In the ever changing landscape of music Tip Trillions has positioned himself to lead Phoenix to be the new breeding ground for good music.
Having established Nod Head Records back in 2018, Horne took unique approach by empowering his artist with more creative control.
We hooked up with Felix “Tip Trillions” Horne, CEO and founder of Nod Head Records, to learn how the label has helped underground artists, what criteria they look for in artists, and advice for emerging artists who are trying to break into the music business.
Who is Felix “Tip” Horne?
I’ve actually become somebody else. For a long time I was strictly a businessman. But the passing of my wife five years ago forced me to focus on being a dad and making decisions conducive to raising my three children. Music has always been a big part of my life. So now I’m a guy that wears a lot of hats: dad, homeschool teacher and music executive.
When did you start Nod Head Records?
We started Nod Head Records in 2018. We wanted to make music that would offer people an experience like what we had during the Motown days. Music that you could safely enjoy at a cookout, family reunion, and in the skating rink.
Nod Head Records is based in Phoenix, AZ, what is the music scene like there?
The music, scene in Phoenix is incredible! There are so many talented artists here. And thousands of people are moving here every day from all over the country. The weather’s incredible, the economy’s booming, and there’s beginning to be a good hodgepodge of different cultures. I’m fortunate to have been in Atlanta at the beginning of the golden age of southern hip-hop. Phoenix reminds me of Atlanta during that time, roughly 1995 to 2008. It’s just the beginning for this city.
What qualities do you look for in an artist?
I always love this question. It’s important for an artist to have a humble enough personality that they’re willing to learn. I do expect them to be confident. I do expect them to want to be great. But I also want them to be teachable. For me teach-able-ness is probably the most important skill. Probably more important than being able to sing or rap. If you think about it, if you’re teachable, you can pretty much learn anything.
How would you describe the genre of music that your label is looking to put out?
Fresh new feeling hip hop and R & B. With a nostalgic vibe.
Describe the current music landscape as the music you hear today and artist development?
There are so many talented artists out there. I have an appreciation for the originality. I love original people like Lizzo, The Weeknd, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak. These are the artist that are working tirelessly to develop their sound, and continuously set a tone in the industry. I’m so grateful that we have artists on our label that fit that same type of mold.
What is your greatest strength? How does it help you As Music Executive?
Honestly, I think my greatest strength is being lucky. I’ve been lucky to meet some incredible people that’ve helped guide me in the right direction. And my cofounder Dustin Petz is pretty much my brain while I’m busy figuring out the music side of things.
What critical component of this position As Music Executive makes the work challenging?
I believe in artist creativity. And sometimes artists-creativity is subject to what’s hot right now. Distribution apps have changed the work ethic and the desire to create originality. It makes it challenging sometimes to convey to artists that we still need to be creating new components for the marketplace.
Do you motivate your artists or should they already be motivated to succeed?
I think it’s important for us to motivate each other. It’s like any sports team. There’s a general manager position and there’s an executive position above that, but really what makes everything work is the players on the field. The artists are the players on the field in this scenario. They’re the ones everybody wants to see be great. Sometimes they need a little coaching. But I assure you they have the talent already.
Which artist on your label do you think will have a breakout year in 2023?
It’s a tossup! They’re all in the middle of doing great things all ready this year. Time will tell. It’s a win-win situation whoever you pick.
Do you have any immediate or long term goals for the label?
Do you mean before or after we’re nominated for the break out label of the year award in 2023, and on behalf of my team I give the acceptance speech for music executive of the year?