Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Justin Johnson. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Justin thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Talk to us about building your team? What was it like? What were some of the key challenges and what was your process like?
In the very beginning of DreamisGrind, I used to have round tables with some of my best friends and my wife to discuss my ideas and if it made sense to follow through with them. At first, it started with one business vertical which was artist management and development, and I focused and grew that side of the business because I wanted to use my strengths as a leader and mentor. In doing so, I had to hustle a lot on the business side from from promo, networking, building a brand, and artist management responsibilities etc. From there, I started to network with to handle the responsibilities of producing a high quality event or show. The business then transformed to not solely just artist management, but grew into a creative brand to bring in the most innovative and top quality entertainment. During the productions of an event series called Kush Groove Denver, I built a relationship with comedic host Keith Komedy, and we found out we had similar business and creative strengths and I had asked him to be part of the executive team and help me continue to grow and build our brand.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I have always been creative since I was a kid, but when I was in college I was looking for an outlet while recovering from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle. I went to Temple University in Philly, and luckily the school had a tech center with a music room and a recording studio, so I took advantage and started producing beats. I learned how to make beats on different software and would get coached by some students. Making melodies at Temple was the starting point that made me realize how creative I am and how much I truly love music, sounds and the vibes.
After I graduated college and played football for a time overseas and arena football in the U.S., I came back home to Denver and eventually took my love of music and formed Dream Is Grind, LLC, an artist management company. Over the years it transformed and I wanted to foster local talent through artist development, logo design, web design, marketing strategies, event planning, photography, video production and more.
What sets us apart is how we conduct business and the execution of our overall production and show. We try to plan, brainstorm, and execute events that are different, engaging, and correlates with our brand and the venue where the event is held.
Have you ever had to pivot?
I have played sports my entire life, since I was very young. I was fortunate enough to be very athletic, so sports was a place where I excelled, and it was an outlet for me physically and mentally. In high school, I played year round in football, track, and basketball. When the time came for college, I made the choice to play football at Reedley which is a junior college near Fresno, California. Then after two years I transferred to Temple University in Philly on scholarship to play football. I went through ups and downs there as I broke my ankle, but came back better to continue to play because I loved the game. During my time at Temple, I was given the opportunity to play professional football overseas in Cologne, Germany so I moved there for a year. I eventually came back to the US, and played arena football in South Carolina, St. Louis, and LA. However, arena football shut down so I made the decision to end my sports career and move back home and transition to corporate. That was one of the hardest transitions, because something I’ve known my entire life, I had to hang my shoes up. Pivoting from an open schedule of football, to a 9-5 was difficult because it was so cut and dry compared to what I was used to. Although that was difficult, transitioning to working in corporate however, did help mold me into the business man I am today.
Can you tell us the story behind how you met your business partner?
I actually met my business partner, and COO Keith Komedy prior to creating DreamisGrind while working together at Bridgepoint Education. We would keep in touch, but when I created DIG, the artist Lo-pez that I was working with at the time was really good friends with him. Keith would come to some of my early shows at Tetra Lounge, and he mentioned in passing that he did comedy and he wanted to host a show. From there, he became our host and we then began collaborating and became partners in the business. We actually have a similar background in sports, similar work ethic, and having a creative outlet, so it was an easy partnership and one of the best decisions to date.
- Website: dreamisgrind.co
- Instagram: @dreamisgrindproductions and @dreamisgrindpresents
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dreamisgrindproductions/
Riley Karlstrand – Photographer Eliza Kuehner – Photographer