Business lessons from Jack Parow

Zander Tyler, better known by his stage name Jack Parow, is currently one of South Africa’s most popular artists. This often controversial rapper has managed to build a hugely successful music career, while also diversifying into other products such as his own barbecue sauce. How we made it in Africa asks him about the secrets to success in the music business and how he invests his money.

Jack Parow

Before your music became really popular you had a normal day job. How did you decide to take the leap and go into music full time?

Well I pretty much decided that if I ever wanted to do it now was the time. I had been getting some good feedback on the music I was doing and had a core group of fans. So I just decided that I’m going to try my best to make it work and if it doesn’t, at least I tried. Luckily it worked.

You have been doing music full time for a while now. Is it starting to feel like actual work?

Ha ha. It kind of is the hardest job I’ve actually ever had – and I’ve had a job loading fish onto trucks at a factory, which was really terrible. But yes, it’s a 24/7 job. It never stops, so all the travel and the late nights and the interviews and shoots, etc. sometimes gets to me. But still I wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s the best job ever.

Is Jack Parow a business?

Yes. Making music has become a business, or it has probably always been one, but these days it has become much more so. There is obviously always still the artistic side and the love for music that drives it, but you need to look at it as a business when making decisions so that it can build up to where it should be and not just fizzle out like a lot of bands do.

You have also launched your own barbecue sauce. Tell us more about this. What does it take to launch a successful food product?

I always believe that when putting out any product it must firstly be of the best quality available and secondly it must tie into your brand and fit with what you are about. The braai (an Afrikaans word meaning barbecue) sauce was a good fit and the product itself is the best out there.

I was obviously a huge part of the tasting and creation process of the sauce, as well as its packaging and look. From there on I have pretty much just been handling the marketing of the sauce, while the distribution and administration is done by others involved.