EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Music Executive and Businessman Mathew Knowles Talks Entrepreneurship, New Book, Upcoming Projects, More

One of the music industry’s biggest moguls, Mathew Knowles,  published his latest book “The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals.” Knowles, who is also the CEO  and President of Music World Entertainment, continues to empower others by teaching some of the biggest life lessons that readers must fully grasp to be successful in any occupation.

The book is already an Amazon number one best-seller. In the book, Knowles discusses the ten traits people must have to be successful across the board. Knowles’ stresses that the word “passion” should be affiliated with your everyday living.

As you know, Knowles’ witty persona, optimism, diligence, and hard work allowed him to manage some of the biggest mainstream artists including Destiny’s Child, Solange, and also Nas, The O’Jays, De La Soul, Ray J, Kool & The Gang, and Chaka Khan. He has led over 250 marketing and sales seminars all over the world, holds a BA in Economics, a BS degree in Business Administration, and an MBA from Cornerstone Christian Bible College. Lastly, Knowles is a professor at Texas Southern University. His academic portfolio shows us his ongoing desire to help others so they can also sharpen their skills as entrepreneurs.

The music pioneer took time from his busy schedule to speak with Singersroom about his new book, what makes someone a successful professional, entrepreneurship, and leaving a significant impact in your line of work.

Check out our interview with Mr. Knowles.


New Book, The DNA of Achievers: 10 Traits of Highly Successful Professionals:  There comes a time where you begin to evaluate the things that you’re passionate about in life. So everything I write in this book, I lived it. It was time for me to identify my passion, just like I asked everyone in the book. I am very clear on my passion is; my passion is to educate and motivate in the area of entrepreneurship through entertainment. I had opportunities in business: corporate America for 25 years, starting my own business, co-owning a hair salon, co-owning a major clothing line, and now in academia, teaching at Texas Southern University. This will make my ninth year teaching at Texas Southern, and I will be guest lecturing at Rice University this semester.  So the issue wasn’t about writing a book, it was a matter of strategically deciding what would be the first book.  At first, I didn’t know if the book was going to be about Destiny’s Child, about me, or if I wanted it to be motivational. I chose motivational, I wanted to establish myself as an author. I was fortunate enough to have some my friends who participated with me in this book. These people are highly successful, and if you read the book, there are successful people in this book.

When I started thinking about titles, I thought about the traits that successful people have, and that was going to be the name of the book. But it didn’t have enough marketing to gain your attention. SoI had to keep thinking about what I needed as far as a title. It was kind of when we first named the group “Destiny,” I had to come up with a word that would give it more meaning. And that’s why I added “Child” to the name. And that’s how I came up with the word, “D.N.A” When we think of D.N.A, we think about makeup and parts of our bodies. We also think of DNA from a professional standpoint; what is that something that makes up the person to be successful? You can really look at that from a DNA standpoint.  I have two other books coming out; one is called Racism In the Eyes of The Child. The book talks about my early years and struggles in Alabama, the deep South. Racism took place in 1952 when they were still “white” and “colored” water fountains. I am also working on Destiny’s Child, The True Story.  The world still doesn’t know the true story behind the group, so it will talk about how the group got started, the triumphs, the tribulations, and the challenges they face in the business.


Traits Of An Entrepreneur, Innate Or Learned?: It’s a combination of both. Some are innate, some we learn from our environment or life experiences. We also learn about certain traits from reading and attending seminars. It is a combination of all of those things. The number one trait can NEVER be changed. It is the one I can move around the other nine. And that trait is passion. If you don’t have passion, I guarantee you the other nine traits won’t happen. When you’re passionate about your job, you never work a day in your life.


Mathew On His Quote “Entrepreneurship is a mindset, a belief.” Music doesn’t drive my entrepreneurship, my entrepreneurship drives my music career. I teach three classes a semester, and I also teach business at Texas Southern University. I taught entrepreneurship and so the first day of class,  what we talk about is the characteristics of an entrepreneur. The characteristics that are associated with an entrepreneur is risk-taking, confidence, and leadership, and that’s what I teach my students. My first day of class in my entrepreneurship course is changing your headset. I know a lot of business owners who aren’t entrepreneurs. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who aren’t business owners.  My assistant, who has been with me for the past 14 years is an employee in the music world, but she is also an entrepreneur. She runs this business like it’s hers. She thinks like an owner. She thinks about how can we generate more revenue, that’s her mindset. You have to change your whole belief system and how you approach things. Words like confidence, perseverance, resourcefulness, or the ability to take tact-related risks, optimism, having the need to achieve, versatility, creativity, the ability to influence others, flexibility, intelligence, and independent are some of the things that describe an entrepreneur.


Entrepreneurial Characteristics In His Professional Endeavors and Working with Prominent Artists: My approach has always been different. People have, for many years, called me s a manager. I used the title “manager,” but more importantly, I consider myself an executive in the music industry. I run a major independent record label, I ran an independent label where I added 170 employees. So, again, it is also knowing the aspects of the music industry since this new digital world is taking over. It will continue to take over, and we won’t have CDs, just like we don’t have cassettes or tapes.  Also, look at how social media has impacted entertainment and the way we approach putting out an album from marketing and promotion. It changes daily, and we have to look at it differently. Throughout my career, I’ve helped brand artists and their development. We are talking about a lot of people, Mario, first Grammy nomination and number one album when I was managing him. Lyfe Jennings also had some of his own personal issues but came out with a great record and did a great job of touring.

When you build anything to be number one, you’ll be proud of that. It’s a lot of work but consistently throughout my career, from being a number one sales rep at Xerox, having a number one hair salon in Houston, number one female trio in R&B, pop and in Gospel, it has been worth it. People forget we also managed the number one trio in Gospel which was Trini-i-Tee 5:7. No other gospel trio has sold more records than them. Le’Andria Johnson is the number one female gospel artist in the whole industry, right here at Music World. We sometimes are blinded by the success by Destiny’s Child and Beyonce, and don’t really get a chance to see the other successes. Ray J’s gold record that he has was on my label. “One Wish” was the single and Raydiation is the only number one album in his entire career. I was managing him and Nas as well. We’ve had an opportunity to really make some significant impact in artists’ career. With Destiny’s Child and Solange, Solange is now the “it girl,” the fashionista, and she is just a triple threat. We don’t need to talk about the success of Beyonce because she is still going to have more success in her career. All of this doesn’t come from being a dad, and it does not come by being lucky.


How To Be Successful as an Entrepreneur: It comes along with all of those characteristics of an entrepreneur I just talked about. It also comes along with education because I took the time out to attend a lot of seminars. If there was a seminar on music, I wanted to be there. If someone successful attended the seminar, I wanted to hear everything that they had to say and ask questions. It comes from critical thinking; this is something I teach my students every day. Critical thinking entails coming up with a solution to the problem.


Overall Message Of The Book: I want readers to be inspired. This is not just a music book. I’m grateful that the book was number one in two categories: self-help and music business. It is a self-help book, it talks about failures and successes. It talks about your passion and why you should be passionate about anything you decide to do in life. It talks about being a visionary and taking that idea to life and building a team. This book is not about the music industry. I don’t want the book to be viewed as a “music industry book.” Some of the examples are from the music industry, and I want people to get that inspiration. But I want to inspire. I’m doing a number of seminars all over America. You can go to Eventbrite.com and see all of the dates we’re doing in each state. We’re doing D.C, Baltimore, Atlanta, Austin, Rochester, NY, Miami, and we’re working on other dates. We started this conversation with “what is my passion,” and we want to educate and motivate in the area of entrepreneurship and music business.