Mathew Knowles may be best known as dad to Beyoncé and Solange, and father-in-law to Jay-Z, but there is a lot more to this record executive, talent manager, and businessman.
He launched his music company, Music World Entertainment, in 1992. Of course, its most notable product has been Destiny’s Child. Under Music World Artist Management, Destiny’s Child became a top-selling group, winning several awards include the Grammy, the American Music Award, several BET Awards, and many others. Billboard magazine inducted the group into the All Time Hot 100 Artists.
When Beyoncé left the group, Knowles managed the solo careers of the other members of Destiny’s Child — Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland — and introduced the world to his younger daughter, Solange.
He also expanded Music World Entertainment, establishing several recording imprints under its umbrella (Music World Gospel, Music World Kids, and Music World Country) as joint ventures with Sony Music, Interscope/Geffen/A&M, and Universal, to name a few.
This month, Dr. Mathew Knowles is celebrating more than 25 years of bringing music to life. We spoke with him from his Houston home.
Was it easier to launch a band back in the day when you introduced Destiny’s Child to the world?
Competition was much better and greater then than it is today. Both artist and team had to be on top of their game. I think it is much easier to launch a new group today because of social media, streaming and the ease of getting information out. However, you still need a great final product.
You mean a great album?
Yes. Artistry has not changed. The need for artist development has not changed. What has changed is promotions, publicity, sales and the need for a new media approach to marketing.
25 years later, did you imagine you’d still be in the music industry?
Yes, because I have a real passion for the music industry.
Where do you see the music industry heading?
I think the greatest growth in the industry will come from Africa so at Music World Entertainment, we are working with our new Afro Pop artist, Demola. His first single and music video is “Light Up”.
Is your focus on the R&B genre?
No, we have group’s like Dylan & Alice, our first modern rock band. Their first single/video, ”Lonely Hunter,” is out now. In the wings, we have our rap artist Louie B.
How would you define your life’s purpose today?
To educate and to motivate.
In addition to being a music executive, you’re an author.
The books I’ve authored are The DNA of Achievers, Racism From the Eyes of a Child and The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music.
You also teach on music entrepreneurship.
Some of the graduate school courses I teach on are Introduction to the Music Industry, Artist Management, Entrepreneurship 101 and Media Entrepreneurship. I’m not in the classroom currently, but I am on the lecture circuit. I will be speaking soon at Cornell, University of Cape Town, Prairie View A&M, Alabama A&M and Harvard.
As someone who works closely with young America, are you optimistic that today’s youth will be ready to take on a new America?
Yes, I am extremely optimistic. The one valuable tool that our youth have today is technology and the ability to reach millions with the click of a button.
What do you count as your greatest accomplishment?
The success of Solange and Beyoncé, the impact they have made on the world, and the fact that they are good mothers.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Good health! This year, we also hope to launch a special revised edition of Racism From the Eyes of a Child and Destiny’s Child: The Untold Story.
By Jay Roost
Photo Credit: Music World Entertainment.