IndyBuild, founded in 2013 by Don A. Russell, is an arts and entertainment platform for artists involved in the industry, worldwide. The company, located in downtown Chicago, has raised $1.2 million since its inception.
Russell, the former owner of PM Studio, and former director of A&R for Sony Music is the CEO and mastermind behind the IndyBuild Corporation and its subsidiaries.
IndyBuild specializes in developing the products and platforms that give artists and entertainers access to the essential tools and resources they need to initiate or further their careers to build the brands of tomorrow. Russell’s goal is to connect, network and collaborate with industry professionals to generate more revenue than on any other available platform.
Clients include musicians, models, artists, comedians, dancers, writers, actors, and fashion designers. There is even a portal that allows fans to engage with new content and talent around the world.
The Man Behind IndyBuild
In an interview with The News School, we learned that Russell was born and raised in Chicago’s Lawndale community where his business-minded family owned and operated grocery stores. His upbringing inspired him to invest in a business of his own.
Russell told reporters he has always been attracted to the world of entertainment. At the age of seven, he became a street performer and by the age of 21, he was performing in off-Broadway musicals as a tap dancer. Soon after, he joined Riverdance, an international Irish dance phenomenon. Russell was always doing something to add value to himself. He got a chance to experience several areas of the entertainment industry.
Gaining Experience in Entertainment Industry
In 2003 Sony offered Russell an interim Artist & Repertoire (A&R) position which is basically a talent scout responsible for the development of artists. Then President, Tommy Mottola, requested of Russell to fill the seat throughout the transition period of Doug Morris becoming Sony’s new CEO. Russell spent his time at Sony producing and recording artist including Kid Rock, Gap Band, Onyx, R. Kelly, Tyrese, LeVert, Be Be Winans, Da Brat and more in his Los Angeles studio.
He soon realized he was in disagreement with the direction the music industry was heading with regards to the content they were releasing. Russell moved on to the Bernie Mac Show in its pilot season. He began in craft services and worked his way to up to Associate Producer.
After bouncing around in the California entertainment industry for nearly 15 years, Russell decided to take a break. He returned home to help with family issues surrounding the passing of his grandfather. At home in Chicago, Russell was arrested and incarcerated in the Cook County Jail for driving with a suspended license. It was during his incarceration he envisioned the concept and created a business plan for IndyBuild. He says his vision to rebuild the entertainment enterprise was derived from the words build and industry.
Once released from jail, he attended Phoenix University, where he and his classmates were given the assignment of writing a business plan. Russell already had one. He presented his written plan for IndyBuild to his professor who asked, “Can you really pull this off?”
Once his professor examined the proposal, he wrote two checks totaling $60K to Russell to begin implementing IndyBuild. Once IndyBuild was open for business, Russell sought other investors.
Clyde El-Amin is the Vice President of IndyBuild and has been involved with the company for three years and helps to identify the potential of each stakeholder to keep the company running. He stated that he keeps an eye on the reputation of IndyBuild.
IndyBuild Corp. currently has four online platforms that formulate the entire network structure with IndyBuild.com being the flagship site. The other websites are 1stAmendmentMedia.com, IBClassified.com, and Freedom1791.com. The company is close to launching the first phase of Indybuild.com, which consists of artist signup opportunities.
Russell’s ultimate quest is to assist artists helping them benefit from their efforts. IndyBuild enables aspiring artists and those in entertainment related fields to produce and deliver quality content to their fan base. The system organization makes collaboration, career advancement, and revenue growth much easier. “Value yourself and understand your time is precious and get paid for it,” these are words of advice from Russell.
Russell further stated an artist should use a great law firm and a small bank who are willing to work with them, where it is possible. Developing lasting relationships is essential to a start-up.
Today the IndyBuild office is bursting with energy with a complete radio station and full production facility to produce television shows. When the News School asked where he sees IndyBuild in the future, Russell proclaimed “bigger than Google.”
Written by News School Cub Reporter Team
Edited by DiMarkco Chandler
Interview with Don Russell
Interview with Clyde El-Amin
Images Courtesy of Gricelda Vicario – Used With Permission