Maye James is a Music Industry Visionary, Promotions and Marketing executive, Artist Management expert and music and entertainment leader! From one-on-one artist consulting to trail-blazing radio promotion, when there were very few women, this lady has done (and seen) it all!
Mary Wells, "First Lady of Motown"
Tina Turner & Maye James
Stevie Wonder, Eddie Jorge & Maye James
Frankie Crocker & Singer/Songwriter, Terry Steele
Maye James began her career in the music industry working as the personal manager to her friend, the “First Lady of Motown" recording artist, Mary Wells, whose career skyrocketed with the #1 hit, “My Guy”.
After touring extensively with Ms. Wells and other Motown-era superstars, Ms. James worked for iconic record labels such as Scepter Records, as National Promotion Director, with artists such as Dionne Warwick, BT Express, Shirley Caesar and The Independents. Her work led her to roles at United Artists Records and Roadshow Records where she became Vice President of National Promotion and worked with artists including the likes of Brass Construction, Enchantment and Tina Turner to name a few.
In addition to being a record executive, Ms. James has also worked in radio as the Assistant Program Director/Music Director of New York’s #1 urban radio station, WBLS where she managed the entire programming staff and was a key part of the team responsible for the station’s great success during the 1980s. Among many other successes, Maye James’ team was responsible for creating remixes of popular artists’ songs for WBLS’ airplay which became so popular with listeners that record labels then released BLS’ remixed format on their labels!
Ms. James has ALWAYS had a foresight for change. After noticing her teenage daughter and friends enjoying rap on “mix tapes” on an underground AM station that played rap for only one-hour on Saturday nights at 2am, Ms. James spent THREE MONTHS presenting the idea of including the “emerging” genre of Rap on a major radio station to her boss, the incomparable “Chief Rocker, Frankie Crocker”. After her consistent persistence, he finally agreed to give it a try!
Once on WBLS, The Mr. Magic Show aired live on Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm – 12 Midnight where it became the first radio station in America to play rap music on mainstream radio! Mr. Magic’s weekend broadcast prompted WBLS’ rival station, WRKS (KISS FM) to hire DJ Red Alert for their version of rap programming and the rest is Hip-Hop history! Her hard work and perseverance helped to facilitate a “Hip Hop” revolution, first in New York then eventually across the United States and ultimately, the world!
Maye James served as General Manager/Black Music for SBK Records. During her tenure, she spearheaded the success of artists: Technotronic (Pump Up The Jam) and Vanilla Ice (Ice Ice Baby). Most notably, she was instrumental in bringing Partners N’ Kryme to SBK Records whose hit “Turtle Power” was featured on the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie soundtrack.
James' Daughter & First Rapper to receive a Grammy Award in 1989, Will Smith
Today, Ms. James’ concentration has been on independent projects and artist development. Her knowledge of all aspects of the music industry AND her ability to develop artists of all ages and backgrounds makes her a bona fide music industry notable!
Maye James Artist Management & Development Executive