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Meet This Year's Featured Record Executive.

Meet the one and only Kevin "Sugar Daddy" Woodley. One of the music industry's low key major players.

Bronx born and Brooklyn bred Kevin Woodley spent many of his formative years in the entertainment industry spotlight. Woodley began his career as a rapper and disc jockey at john jay college radio station, WJJC in new york. While in college "Sugar Daddy"landed a gig as the house DJ for laff's, a prominent New York nightclub where he befriended one of the clubs nightly promoters, Russell Simmons. Their love of music fostered a relationship both personal and professional, simmons began to manage woodley. Under simmons management woodley recorded and released the rap version of another one bites the dust. Sugar Daddy and DJ RUN began doing local shows, how ever woodleys love of music was focused on the turntables, not the stage. He gave up the mic and returned to the club scene spinning records at new york city's prominent nightclubs justine's,leviticus,pegasus,xenon and magique. While spinning at other prominent nightclubs,Gothams east and west, woodley was approached by a young club owner who was looking for a DJ with a name and a following to play at a new club named Bentley's. Woodley accepted and began breaking emerging R&B and Hip Hop acts from the tri-state area. Several clubs considered rap music taboo, but being reared in the bronx during the origin of hip hop, woodley understood the music as an emerging culture and embraced it. woodley quickly coined Bentley's the premiere club in new york for R&B and Hip Hop music.

Reigning as one of new york city's premiere disc-jockey's woodley was praised for being the first dj to play and break several records including Run DMC's -"Rock Box", Keith Sweat - "I want her", Guy -"groove me", Howard Johnson -"So fine", and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam -"Take you home"; Woodley recalls his friend Larry Blackman sitting in the DJ booth writing the songs"Attack me with your love","Single life",and "She's strange".

The success of Bentley's led to an array of successful nightclub ventures. Woodley continually established relationships with emerging artist, producers, and managers; serving as entertainment director to several legendary venues in New York including union square,The red Parrot, The silver shadow and The Copacabana. Woodley booked first time New York performance's for recording artist Salt & Pepper, Doug E Fresh, Slick Rick, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Will Smith, Johnny Kemp, Whodini, Jocelyn Brown, Loose Ends, Will Downing, Envogue, Al B Sure, and Heavy Dee & The boyz the list is longer. Woodleys "Ear to the streets for hits" led to an invitation as a billboard reporter and also requested by WKTU's then program director Carlos Dejesus; 98.7 kiss FM program director Tony Quartarone. The 2 of them requested for woodley to serve as music consultant for both the radio stations owned by Emmis Communications at the time. Woodleys new radio relationships and subsequent introduction to KISS FM 98.7 general manager Barry Mayo and incoming program director tony grey led to him becoming the first Disc Jockey in new york to have a weekly live mix show. Woodley also began to build his international demand as a DJ and began playing abroad and traveling to Indonesia, china, japan, Singapore, Bangkok, tai pei and Kuala Lumpar.

Woodley's lighting rod for talent caught the eye of CBS music executive Cecil Homes and in 1985 Woodley joined Columbia Records developing the pop & urban music roster including directing four multi - platinum Lps for new kids on the block, Lisa Lisa & the cult jam, Full Force, Surface, Johnny Kemp, Regina Bell and Earth Wind & Fire. Woodleys club roots enabled him to also find and sign recording artist Raze releasing the dance hit "Break for love"at the same time he hired Shep Pettibone to remix George Michael's single "I want your sex"; Kevin said "Everyone thought i was crazy, The LP was not selling and i suggested shep remix the single so i could play it in the club and give the record an urban base. To make sure i tested the record on the dance floor and it worked the crowd went bananas. Urban clubs embraced the artist and record sales were phenomenal; the rest is history".

During Woodley's tenure at Columbia Records: DEF JAM Recordings was in the process of joining columbia as an independent label. Russell Simmons wanted someone on the inside who understood the music and the culture of Hip Hop. Simmons requested that woodley serve as liaison to the roster of def jam recording artist LL cool J, Public Enemy, 3rd base and slick rick.Woodley also penned the acquisition of Chris Schwartz "Ruffhouse Records" which spawned the success of Jermaine Dupri,Kriss Kross,Xscape and the Fugees.

In 1990 Woodley was approached by Sylvia Rhone to run the A&R division of atlantic records. During his 5 years at atlantic woodley signed platinum selling recording artist I.N.T.R.O. and supervised LPs by Levert, Envogue, Glen Jones, The Rude Boyz and Gerald Albright. Woodley also introduced Atlantic artist M.C. Lyte to hit maker teddy riley he then produced the hit gold single "Ruffneck" accrediting MC Lyte as the first female rapper with a certified gold single. While at atlantic Records woodley was approached by Ed Mcmahon to serve as a judge on the cbs hit show star search. Woodley explains " My experience at atlantic records strengthened my administrative skills as senior executive and i learned the nuts and bolts of the record business and the recording process whereas Columbia was a very creative environment and an extension of the club for me, i did in the boardroom what i did in the DJ booth - I FOUND HITS. At Atlantic while routine talent scouting i found it extremely frustrating to find talent and not be able to sign them because of bureaucracy". Two of the most memorable experiences in the music industry at atlantic for kevin as he recalls the first was: When Cecil Holmes' nephew Dame Dash and DJ Clark Kent Brought him JAY Z, "I thought he was phenomenal and immediately did a demo deal while putting my job on the line to sign this artist. Long story short i did not have the authority to sign JAY Z. I will never forget dame and clark screaming to the entire floor". Dame & Clark said:"Your out of your minds if you pass on this artist. He's the jesus christ of Hip Hop". Kevin:"I have knocked my self in the head for not quitting my job and putting JAY Z out my self independently, I knew better. To this day i still have the letter i received from the label refusing to sign JAY Z framed on the wall of my office as a reminder that either way i was right again".

The second experience was an artist kevin saw perform at irving plaza named Maxwell again he knew better. Again was not signed. Lightning struck twice for woodley at Atlantic.

So woodley returned to his roots and became the resident DJ at the shadow night club maintaining residency for many years placing him and the club as the 2nd longest running nightclub in new york's nightlife history. While at the shadow kevin programmed a weekly mix-show live from the club on new york radio.

During his extraordinary career, Kevin "Sugar Daddy" Woodley has maintained the ability to keep his finger on the pulse of New York's nightlife and entertainment attributing his success to god for blessing him with "ears" and to his mentors Cecil Homes and tony grey.

Kevin says:

"Music has blessed me with a great life. working in clubs as a DJ then becoming an A&R executive at a major label is a nature progression. Being a DJ allowed me to listen to music and program it. Playing to for a large crowd of people gives extra insight. It fine tunes' my ears and keeps me on top of what's hot and helps me understand why one record works and another does not".

Crowned with the title " The King of Clubs" for his contribution to music, nightlife and entertainment Kevin "Sugar Daddy" woodley continues to scout emerging talent for his independent record label. To date woodley and his wife Shawnique have built a very successful brand called "The Inkwell". As kevin said to me the other day : The legacy continues.

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Jeff Lemen
Jeff Lemen
Jun 04, 2023

He is the real deal


I enjoyed reading the write up...

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