Leo Lysius is a Haitian-American music mogul entrepreneur that created his path by using his passion for music to fuel his dreams. He has used his platform MusicXclusives to work with some of your favorite celebrities including Bobby Shmurda, R. Kelly, Foxy Brown & more. SHEEN had to opportunity to speak with him to learn more about his career and future.

What inspired you to create MusicXclusives?

The concept for me creating MusicXclusives came from the late 2000s during the MySpace era right before social media became booming. I’d find myself always discovering new talent via various platforms. At the time, MySpace Music created a space where artists can have separate profiles to highlight their musical catalog. I was always hip to the hottest new talent so I’d feature them through my many channels as a way of supporting but also showcasing them to the world through the internet. Sometimes, if I was a fan, I’d even include blog entries on the artists. I was always passionate about R&B music, so I’d highlight different upcoming solo acts and I was big on boy bands and girl groups so I’d show love to them as well.

How do you discover artists or break new artists into the mainstream music industry?

I’m usually discovering new artists through Spotify, which is the main music streaming platform I use to listen to music. I’ve even tried SoundCloud in the past and I get a lot of email inquiries about new talent through publicists daily about featuring their clients on my platform. If I hear something I like or that stands out, I’ll take an interest or even spotlight them.

 What is your ultimate passion?

That’s a trick question because I’m passionate about a few things, but most importantly, of course, music is at the top of my list. I’m also passionate about photography, and a lot of creative things. These days, I find myself diving more into content creation and development. I’ve been carving out new ideas for podcasts, film segments, and anything about visuals.

How did you find your interest in videography and photography?

High school is where it all began for me. By my sophomore year, I was enrolled in TV Production and I fell in love with cameras, creating short films, and learning how to edit. This was before digital when we had analog. Remember VHS tapes? I’m telling you my age now [laughs]. Photography came about later on in life and I can’t remember exactly when but I had a few photographer friends who I looked up to and admired their work and would go to them for pointers. Ultimately, studio photography and portraiture became my standard over time.

Once I mastered the camera and found my niche, it became innate to me. My first DSLR camera was a Canon before I switched over to Sony. I also learned a lot from YouTube since I didn’t go to school for photography. A lot of practice and test shoots helped me hone my skills behind the lens. But also MusicXclusives is one of the main reasons why I was able to get a lot of opportunities as both a photographer and videographer over the years. I shoot most of the content you see presented, and now you’re about to see my work even more once the digital cover era and relaunch of the brand roll out in the next month or two. I’ll be shooting all of the editorials. We did a soft launch with Florence El Luche from Love & Hip Hop: Miami for May 2023.

Who are the top 3 artists you would like to work with?

Let me think. I’d love to work with Nicki Minaj at some point in my career. I just appreciate what she’s been able to accomplish over the last decade. I love what she has brought to the table as far as females in Hip Hop are concerned; I admire her work ethic and creativity. There’s a new artist named LAYA, I would love the opportunity to create some magic with her. She’s a breath of fresh air and I like her sound. It’s unique, yet it’s so nostalgic and reminiscent of the 90s. I also appreciate what’s happening in the Afrobeat scene right now and would like to collaborate with one of the hottest emerging talents coming out of Nigeria and Ghana. They’re currently dominating!

Who has been your favorite artist(s) you’ve worked with?

I was allowed to work with Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum-selling R&B group 112 when they reunited as a quartet for their comeback in 2017. This was shortly after their appearance on the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour and for their sixth studio album, Q Mike Slim Daron [check the liner notes ]. My favorite boy band growing up so it’s a moment I’ll never forget. I was also blessed to go on the road with rap veteran Foxy Brown back in 2014, another one of my favorites. We’ve lost contact and reconnected over the years. She’s an interesting one, but always great to catch up with. We crack jokes in the DM’s [laughs]. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with rapper Dreamdoll and several others over the years.

What would be the best piece of advice you would give someone trying to get into the music industry?

Stay consistent. Put in the work and make sure you pay your dues. Don’t get in it for the wrong reasons such as chasing fame or clout. Let your intentions for wanting to get into it be pure and that it is something you want to do long-term. Perseverance will pay off in the end. Also, studying your craft, doing your homework, and researching are key. Find out what will set you apart from what’s already out there and how you can uniquely bring something new to the table. The music industry is saturated with too many artists who have a similar sound and image, what will make you stand out? Think of creative ways to make your brand catch people’s attention. Last but not least, choose your TEAM wisely. Every successful artist today has an incredible group of people who play their roles effectively, from business managers to publicists, producers, writers, attorneys, marketing, etc.

What is a motto you use to push through during the hard times?

Prayer gets me through any hard times I may be dealing with. Whenever I’m feeling down or depressed, I tend to sleep a lot. I try to break out of that rut by picking myself up and being creative. Forcing myself out of bed and remembering that I have goals that need to be met. My friends are also my support system during hard times. But I depend on myself to get through any hardship I’m ever dealing with, because, at the end of the day, it’s up to me to make things happen and to push through any challenges I’m facing at the time.

What has been the best experience your brand has brought you?

Since I can’t pick just one experience, I’d have to say some of the best experiences have been being able to impact people’s lives and have created something that provides a platform for artists to pivot to the next level on their journey. But for me personally, the best experience I can say is that I started something back in 2010 that has changed my life forever. It’s so rewarding the people I’ve been able to meet over the years through MusicXclusives and some of the perks that come along with it. It hasn’t been easy but I’m grateful that I never gave up, even when at times it got difficult or frustrating. I’ve been able to inspire a lot of younger people along the way and give back. That’s been the best experience overall.

 What do you see the future of yourself and your company being?

The saga continues. Right now, my company is undergoing a brand new partnership and so there’s a lot in store in the next few months. Look out for the digital magazine approach I mentioned previously, podcast, the relaunch of our website, new initiatives, new media, content developments, etc. I want MusicXclusives to be the main source for all things music and pop culture. I’m also looking forward to working with new artists in the creative space, whether it’s through photography, artist development, and creative direction. I’m also looking forward to working with the record labels on how to bring more attention to the amazing talent that’s out there through my company and brand. And who knows, I may be stepping out in front of the camera very soon. Time will tell. I’m excited for growth, I want to continue my journey in the music industry, as well as the film world. Stay tuned!

Photo Credits: Courtesy of MusicXclusives