphis’ most talented and skillful up-and-coming entertainers.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, athlete, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.