What do we as millennials define as a power couple? One that has over 100k subscribers on their cute YouTube channel that actually makes you want to go out on food tours around the city? What about that couple that always posts Instagram pictures in matching outfits using #BlackLove as their caption? We certainly can’t rule out the fictitious couple on our favourite binge worthy series who always fight but can never seem to end it - also known as the couple we love to hate and hate to love.
While perfection is relative, the key components to a healthy relationship are standard: trust, commitment, friendship, communication and honesty. CEO of The Lotus Agency Ariel Adams and founder of Seven Records OYABUN are redefining work hard, play hard and setting the bar high for young couples making it in the big city.
SB: Prior to living in New York City, what were your living situations and how was your community?
Ariel: Before moving to Brooklyn, I was studying at the University of Miami. I lived in a dorm throughout my entire college experience. I had roommates for the first three years and then lived by myself my senior year, which was great. I had a whole place to myself! After college, I lived with my parents for a few months before making the decision to move with OYABUN and his producer, Peter, to Oya’s hometown.
OYABUN: I went to Florida Atlantic University and commuted from my parents’ home in West Palm Beach to Boca Raton, FL. I grew up in Brooklyn however, born and raised.
SB: I know that you, Ariel, are the founder of The Lotus Agency, and you, Oyabun, are the founder of Seven Records. Tell us more about your business ventures.
Ariel: I started my management company, The Lotus Agency right after I graduated in 2016. I started it because I was managing OYABUN and I wanted to make things official. Graduating with a BA in Entrepreneurship, it made sense to begin the entrepreneurial journey. I currently manage two artists and train others to manage clients as well.
OYABUN: I started Seven Records to provide artists with an opportunity. We founded it May of this year. Currently in the midst of talking to a few new artists, so stay tuned for what’s happening next for the label.
SB: Knowing that you two live together, what is it like living with bae who is also a business partner of yours?
OYABUN: An amazing experience. We decide when we want to work or when we want to be a couple, a luxury most other couples I’m sure don’t have. I trust her more than anyone in the world, it’s a luxury we get to live and work together at the same time.
SB: What are some of the things that you like most about living with one another?
Ariel: I like that I have a partner 24/7. We deal with everything together. We bounce off all ideas with each other and always have an open dialogue. We truly tackle the world together, I know it’s a blessing that not many 20-something-year-olds have. We go from business partners to boyfriend/girlfriend in the same day. We can go from a business meeting to a date. Also, Andrew really knows how to cook! And I always have a binge-watching friend.
SB: Any pet peeves?
Ariel & OYABUN: No pet peeves. But sometimes there’s no off switch to the business side. We have to remind ourselves to set boundaries and make sure to separate our relationship from work. It’s easy to get caught up and have our conversations get taken over by business.
SB: What made New York City your target for your music industry takeover? Why not Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, or any of the other music industry hubs in the nation?
OYABUN: Urban music started in New York. I’m also from here, so I’m familiar with the city. It’s my hometown. I’d rather be in a place I know, then to go somewhere else. They always say if you make it here, you can make it anywhere.
Ariel: I considered the other cities, but I’ve always been in love with NY. Not to mention, all the major record labels are based here. It made sense to do. So many people to connect with, different demographics to reach out to, etc. Plus, I like up North more than the South. I’m from the DMV so I’m used to the pace us Northerners have. It’s something I’ve always liked.
SB: When signing new artists to either Seven [Records] or Lotus [Agency], how do you go about searching for new talent? Are there certain spots around the city that you go to when scouting?
Ariel: For my situation, I’ve signed artists I’ve believed in. That’s the first rule. I back anything I see potential in. That person has to make me believe in them too, it’s a two-way street. The second person I signed, Enrich, was a part of Andrew’s rap group in college. I saw his talent first hand and wanted to back that. There are certain factors I also consider, like work ethic, determination, branding, and talent of course.
OYABUN: No, there aren’t any places we go to when looking for talent in particular. Talent usually finds us. Our network gives us people that we take interest in. We provide a sanctuary for creatives to thrive, so it’s always good people that come our way. It’s never been a “search”. And I sign people off of gut instinct.
SB: How did moving to NYC help your career in the music industry? Do you feel as though it’s more competitive out here to make a name for yourselves?
OYABUN: It’s competitive everywhere, but NYC has the most resources. I’d rather be here than anywhere else fighting for my career.
Ariel: NYC opened me up to different people, different ideologies. NYC is a representation of the world – it cultured me. It’s given me something no other city could.
SB: What are some hacks that you would suggest to aspiring singers, rappers, producers, entrepreneurs when wanting to break out into the industry?
Ariel: I’d suggest to really look at yourself in the mirror and ask how badly do you want it? How much will you sacrifice? How far do you want to go? How big do you see yourself? Self-evaluate. Would someone else want to back you? Is there someone else who wants it more than you? If you answer those questions in the right way, there’s no stopping you. And there’s no hack to tell you. You got it.
OYABUN: Stop taking short cuts. Stop asking for a hand out. Do all the work yourself because no one will work for you how you would work for you. Practice every day. Write down your ideas. Practice the law of attraction.
SB: What would you say to Millennials and Generation Z who want to start their own businesses and live on their own in the city?
OYABUN: Do it. Because there’s no better time than now. Spend time on your craft. Put in your 10,000 hours and maybe try moving in with a friend first.
Ariel: Patience. Patience. Patience. You need that, 100%. Realize that it’s a journey and it will suck until you get comfortable. You’ll need a good support network. Be prepared.
SB: How about to people who think they’re ready to move in with their significant other?
Ariel: I’m not one for dating advice, butttttt if you’re ready you’re ready. No regrets.
OYABUN: Practice staying together for a month first and make sure it’s something you want to do.
You can follow Ariel on Instagram @ohwellariel, as well as her entertainment management company, @thelotusagency. OYABUN can be found at @WhoIsOyabun on Instagram - and make sure to give Seven Records a follow too to keep updated on everything the label has to offer!