DeMario "Skorp" Warren was born in Andalusia, Alabama, home of Robert Horry. Today, he lives in Evansville, Indiana, and works full time in a cubicle just like many other millennials. It's what DeMario does in his off time that inspired me to tell you his story. You see, as long as I've known DeMario, he has worked tirelessly to make other's dreams come true. Through hard work and his not-for-profit organization, Even Me, DeMario has helped a diverse group of artists from rockers, to hip hop, to r&b, DeMario is not afraid to take on any musical genre, oftentimes performing himself.
DeMario took some time to sit down with me to discuss his nonprofit. I'm thrilled to introduce the best that millennials have to offer - a humble, talented, and very cool man.
What is Even Me, at its roots?
At its roots... Hmm. Thinking about it, I guess it's more like a type of ministry than anything. By ministry I mean an opportunity to get to know people for who they really are and care for that. Oftentimes I get to find out why dreams are dreamed and that's always a very rich experience. It helps me understand what I need to do or feel about the music an artist is trying to share with the world. Then I help people realize how small the gap is between the everyday Joes and the stars on the red carpet. In this life I very well could have been the P. Diddy and the P. Diddy could have been the one wishing he was me. My point and purpose being summed up as, With the right ingredients (and lots of honesty) anyone can accomplish anything. Even me.
Outside of the caring portion it's an an artist development program designed to do the development that record labels are no longer interested in doing. It's a fact. Record labels no longer want spend money developing. At the same time, new artists will always need some kind of development so we provide that support. We also look to find opportunities for the artist to get out there while they're waiting for deals and gigs to come their way. It's really awesome.
What inspired you to do this?
I had a dream of music without limits. I felt like the most important limitations are in the area of knowledge and opportunity. If only I could build something that would hand off basic industry knowledge to the next person so everyone didn't have to start over at square one. Wouldn't that be amazing!? Think about it. There's nothing more costly or more free than knowledge. It's like the only thing that can be both costly and free. Instead people are hit with a marketing ploy or tuition just learn how to use the tools to discover themselves. Having grown up poor I didn't think that was completely fair and so I wanted to do something about it.
Does it cost?
For the learning portion, No. It's something I love to do for those who are willing to learn. Later down the road there will have to be a cost in order for me to be available to grow the concept and maintain the equipment. However, I'm stubborn and I don't want to do that yet.
For the extra work yes. Oftentimes I'll come across artists uninterested in the learning portion just looking for a home base to work out of so there is an equipment and room rental fee. Similarly, I bring other skills to the table such as mixing and mastering so if a person wants a quality product while their at it then they can request my help. Typically I find great trade-offs to save them tons of money (cutting their overhead!) and everybody ends up happy.
Do you make money?
Yes. Not as much as I could be making, but there is so much untapped. At first I was really shy when it started to produce business for me personally because I have the mind to help people not hurt people. Now I accept money only when the facility is greatly in need of something. It quickly turned into a great way to keep investing in the program to cover our needs. Once I learned that it is actually ok to make money in a non-profit, as long as it's within the business model, then I began to explore many other ways to generate revenue to keep the doors open. Upon further research I learned that it's a positive thing to have a non-profit capable of sustaining itself! So my good intentions fit snugly with all the rules and regulations.
How many artists do you have collaberating?
I have seen, to date, approximately 80 artists come through the doors and record something with me. I don't really advertise and I am thankful for it. That's a lot of work!
Who writes the harmony/melody for the songs?
Usually the artists. Often times I will assist but I must be clear that I never assume control of the artists creative expression. When someone is really struggling I'll bring in another artist that I've worked with to help out or pay it forward. The program as this synergy that makes in feed off of itself.
Do you promote the artists?
Yes! It is very exciting and troublesome as it's the area where I'm usually overextended until we grow some more. I love finding venues, opportunities, management/record deals for artists. The more people that I help go to the next level the better for those to come.
Is Even Me local only? Or can anyone work with you?
Up until this summer Even Me was specific to Evansville only. But now the method is ready to extend beyond these city lights to other places.
How can people get in touch with you?
I can be reached via the Even Me Facebook page, my personal Gmail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Far too often we get caught up in the negative press, and what's wrong with the world. Every now and then, we need stories like DeMario's to inspire us. Knowing that there are people out there that truly want to help and teach others to achieve their dreams is just the fresh air that I need to breathe.
Check out more of Even Me's work here.