In the beginning…
Sometimes in life things are taken away from us, and all we have left are hopes and dreams. And then there are times when having hope and a dream feels like a luxury—just out of reach and reserved for a special group of people. It takes a strong and uniquely wired type of person to rise from obscurity and create their own path that is their inevitable road to success.
For one man, humble beginnings is too grandiose a phrase to describe the life from where Mikel Knight emerged. But the rocky back story and tales of being a have-not is of no consequence when the path ahead is paved in pure gold. Mikel Knight’s journey from a kid with an affinity for good music to a man that created his own musical genre reads like a chapter from The Alchemist. He is a seeker, a visionary, a leader and an artist. He is organically grown and dedicated to being true to his cowboy roots. The man who was born to shake up the music industry and knock down the walls of conformity is armed with confidence and dangerous on the mic. Couple that with an army of cowboys dubbed the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team, and you have the formula for a takeover. So strap yourself in and get ready to experience the untamed life and voice of the Maverick of Music Row. This. Is. Mikel Knight.
When most kids were playing carefree in a shroud of innocence, Mikel Knight was writing songs inspired by some of music’s greatest legends. By age 11, he was penning the lyrics to his own creations that could spin in rotation with “good ole boy” greats like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash and soul-stirring pioneers like Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Lionel Richie and the Commodores. And growing up primarily in San Antonio, Texas, the down home and patriotic spirit of the deep south resonated in the future mogul and initiated a lifetime affair with country music.
Fast forward several years and a teenaged Mikel Knight is on course to realizing his dream of becoming a bonafide recording artist. By being at the right place at the right time, the seventeen-year-old Knight was discovered by a local studio owner and inked his first deal with a west coast indie label. After going through the growing pains and rigors of the music business, Mikel relocated back to Texas in 2003 and made the game-changing decision to create his own style of music. The birth of the Hip-Hop inspired Urban Country Fusion pays homage to the hard-hitting street beats and irreverence from where rap music came while boldly embracing the roots of country music. It’s an artistic cocktail of musical perfection that can only be chased with a shot of Old No. 7.
The forward-thinking and genius that is Mikel Knight quickly grew a reputation that precedes him, and would soon be in a partnership with a distributor in Japan. Over the next two years sales from his two albums would reach close to 100,000, and Knight was in a position to establish 1203 Entertainment–his new entrepreneurial venture into urban country.
Can’t knock the hustle…
Playing a dual role as a label executive and recording artist, Mikel Knight is known as The Maverick of Music Row. The serious-minded businessman who is more calculating than a Texas Instrument, has established an enterprise that creatively and successfully bridges the gap between the grassroots of country culture and the grimy city streets without sacrificing solid production value. “Saddle Up, Shawty”, the party anthem that compels just about anyone to shake their ass has gone viral and garnered close to 1 million hits online. But if it’s old fashioned storytelling that gets your head nodding, then “Last Night in Texas” is the pick that can make even the toughest cowboy close his eyes to reminisce.
Call it art imitating life or the passion finally paying off, creating his own genre has certainly proved successful for The Maverick of Music Row. With over 1,000,000 albums sold and the #1 and #2 Top Line Dance Hits in the country, Mikel Knight is taking the digital landscape and bars around the globe by storm.
Landing in Nashville, the journey that is Mikel Knight is ongoing and is a never-ending siege to take over the music industry. But what’s different is that Mikel Knight chooses to use his powers for good. Finally taking the distribution of his music into his own hands, Knight created the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team. The team that operates like a well-oiled Peterbuilt started off selling 20 albums a day from one van, and in less than two years, the enterprise has mushroomed and comprises fourteen vans and forty-five cowboys that help the label gross over $10 million.
As of January 2014 the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team has sold over 1,000,000 albums averaging 45,000 albums per month. The Maverick of Music Row has become the first artist in history to reach Platinum status selling records hand to hand. It’s safe to say that everything the maverick touches turns to gold, and by teaming up with RIAA-certified platinum producers Brian Mitchell Jackson and Kevin “DJ Dev” Grisham, his forthcoming album just might ship Titanium.
The Big Payback
Despite his early success and rapid growth of the label, Mikel Knight still and will always be reaching back to make sure his band of cowboys, and any person for that matter, has an opportunity to be part of something meaningful. Music, big cities, fame and money have neither disillusioned nor defined Knight because he holds onto his traditional values like his life depends on it. He stays grounded in his faith and works behind the scenes to assist Veterans, families in need and individuals who need a purpose in life and a leg up. When you see Mikel Knight, 1203 Entertainment and the Maverick Dirt Road Street Team in flight, you are witnessing a music industry takeover, yes, but more importantly, you are experiencing a movement. Enjoy the ride!
The brand new project from Mikel Knight is called the Urban Cowboy: Where the City Meets the Country, and is currently available. ^