Cortez Bryant Shifts From Managing Lil Wayne to Learning Lessons From Country Music

Austin Hargrave
Cortez Bryant photographed by Austin Hargrave at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood, California on October 7, 2014.

THE GO-GETTER

This profile is part of Billboard's Oct. 25 cover story package on the launch of Maverick, a new music-management consortium. You can find our full coverage right here.

AGE: 35

TITLE:
  Co-CEO, The Blueprint Group

STAFF
: 12

CITIES:
New York, Los Angeles

COMPANY FOUNDED IN:
2011

KEY ARTISTS:
Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, G-Eazy, T.I. (co-managing with Grand Hustle’s Jason Geter), The Roots and Jill Scott (in partnership with SEFG Entertainment’s Shawn Gee)

ACHIEVEMENT

“During the Drake Vs. Lil Wayne Tour, we implemented a digital app component where fans actually got the chance to interact with the tour. I can’t take all the credit; it’s shared with Wayne and Drake. But it was definitely a groundbreaking move.”

NEW ROLE

“I’m interested in picking Guy Oseary’s brain as to how the hell he put U2’s album on every single iPhone. And the things that Jason Aldean is doing in country? I have no clue about the country music space. I just know they sell a lot of records and have a great loyal fan base. So I’m very interested in tuning in to the country music world.”

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NEW ERA

Bryant compares the consortium to his favorite cartoon show growing up, Voltron. The show’s premise: Different robots come together to make one gigantic superhero. “Gee [Roberson] and I have always been team players, always about synergies and working with different people. Coming together with some of the elite managers in the business — all on one accord to shell out knowledge and help our clients achieve greater heights — I’m always down for that.”

MAJOR CHALLENGE

“The shift as to how consumers are getting music. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve, honing and building relationships to make sure we’re in tune with the tech world because that’s where music is going. We have to make sure we’re innovative in that sector.”

SIGN OF THE TIMES

“I may be the youngest guy on board here, I’m not sure. But my No. 1 goal has always been to help my artists pursue and fulfill their dreams. I was Wayne’s first manager; he brought me on because he wanted more control over his career. And when I partnered with Gee, our philosophy was to build an in-house team to control our own destiny. I’m looking forward to getting more insight from the others here about getting to the top with their clients and the issues they’ve endured over the years.”

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KEY LESSON

“Failure has taught me to appreciate the things I do have. When I’ve been at rock bottom, I’ve been in a more thankful space because I know it could have been way worse. It gave me a bigger perspective on appreciating the little things. And understanding that I can get back up.”

IF I WASN’T A MUSIC MANAGER...

“A history teacher. Teaching is my passion. I’m glad this music platform has allowed me to give back and influence our younger ­generation.”

MYSELF, IN FIVE WORDS (OR LESS)

“Hardworking, spiritually grounded, go-getter.”

MEET THE MAVERICKS: Guy Oseary | Cortez Bryant | Caron Veazey | Ron Laffitte | Adam Leber | Gee Roberson | Scott Rodger | Larry Rudolph | Clarence Spalding

This article first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of Billboard.