Damon D (Damon W. Stewart)
Damon D (Damon W. Stewart) grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois called Des Plaines. At the young age of 6, Damon really took a liking to music. While listening to such groups like Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Posion, Def Leopard, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson and the whole 80’s & Mo-Town movement as well as the early Z95, Damon was inspired to learn how to play the drums. His parents were not able to afford drums so Damon created music by pounding/tapping on his desk and humming while in class. "I remember being in grade school tapping on the desk with a pencil, and pounding my fist like a bass drum and humming a melody while the teacher was talking. I could not help it. All I wanted to do was make music! I could not wait to go to recess so I could sing one of my new songs to the other kids on the playground. My favorite was going to music class twice a week and making up my own versions to the songs we sang as a class. At first I did it as a joke, but when I realized the whole class was singing my versions of the song I was like WOW, so I got hooked."
Damon knew that he had a gift early on when he could recall, recite, and interpret entire songs’ musical elements and lyrics. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have created a record and made “Damon D” a household name. It is one of my goals to one day bring that dream back to life.” Damon's teachers thought that this “idea” was a distraction, not a gift. Knowing nothing about the "Music Industry" Damon started creating and writing songs. This was his way of releasing his feelings and thoughts. In Junior High, Damon got involved in the Chicago House/Dance Music movement and started creating mix tapes. While in high school music took over his life all he wanted to do was mix records, draw, and write songs. He was intrigued by the sounds of such artists as KRS One, LL Cool J, Mobb Deep, Run DMC, Public Enemy, The Lost Boyz, Naughty By Nature, NWA, Metallica, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Third Eye Blind, The Wall Flowers, Tom Petty, U2, Eazy E, Dr. Dre, Scarface, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Master P, Notorious B.I.G, 2pac, and many others.
Damon went to college at Sothern Illinois University in Carbondale targeting a degree in Secondary Special Education. His primary focus was to help children who were less fortunate through multi-media and music. His goal was to show children that using music, art, and media was a form of expression that allows you to explain who you are and what you are feeling through a non-verbal medium. After several years at SIUC he decided to move on and completed his degree at Illinois State University. While student teaching Damon created a customized track of the civil war for his students by sampling the theme song from the motion picture Glory. He realized right away that his passion for music was the missing link in his life. While student teaching Damon enrolled into a music business course and was immediately asked by the professor to go to Nashville and meet with the top executives of many major record companies and publishing companies about his music motivated ideas. While in Nashville, Damon learned about the music/record business. From that moment on Damon put 150% of his energy towards breaking into a business which was not considered a "safe" or "accepted" career path from his family, teachers, and friends.
In 2002, after many sleepless nights, countless phone calls, emails, follow ups, and lots of hard work, Damon landed an unpaid internship with Interscope Records in Santa Monica, CA. At Interscope he was taught the fundamentals of the music business. Interscope Records is where Damon learned that he had the ability and the gift of a unique A&R ear. "When I listen to a record, I automatically ask myself is this record a hit, if not what can I do to make it one? If I am in the club or just vibing in my car do I want to hear this song over and over? If the answer is no then I know the public is not going to embrace the song. If the answer is yes then we have something." Damon is very critical and very opinionated when it comes to the music he chooses to work with. He wants the best music – period! Interscope recognized these qualities and he was offered a position from the label to be a Midwest Regional Talent Scout.
In 2004, Icee Records brought Damon on board as their Director of Talent. He was offered the Executive Vice President of Urban Music position three months later. “I was responsible for artist development, A&R, radio/video promotion, business affairs, legal affairs, production, strategic marketing, new media, and sales. Basically at Icee I learned how to run a record company effectively." His first project at Icee Records was an artist by the name of White Boy. “White Boy won the Chicago Idol, which was arranged with us and WGCI to have an upcoming producer by the name of ‘Kanye West’ produce the first song for the winner! While in LA, Kanye wanted a soulful singer to sing the hook on the song. So we flew in a singer by the name of John Stephens to sing the hook for the song ‘U Know’. Soon afterwards, John Stephens released a single called ‘Ordinary People’. You will know him by his stage name - John Legend!” Besides working with the classic single “U Know” Damon also assisted in breaking one the biggest records of the year by artist Dr. Charles G. Hayes & the Warriors called “Jesus Can Work It Out” aka “Work It Out!” featuring Dianne Williams.
Damon was tapped by industry heavy weight Jazzy Jordan of Jordan Entertainment Group/Koch in 2007 to be their new VP of Radio Promotion. Damon was responsible for all Urban, Gospel, and Urban Inspirational radio promotion. Four months later, Damon was promoted to GM. As the GM of Jordan Entertainment Group Damon was responsible for everything from publishing, licensing, video, sales, news media, marketing, A&R, and putting out records when the general public demands it. In 2007, while at JEG/Koch, Damon also picked up duties from Urban Hip Hop label ABB RECORDS/EMI to be their new Director of Radio Promotion & A&R. After displaying a dedication to working records effectively to urban/gospel radio the Zomba Label Group contacted him to work Marvin Sapp’s “Never Would Have Made It” to Urban and Urban AC radio. The record swiftly climbed up to #1 on Urban AC and Top 40 on the Urban chart. “Never Would of Have Made It” is the longest running #1 single across all genres since the inception of BDS! Today Damon continues to assist RCA Inspiration as one of their main independents and has assisted in the promotion efforts for Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp, RiZen, Deitrick Haddon, Israel Houghton, Richard Smallwood, and Kurt Carr. Radio & Records (R&R) awarded Damon in 2008-2009 a nomination for Label Promotion Executive of the Year. As you can imagine 2008 was a busy year for”D”. He started – the new Urban/Pop Entertainment Company : “IGA Talent Mgmt & Consulting, Inc".
To learn more about my company - IGA, click on the ABOUT IGA page.
Damon is available for speaking engagements as well as panel discussions and seminars. If this is of interest to you, please reference the CONTACT page. Due to heavy volume only serious inquiries please.
R&R’s 2008-2009 Label Promotion Executive of the Year Nominee
Damon “D” Stewart