We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Spratley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark, how do you think about risk?
We all have been taking risks since a young age. Everything has been a risk, but with high risk yields the opportunity for high reward. My come up and rise was based off of well evaluated risks. From taking on a non paid opportunity in music to learn and do it all as I went. From leaving college to move back to New Jersey and pursue music, To walking out of my part time job in New Jersey ten minutes in to the shift and deciding to put my full time and effort into the music at that exact moment. Moving out to Jersey City. Moving out to LA. Moving out to Atlanta.. All the time and long nights I put in for this was all a risk, people looked at me crazy in the beginning, but I stuck to the plan and I’m here now. I’m blessed. Working with any artist is a risk. I’ve certainly learned that over time. In the end your vision shouldn’t change. I’ve learned and kept powering up. All my early events were a risk until I created a demand for them. Championing certain artists was a risk. Deciding to stay independent and do it my way and in house (Starting Five) was a risk. At the end of the day, risks can pan out. I urge everyone to take a risk, especially for something they truly want. If you are passionate about something, go for it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I run a full service label and marketing agency. From developing stars to creating household brands, everything is done within Starting Five. I’m in my own lane, there is of course plenty of people that like to say “They do what I do” but the resumes and results don’t match. I do everything across the board, from former manager, former writer/blogger, running a label/agency, one of the top marketing/PR’s within the music industry, curating and producer legendary events across the country, A&R, consult on top of having my own influence and brand. My influence alone sets me apart, from Twitter or other social media platforms I have created viral moments and taken artists to new levels with just socials. My grind is what got me here. I got right to it and made my way through all the doubters and obstacles. To me, this music is easy, from the jump I believe I was a force, but experience and more knowledge has made me masterful. I’ve always had an EAR. Without my ear, I wouldn’t be able to continuously work with the next superstar year in and year out from the bottom to the top. Without my ear I wouldn’t be bringing out all the superstars to my events before you even heard of them. Whether an artist is signed to me or just under my agency and utilizing my marketing abilities, I’ve had a strong track list of artist success stories for the past 6-7 years I’ve been in the industry. If you want this, you’ve got to be willing to put the time and effort into it that others won’t, 5 years later, everything I do is now a layup. The amount of doubt or obstacles I’ve gone through over the past 7 years would have had many choosing another job, but my vision never changed and if I ever went through a learning lesson I got right back up and got the win. I’ve learned plenty of lessons, I’m sure at this point I can write a book or we have to provide the people with an episode. What do I want the world to know? Starting Five is an empire. My name rings bells already but Sprat will be one of those coveted names you hear about. Everything I’ve done has been off the strength, bet on me and you are going to go far. Starting Five is the label Town To’ is a new fronto company I just launched with my guy Mr. Morr. LoudPackLegion is the operation behind all of my events I’ve got a few more surprises on the way very soon
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I still leave it up to my Houston people, I’m just a visitor at the end of the day. My people from Texas are all deeply apart of their cities. As far as Austin I’m sure I can point you to a few spots or vibes. If you need to know where to go in NY/NJ or LA I got you. I’m all about some good vibes and good eats. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
To be honest, I literally did this with my own two hands. I’ve had plenty of others pitch in or contribute some time or thoughts, those people know who they are. I can’t list everyone that has supported or helped connect a dot with me, I could go on and on. I appreciate anyone who has shown love, whether it was something something or major. I appreciate every lesson I’ve learned along the way, good or bad.