Verse and Hook, a Detroit-founded creative agency, has been selected as one of a few inaugural fellows for the American Association of Independent Music’s first annual Black Independent Music Accelerator, an initiative to uplift Black voices in the independent music community.
Detroit natives and founders of Verse and Hook, Jay Norm and Miso Brown, were awarded a membership with A2IM as they help upcoming artists get to the next step of their careers.
Four years ago, Norm and Brown started Verse and Hook to expand artists’ opportunities in music with brands they’d never thought about collaborating with.
“From starting with just placing an artist’s song in an ad to actually flying artists out of the country to be featured in advertisements as kind of key influencers in things, then helping craft those stories to put that artistry in its best light,” Norm says. “I think part of what we wanted to do was just not only help people who make music, who do entertaining things from comedians and actors and all of that find new opportunities in the marketplace, but also to create authentic stories around those opportunities.”
Brown says the benefit of being in BIMA is the opportunity to be a part of a network to create inroads with other artists. They have taken artists’ music from a hobby level to being able to make them a brand in the marketplace in Detroit and nationally.
“Being a part of A2IM and BIMA allows us to tap into a network that is vocal,” Brown says. “It gives us support for them to tour in the future, merchandise, and other licensing opportunities. It’s a great resource for exponential growth for independent artists and industry work.”
Norm says they have not only wanted to help artists similar to him and Brown, but they also wanted to help brands make better connections with communities. He says unless an artist or brand has major commercial success, making a living off creativity can be difficult.
“Me and Miso both met very early in our careers,” Norm says. “He was working with Sony at the time, doing a lot of promotions and management for some of their acts in the Midwest and beyond. I was a music producer very early on in this and a songwriter just recently signed to BMG Chrysalis. Working on a bunch of independent acts and through that process and years of us knowing each other and working through music, we both saw there was a big hole in how people who were creatives, got paid.”
Norm says that since they’ve started Verse and Hook, they were also able to grow in their personal careers culturally and creatively.
“Through that (Verse and Hook), we were kind of able to pivot what we were doing in music to also connect those creators who needed more authentic connections to the communities in which they were trying to target,” Norm says. “My day job as a creative director for large agencies and big brands in the entertainment space allows us to kind of connect what Miso’s experience was in music to all types of clientele.”
Brown began with a promotions and marketing internship with Metro Times. He says he then went to Universal to work as an intern, where he received more networking and exposure, then worked at Sony for six to seven years. This led to working with Norm and working with brands on a more personal level.
“It’s been going really well at Verse and Hook as a creative company that is supporting the young artistry and just creative, talented people from the city,” Brown says. “Like with our Pepsi initiative, we’re hoping to do more in the future.”
Norm and Brown have also contributed to music and advertisements with Pepsi, Jeep, Youtube Music, Paypal, and Bacardi. They say they have benefitted many independent artists with these ads.
“It’s really all about fostering that collaborative spirit,” Brown says. “You need musicians in the region, as well as making us as Detroit creatives look like, ‘yo, Detroit is the place to be when it comes to music.’”
Since becoming members of A2IM, Norm and Brown have acquired many goals for artists, brands, and themselves.
“I think that making that network viable and thrive is one of my goals and hopes for being a part of the program, as well as being exposed to different companies like Apple Music or Amazon,” Brown says.
Norm also says one of his goals in the fellowship is to be able to bring in as much value as possible. They want to help artists become more professional as well as help them make a living.
More information about Verse and Hook can be found at verseandhook.com.
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