Esteemed music industry veteran Bryan-Michael Cox recently took on the role of Senior Vice President (SVP) of A&R and Executive Producer at LVRN (Love Renaissance). With an impressive track record as a Grammy-winning producer and songwriter, he brings his talent and industry expertise to this esteemed position. In addition to his role at LVRN, he has also launched his own venture called Illustrate New Ideas, further showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to fostering creativity. With this new endeavor, Bryan aims to provide a platform for artists and creators to bring their visions to life.

Bryan-Michael Cox joins EBONY for a conversation about his new ventures, his process of making classic records, and working on Usher's new album.

EBONY: How did the position come about to serve as SVP of A&R & Executive Producer at LVRN?

Bryan-Michael Cox: It came through a relationship with Justice Baiden, who is one of the founders of the company. Justice and I were executive producing DVSN's last album and they managed them. Through that process, we already built a good relationship. The opportunity presented itself and he was with it. I wanted to really get in and rock with the company and I love everything about LVRN. I love their aesthetic and high level of marketing. I love everything that they do and they’re just the epiphany of cool.

Grammy just announced the 2024 nominations. What’s your take on certain artists finally getting the recognition they deserve when nominated?

I just think the voters are getting to know these artists now. I think that a lot of times people look at the Grammys, they believe that it's such a gatekeeping political situation.  Really, it's just a small percentage of the community who are voting members that are voting for artists and records they like. I think that by Summer, 6lack and Davido getting those nominations, it has a lot to do with the voting because voting members are now aware of them. The Grammys are comprised of 40,000, members and out of those 40,000, maybe 25,000 to 30,000 are voting members. It's a very small percentage of those who are eligible to vote. There are artists like Summer Walker who are now eligible to vote but haven't realized that they should be members. That's why I always preach to the artists, producers and songwriters to get involved with the Grammys. Get involved with the [Recording] Academy because you're the community. If you're not a part of it, when we don't get nominated you can't just point fingers at the Academy.

Bryan-Michael Cox
Bryan-Michael Cox. Image: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

You recently launched Illustrate New Ideas, a creative content company that is the embodiment of records and publishing. What inspired you to create the company and what’s your overall vision for it?

It's a natural progression for me as a producer and songwriter; that's been my business for a long time. It makes sense for me to get into releasing records and releasing content. As a content company, it's bigger than a record label. I'm trying to get TV ideas off and determine how I'm going to take my level of talent, level of visibility, and level of accolades to the next level. The next step is to build a proper company that I'd like to see in the future become a major company so I'm excited about it. I'm excited about our partnership with Jack Freeman. It's going to be a good one. I'm doing partnerships with other artists that are coming out next year through Illustrate New Ideas but I have to close the deals first before I start talking about it. I'm just excited about the process of building something that is separate from me and creating music. I can actually pull people in to create music and give other people opportunities and build artists and all kinds of things. 

How would you describe your creative process when working on a new song or project?

I've always said for the longest that the song is in the conversation, right? So, for me, when I'm working on an artist or working with an artist, I like to spend time talking to the artists to figure out what's going on with them. What's going on in the world? If we have the same view, different views or whatever situation is for me, conversation is the most important thing. A lot of songs are born from those conversations, you have to spend time with the artists. I'm a firm believer in that.

"I’ve been working on this Usher album for 7 years!"

Bryan-Michael Cox

Working on Usher’s new album “Coming Home” dropping next year, what can people expect? Since you’ve been a part of making classic hits with him.

I think that people are going to be happy with it. People are going to be impressed by his growth but also they're gonna get what they want. They're gonna get what they need from it. I think that he's going to super-serve his audience which he's doing in Vegas. I think he's learned a lot. We all learned a lot from the Vegas situation through being with him and watching him work and putting that together. He has a broad audience and he's going to serve them in a proper way. He's giving you some seeds on what's to come. I think this album is a really big one. I really believe it. He's worked really hard on it. He's consistently growing and maintaining his dominance as a performer and as a pristine vocalist on his records. I think that we're gonna see something incredible come with the Super Bowl.

Are there any specific artists or collaborations that have had a significant impact on your musical journey?

All of them. The main one I would say is my collaboration with Jagged Edge because y'all wouldn't know me if it weren't for that collaboration. That was my most important collaboration. That's what actually got me to Jermaine Dupri and got me my first hit record. I will say my collaboration with Jagged Edge is probably the most important piece to the puzzle.