*Who knew that a young girl from a small town in Texas – population 3000 – would be able to predict pop-culture future.
Over the past 10 years matrix president, Jennifer Horton has managed, launched and consulted, some of the hottest talents in the entertainment business.
An entertainment talent and brand management company matrix specializes in consulting, business development and production in television, music and film.
Don’t be mistaken, there’s never a dull moment when you’re working with talents such as Chris Brown, hip hop trio The Rej3ctz, and producers FKi (1st & Saucelord Rich). EURweb.com associate Tanisha Quilter-Williams caught up with the girl behind the matrix to talk about her Hollywood shuffle.
Growing up an only child, Horton was encouraged by her parents her to follow her curiosity. She took piano lessons, dance classes, played the clarinet and taught herself on the flute. Her parents were fans of classical music and Horton would often accompany them to the symphony which influenced her musically-diverse background early on. Horton enjoyed being involved in a variety of activities, so it was no surprise when she decided to take a break from her academia grind at Columbia University to head for the bright lights of Hollywood over her summer hiatus.
“I took a friend’s suggestion to take a break and explore Los Angeles, and just went with it. Within a week I started feeling restless, so I looked up talent agencies in Backstage West and sent my resume over blindly,” Horton reminisces. “When I didn’t hear back I decided to just show up.”
And show up she did. Horton pitched herself to her second stop and landed an internship at the Kazarian/Spencer & Associates (KSA) agency, which quickly led her to the newly launched Clear Talent Group agency. At Clear Talent Group, Horton learned the talent representation business from the ground up. There she worked on music videos and world tours with iconic artists such as Madonna, Paul McCartney, and Justin Timberlake. Over the course of four years, Horton would become the youngest agent in the company. She credits staying ahead of trends as her trade secret.
“That’s how I got ahead. At the time, the urban dance world was very competitive and our agency wasn’t a part of that. I started seeing these high-level music videos coming out of Atlanta from Usher and Ciara and this caught my interest. I started paying attention to the talent behind-the-scenes,” Horton reveals. “I thought, ‘what if I could represent all of these people in this video? That would give me a huge edge.’ ”
Her foresight not only gave her the edge she sought, but she also earned a well-deserved promotion to Director of Strategic Alliances. When Horton decided to leave the structure of the fast-paced agency behind, she joined the startup management/production company 11-16 Entertainment as Vice President of Talent Management.
“In a startup, you’re literally creating from scratch,” Horton shares. “I had to learn quickly to set goals and check my own progress. You have to do that. If you don’t do that every single day with passion, then you will get nowhere.”
Horton was going somewhere and fast and caught the attention of multi-platinum artist Ciara. Ciara’s goal was to integrate dance further into her brand; after meeting Horton, she chose her to consult on new ventures during her third album “Fantasy Ride.”
“This was the first time I was asked to consult with someone. I didn’t know exactly what it would entail, but was confident that I could deliver. I learned a lot about interfacing with teams, and it was a great opportunity.” Horton says proudly.
Working with Ciara would be a turning point for Horton and the inspiration for matrix artists. Working alongside hip hop icon Lil Kim, Young Money singer/songwriter Shanell, teen sensation Jordan Francis, and personality Amber Rose was par for the course. Her biggest challenge was breaking matrix artis ts rap trio The Rej3ctz single “Cat Daddy.” Horton remembers those days fondly.
“Making decisions at a moment’s notice in the early stages was challenging. We had to plug away every day, because breaking a record requires perseverance,” Horton advises. “We had to be prepared to operate on the fly all the time. The best thing is their dedication earned them a Gold record and “Cat Daddy” earned a place in pop culture history.”
On a professional high, Horton continued her winning streak and decided to combine her production and touring expertise into her business model. Horton and her team have created music and brand integrated content for companies such as Samsung, Converse, Princess Cruises and Six Flags through her newly launched matrix pro duct ion division. In an effort to take advantage of her thriving business, Horton expanded her tour production business via matrix to uring division with longtime clients Creative Director / Choreographer Sakinah Lestage (Ne-Yo, Austin Mahone, Martina McBride) and Music Director / Producer Gil Smith II (Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj). It’s clear that Horton has no plans of slowing down.
“We have a lot of exciting projects coming up. We are working with Chris Brown on his next album. Currently, we are working on several major deals for FKi, the team that produced songs for artists from T.I. to Iggy Azalea to newcomer Post Malone. We also have an ongoing relationship with leading K-Pop label YG Entertainment,” Horton exclaims. “We are on the move.”
Horton and her matrix team have definitely learned to maneuver through the Hollywood maze. For anyone interested in getting into the business, Horton says it’s better to work at a smaller company and make sure you learn everything you can from A to Z.
“Also, zero in on a specialty and hone that. If you have a specialty you will always be able to bring that expertise to the table and that can set you apart from other managers.”
It’s a wrap. matrix is in position.
You want to learn more about [matrix]? Check out their website at www.jrhentertainment.com. Stay in touch with [matrix] president Jennifer Horton on Twitter (@jenniferjrh), LinkedIn or Instagram (@jenniferjrh).
Interview and article by Tanisha Quilter-Williams, freelance writer/journalist, screenwriter, social media strategist and author. Check out her website www.writeorgohome.com or follow her on Twitter @renaissancwoman