Grammy® nominated artist, producers and songwriters of Grammy® winning projects Helen Bruner & Terry Jones individually and collectively have worked on many recording projects as songwriters, producers and vocalist. Jones has worked on recordings for Grammy® winners Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, and is the featured vocalist on the Redman and Method Man's platinum seller "How High". Bruner and Jones songs have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Charts, featured on Film/TV soundtracks, most notable the blockbuster film The Score starring Robert DeNiro. Their voices can be heard on national commercials and their songs have been licensed to numerous international compilations. Bruner & Jones journey as independent artist and women in the new music business model has been turned into a documentary film, Indie Soul by film maker Chakka Reeves. Bruner and Jones have both served a Presidents of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy and National Trustees of the Recording Academy.
Alternative RnB at its best, Philadelphia New Girl Kriss Mincey is the quiet storm. Her jazzinfused style is reminiscent of Janelle Monae, Minnie Riperton and Natalie Cole, with a contemporary edge that leaves listeners’ ears quenched and hearts breathless. Mincey has performed at the Wawa Welcome America Block Party and opened for Big Sean and 2 Chainz at the Drexel University Fall Fest, QuestLove at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit Afterparty, and most recently sold out shows at Warmdaddy’s and The Kimmel Center. She continues work on her first official projects, with plans to release new music this year. Subscribe to #CatchKriss The Newsletter to keep tabs on Mincey’s latest activity.
1) What makes a great artist mentor?
What makes a great artist mentor is the ability to inspire ownership and authority where perhaps there was none. The best teachers train their pupils into business partners.
Coming to Philly represented independence for me on several fronts. It was my first time on my own, in a new city where I knew virtually no one, and I had just returned from two polar opposite experiences: a music fellowship in Hamburg, Germany, and airing on American Idol in Los Angeles.
The friends I made here, who are truest to the title “Mentor,” empowered me to step out of the “student” role and into one that reflected my prowess as a thought leader, an influencer, an artist, a woman, and as a human.
2) What is the best advice Helen & Terry have given you?
The best advise so far, especially with it being so relevant to me now, has been, “Don’t stop being you…don’t lose ‘you’—that’s special.”
By nature, we’re meant to change; and what better definition of success than to evolve? So reason would have it that we are successful by nature.
Bear a balancing act to welcome the change that can elevate you, and at the same time, keep your integrity; not to take yourself too seriously, and still remain true to your purpose— and even that will change!
The best thing I can think to do is stay open, be aware of the facts, and above all, say yes to myself, first.
3) What is the greatest success they have helped you achieve?
In a very special way, Helen and Terry are like a reference point of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. There is no success without the awareness of growth.
It’s like an India.Arie song: I was 11 when Acoustic Soul came out. But it wasn’t until I really had some life under my belt—like now, for instance— that I deeply appreciated her lyrics.
People have to grow to a place where they can value what you bring them. It’s beyond poetic that Helen and Terry are presenting me, because now we’ve had conversations that never would’ve happened two years ago. And that’s where the success lies: in the process. Helen and Terry have overseen my journey, whether near or far; I am truly grateful.
4) In what area(s) have Helen & Terry helped you grow the most?
Helen and Terry have supported my work as an artist beyond music. They understand and appreciate my interests in tech, holistic health, branding, and in finance.
Unleash the Beast, for instance, is a 3-part Art Series I created in 2014, about becoming who you are as an Artrepreneur (TM) in Philadelphia. The series integrates art and business with tools of mindfulness for the industry-driven artist, so that we no longer pursue success, but are present in it.
They encourage me to keep building bridges, and spark discourse across industries, using my music as the vehicle to do so.
In a more familiar, perhaps intangible way, it helps having brown women around, who are seasoned in this industry and in their lives–and unapologetic of all the above! Whether it be western or uniquely American, there is a universal myth that our lives are over after 30, especially because we are women.
Further, as women of color, we’re no sooner made into caricatures, suddenly viewed as magical beings impervious to hurt, and therefore unworthy of protection and care. Ironically, this same system of falsehoods loathes the history of self-sustenance that precedes us.
So, yes: it’s like air, speaking with someone who will just as readily close a million-dollar deal as they will come to my show, watch me do my shimmy and say, “You better work!”
I know what that looks like now, and it’s a beautiful sight to see.
5) What advice would you give to an artist seeking career guidance?
1. You make your career. You are worthy, and deserve to be here. Understanding this will help keep your relationships genuine, and unhindered by either party’s agenda.
2. You’re looking for a team of advisors and collaborators, not a golden ticket.
3. Be humble, and always open to things you don’t know. But, also be aware of what you do know. Acting on this awareness is how you create value for any mentor.
4. Act in the spirit of abundance. Be generous! Recognize what you have to teach, what you have to contribute, and offer it. And, like magic, puzzle pieces to your bigger picture begin to come into place.
5. Remember: your soon-to-be mentor is a person, first. So take comfort in that, and be authentic.
About The Soundcheck Series: This event is an unforgettable concert experience and one-of-a-kind industry event presented by Pier Entertainment. The series highlights eight dynamic artists over eight weeks, and showcases a multi-genre collection of young, buzzworthy acts. Each exciting installment features prominent music professionals, ranging from label execs to songwriters and media personalities, all of whom have etched their marks on Philadelphia’s brilliant music legacy. Hosted at one of Philadelphia’s newest concert venues—Pub Webb Live—the intimate music event provides a unique opportunity for media, fans and insiders to discover the area’s best talent in an electrifying atmosphere charged by great energy, professional production and state-of-the-art sound.