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Record Exec Mali Wilson Hits a High Note in Music and Business

Music industry powerhouse Mali Wilson who some call the “most well known unknown” in music is famous among A-list artists and recording executives for her remarkable dexterity in transitioning from singer to songwriter-producer to talent developer and back again. The Grammy-nominated entertainment veteran made her mark on the music scene first in her hometown of Chicago and later as an executive in Atlanta’s bourgeoning musical landscape as a corporate executive. She is renowned for her work with such musical giants, including such greats as Whitney Houston, Chris Brown, Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Usher, Carly Simon, and Missy Elliot.

Wilson is a major influencer in the music industry thanks to her solid background as a performer coupled with her substantial skills for navigating the ins and outs of the industry. Wilson’s adeptness at balancing between performing and producing has made her one of the most formidable industry insiders in the music game. Her formidable list of accomplishments include: President of Stone Wood Music, Chief Creative Visionary at The Retnuh Agency, Grammy Award Nominated Producer, Earth Girl founder, & Earth Angel World Wide, along with along with being a brand strategist, community advocate, celebrity chef, and health and wellness enthusiast. And if that’s not enough she has recently returned to the recording side of things with her newly released hit single, ‘No Place Like Home.’

Who’s Who In Black spoke with Wilson recently regarding her remarkable career and journey.

On her start in the music industry …

I got my start with Alan Moore in Chicago with Moore Music at the same time Clarence Avant who was at that time chairman of Motown began mentoring me. I had Alan Moore, who produced Amy Grant, Sandy Patty, and all these big country music people. They were taking me back and forth to Nashville, where I was developing my skills as a writer, and at the same time, I’m getting business knowledge from Clarence. So, you know, the business interest just came naturally because I was always taught not to let anybody screw you in the streets.

But this is a very tough business model. And that’s what I wanted. I wanted to kind of hone in on it and it’s such a difficult business for women especially. And I mean, not commonly coming from your, your, your innate ability to discern what’s a good deal and what’s not a good deal and who to talk to, and to end up in those rooms where you need to be. And it sounds it’s like it’s divined

On mentoring and philanthropy …

I had such a rocky start to life. I think everything from now on is just coming up roses, but we’re talking about the work that matters right now, so it’s always easy for me to do something that is about community and bringing folks together,

In 2008 we partnered with the Girl Scouts of America for a program called Earth Angel. I realized there weren’t many women in my field and I was told, that in winning the Grammys I was an anomaly in my field. At that time only five percent of the music we heard was created by women. So I’m like well, ‘why don’t we create a movement.’ I self-funded a program for Amper, called Earth Girl and for 10 years I would go get money and work for Coca-Cola, or for Toyota and I worked for different brands and put the money towards this movement.

I’ve been helping nonprofits for years, including the Ludacris Foundation, the Dallas Austin Foundation, the Keri Hilson Foundation, and anybody around me who had a foundation.

We had about 150 girls come from all over the country with the Girl Scouts. They were teenagers then and now that they are women, many of them are still with the program. I called the Earthly Girl camp Uniquely me and told them we’re gonna make clothes, we’re gonna put you we’re going to have our own style, we’re going to do things for the earth and clean up, do some gardening and some eco-friendly things. We’re going to create a song about change, and it just became bigger than me.

I found a property in Duluth … It was a Montessori school on 12 acres. I mean, it’s it’s the Garden of Eden. Berry trees, pear trees, apples. I thought ‘How can I pull this off?’ So I called Eric who is now my husband and team helped me buy other properties, which is where my recording studio is.

So after 10 years of being there, he just retired to really pour into our community, our Earth Angel community. And it’s just been, I mean, we have brands like Toyota, Constellation Brands, all these wonderful brands that are coming together to help support these camps that we do monthly, some of them on mental health, some of them on art therapy, some are on how to make money in the music industries. Some are just Hey, girl, here’s a safe place to record because there are none.