Courtney “O.C.” Smith is a passionate woman that enjoys helping people from all walks of life through an array of endeavors. Though Courtney loves being involved with household names, she understood you cannot be Legendary until you CREATE!!! Courtney relentlessly sets out to break an Artist. Developing and breaking an Artist is not an easy fete.

Can you tell us, who is Courtney “O.C.” Smith and what does “O.C.” stand for?

Courtney and O.C. definitely are different. But OC is really an acronym for my core group of girlfriends from High School. The “Original Clique”. The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is a really cliquish society. So, you always have your clique of people. The O.C. was and has been mine since I was like 13 years old. I continued the name into adulthood. Though my friends prefer to be the very low key they still follow and support the movement.

As a child, what was your dream career?

As a child, my career dream was to be a teacher. Playing school and house was what I did, religiously. I would line my dolls up and set up a chalkboard. I grew up with all boys so I would beg them to play with me they would cooperate, sometimes. I still have a lot of my favorite dolls.

When did you realize that you wanted to change career paths and what motivated that change?

I actually went to school for Liberal Arts. I was a babysitter, a nanny at one point and some of my most notable clients in Entertainment happen to be children and people under age 25. I had three clients from Lifetime Television’s “The Rap Game”. I work with schools and community organizations a lot still til this very day. All and all, I don’t feel like I really “changed” paths. Maybe the formal titles changed. Artist Development and Brand Strategy are definitely LOTS of teaching. 

My business also runs from my home mostly, I cook and clean EVERY DAY (that I’m not traveling). I still playhouse, and I also create a “home/family environment” with those I work with. I come from a family that is both creative and entrepreneurial, so what I do now is really what I’ve done my whole life. I remember being 5 years old and my grandparents teaching me how to make conference calls and host dinners. This has always been my life to some degree.

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration that led you to move forward and follow your dreams?

Early on when I was exploring the idea of the Entertainment business, BT Kingsley who is an Actor and Comedian truly let me know I can do this. BT Kingsley coined my name OC and “Ocean” actually. Also, an older lady that prefers to stay behind the scenes told me more about how to make money, which is something NO ONE in this business tells you. 

Later on, I re-emerged onto the scene kind of unsure of what to do and I literally bumped into Birchell Glenn from POWTV. Birchell Glenn, or Birch as I call him, really helped guide me through alot of uncertain times. He’s always there for me whenever I need him, no matter the situation.

What are your thoughts regarding mentors, and did you have mentors when you shifted to stepping out on your own?

I feel like I’ve never truly had a mentor. I would like one, most of what I’ve learned has been trial, error, and LOTS OF RESEARCH. I also feel like I’ve kinda always “been on my own”. The only person in Entertainment that I can talk about ANYTHING with openly is Birchell Glenn. I feel like mentoring me maybe not be easy for someone because I grow really really really fast. I also am not resigned to one lane. If I had to choose mentors, I think Elena Cardone, Michelle Obama, Ivanka Trump, Kim Kardashian, and Marlo Hampton could best understand my life path.

You’ve worked with a few major artists and brands. Can you tell us about those experiences?

My favorite celebrity to have on a project is Future. I don’t know him well he’s close friends with one of my clients, but he’s always extremely humble, friendly, charismatic, and respectful of all the women working around us. It never feels “politicky” working around him. We had an impromptu video shoot with scenes in a backyard in a notorious neighborhood in Atlanta on a 90 plus degree sunny day with mosquitoes biting everybody FOR HOURS. Future was very nice, and did everything I asked him, no questions asked. Also, no special requests and he did not complain. Though I don’t “know him” I’ve had like five projects (or more) where he’s somehow apart and he’s the same all the time. He’s friends with a lot of my friends and a client of several of my colleagues everybody literally says the same thing about him.

How long had you been working within artist management and public relations before you knew it was time to launch your firm Bracey & Co.? 

My firm still hasn’t technically “launched”, it is a real business though. However, Bracey & Co. has existed for about 2 1/2 years now. We hope to have a launch in fall/winter 2021.

Can you tell us about what Bracey & Co. specializes in?

Bracey & Co. Specializes in Publicity, Artist Management, and Brand Strategy.

With the many amazing clients and brands you work(ed) with, are there any clients or brands that you would still like to work with within some capacity?

Yung Smilez and Worldwide Wednesday are MY Artists. I’ve been with them from song number one and through lots of life changes. To some degree, it feels like we’re “growing up” together. No matter what I’ll support them in whatever capacity is needed. Cartel Dough and Lil Freaky I consider “da guys”. Cartel Dough has really become probably the only man o can say is REALLY a friend of mine. Whatever they need they can call me and vice versus. I never really say “no” to celebrity projects but having a celebrity full time is more demanding than my lifestyle can handle.

Knowing that many have been affected by the pandemic, can you tell us a bit about how you kept your clients positive and creating during the pandemic?

I always say the pandemic gave me PTSD. Living in a world of Soo much uncertainty has been daunting. However, I kept a poker face for Yung Smilez and Worldwide Wednesday. I always try to keep them involved in something. “The show must go on.”

Where would you like to see Bracey & Co. in the 5 years?

I would like Bracey & Co. to be its own brand fully independent without me. I have not been the face of Bracey & Co., nor do I plan to be. With a full-time team of employees.

We all need to have some type of balance in our lives. How do you successfully balance your family and work life with such a demanding career?

I don’t feel like it’s a career at all. Careers and jobs are something you clock in and out of. ANYBODY who’s experienced any level of success in Entertainment understands this is more of a lifestyle. However, I have created hours specifically for the “work”.

Monday through Friday – 12pm -4pm Eastern Time.

What would you like viewers to gain from the story and experience that was shared?

I would like women specifically to know it’s ok to just follow what feels good to you unapologetically without putting limitations on yourself.

What advice would you give someone that may be interested in stepping out and starting a career in artist management or public relations?

First, I would ask “how badly do you really want it?”. Secondly, have an objective of some sort. My objective and goal were never to “stay” in one position nor one space. Third, ALWAYS focus on the results. Sometimes you might have to take .5 x 4 to equal 2… it’s not always going to be 1+1 equals 2. Other times you might need to borrow 1 and then add your 1 to equal two. You might rearrange and divide 100 by 50 to equal two. That’s okay! It’s nobody’s business how you make it happen. Just make sure you get your two.

How can people connect with you and everything you have going on?

People can connect with me personally on my Instagram. If they’d like to follow the journey of the business Bracey& Co. I HIGHLY suggest following us on Instagram.

Featured Image provided by Courtney “O.C.” Smith