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July 11, 2014

New Castle native goes from pizza person to Pittsburgh promoter

NEW CASTLE — The words “elevator music” often are associated with something boring, drab and mundane.

New Castle native Jordan Lyles is working to change that. The 22-year old is a co-owner of the Elevator Music Team, a Pittsburgh-based music promotion company that’s bringing exciting hip-hop acts to Western Pennsylvania and beyond.

Shortly after its founding in 2012 by Ryan Haynes and Grant Glover, Jordan Lyles joined the Elevator Music Team and began working with artists throughout the country. As part of its work, the group handles music promotion, management duties and booking details for various artists.

Lyles and Haynes explained that the Elevator Music Team’s name came after the group coined its slogan, “Heading straight to the top.”

It’s a fitting parallel to Lyles’ story. Prior to joining the business, the 2010 New Castle graduate was working at a Domino’s. Now, 17 months after joining the team, Lyles has been across the country and made contacts in almost every major music market, including New York and Los Angeles.

“We have a lot of connections to where we can call people directly,” Lyles said.

Because of those relationships, Lyles explained that the Elevator Music Team has advantages over other agencies that otherwise would have to use more indirect methods of booking shows for artists.

The team also handles the necessary legal paperwork for artists they represent, including copyrighting lyrics and musical beats, as well as certification with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

That aspect of the business is critical to an artist’s success, Lyles explained. Without that registration and legal documentation, an artists’ work has no protection from copyright infringement, something the RIAA keeps tabs on.

“It’s basically like a Library of Congress for music,” Lyles said.

While the team handles much of the behind-the-scenes work, they also have other ventures that put them at center stage. When he’s not handling work for other artists, Haynes himself works as a disc jockey under the name DJ Afterthought.

Haynes, who’s originally from New Jersey, said he and Lyles had a mutual friend and immediately hit it off when they met.

Lyles also works directly with New Castle-based artist Prince Rock and even has a small offshoot within the Elevator Music Team called Cloud Climbers, a group that specifically works with promoting Prince Rock’s music

Having worked with nationally recognized hip-hop artists such as Mac Miller, French Montana and Bubba Sparxxx, the Elevator Music Team continues growing in its size and scope. But that’s not the only thing Lyles is focused on.

He plans to attend Slippery Rock University and study business management this coming spring. Lyles said he may even go to law school after that, with the intention of studying copyright law. For the more immediate future, Lyles and the Elevator Music Team are planning on taking their talents across The Pond.

Haynes will be performing at the Bestival, a four-day music festival on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. For Lyles, the hop across the Atlantic is only the next step, and he wants to continue improving himself.

“I like making relationships with people that are on the same level or better than me,” he said, adding, “I like being around people that are successful.”

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