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“Radio Has To Respect The Streets”: Daniel “A1” Hayes On How Urban Radio Really Works

Daniel “A1” Hayes is the newly-minted Urban Promotions Coordinator at RCA Records. He’s the man in charge of getting the label’s hip-hop and R&B records played on the radio. So when you hear artists like A$AP Rocky, Usher, R. Kelly, and Jamie Foxx during your morning commute, you have Hayes and his team to thank.

While still young, Hayes comes to the job with a ton of experience working with independent promotion companies and labels like Warner and Atlantic. We called him up to discover how to get songs on the radio, why terrestrial radio is still important in today’s rapidly changing music business, and the reason why the story behind the song is often just as important as the song itself. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Hayes holding his plaque for French Montana’s song “Pop That,” which he helped turn into a radio smash.

Forbes: I was looking over your history, and I saw you worked with Lester Pace. He’s a legend in Houston for working on Kidz Jamm, which was the first hip-hop radio show in that city. Did he tell you any stories about his Houston days?

Daniel “A1” Hayes: Yes he did! And he worked for [Houston-based record label] Rap-A-Lot as well, so I’m very familiar with Sir Pace, as they used to call him back then. [Laughs]

F: But by the time you were working for him, he wasn’t doing that stuff anymore.

DH: Right. By the time I got to Lester, he was already at Interscope, but he also had his promotion company Setting the Pace Promotions up and running.

Read full article at on Forbes.com