By Hipolito Navarrete, Publisher/Managing Editor
Jerry Heller made an impression in whoever met him even if they only met him for a moment. A self-made music impresario with a well-known past which included a definite role on the roots of gangster rap. A version of his story was dramatized in the film, “Straight Outta Compton,” which was also the name of the first album of the iconic rap group, NWA.
-Parental Advice Explicit Lyrics –
His death this past week as a result of a heart attack was a surprise to many, but one thing that is not a surprise is the amount of deep emotions that are being shared by those that loved him and those that despised him.
The several times I got to “hang out” with Jerry Heller, I observed one thing, he was constantly looking for the opportunity, not just for him but also those that he represented. The several short conversations that I was part of where always similar in content. Make sure to plan for the long term and that patience is a very important ingredient in success. The list of folks in the music industry he knew is incredible, all forged through the work that it takes to create a successful career. Once when invited to join him at a club on the Sunset strip to watch a new band he was managing, I arrived to find him surrounded by a large group of people, several of them, obviously there as security. He was no joke and neither were his accomplishments. Jerry was very cognizant of his status in the music world, proud of his accomplishments and looking for a way to step back in to the limelight with a new group of artists he felt could offer something to the audience.
In an interview he did on a TV show I produced he was clear that in the music industry, radio play is still key, because they still have the audience. Although the Internet is beginning to expand the audience, the majority of artists are still not able to monetize the opportunity offered by websites; Pandora as on 2016 is still not making a profit.
There are many stories that will be told about Jerry Heller, and it depends on which side the story teller fell, some will be supportive, some will be rough, what he did do is leave his mark in a rough business, where if your are not rough, you will not survive. Rest In Peace Jerry Haller, I am still telling your story to our students.
Here is the interview with Jerry Haller by TV host, Sharon Jimenez and a bonus interview with Pilar Marrero by Award Winning TV host Bob Jimenez with journalist Pilar Marrero, an expert on politics and immigration.