Photo by Daniel Prakopcyk
Our next 'Woman To Watch' is one of our industry favorites, Gelareh “G” Rouzbehani. Her infectious energy and willingness to love others immediately made us a huge fan and we're happy to share her story with others.
Gee was born in Iran and immigrated to America in 1995. After receiving her BA in Psychology, she began working in music publishing and went on to receive her MA in Business Psychology - all while working full-time at Columbia Records in A&R. FULL. TIME.
At Columbia, she worked on notable urban & pop projects from Beyonce to Juicy J. She was one of the first A&Rs on Travis Scott, Daniel Caesar, and Jessie Reyez. After 4.5 years at the label, Gee went on to start her own company, Rouz Group Inc. She manages artists, writers and producers who have worked on Grammy nominated projects including the recent Best Rap Album nominee, Astroworld and Best Urban Contemporary Album (Bey/Jay), amongst many.
We sat down with Gee to talk a little more about her story, advice she has for young entrepreneurs, and some of her favorite artists at the moment.
Talk to us a little about you + your journey. How did you started Rouz Group, Inc?
I was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to America, with my parents, in 1995. It’s never an easy or ideal situation to leave your home, a place of comfort, for somewhere new. It was definitely a culture shock learning a new language, a new way of dress, foods, etc...but we made it happen.
My parents worked their ass off to provide for me and my brother. It was humbling to experience it and I think that is what has instilled my work ethic from day one. There are a lot of small details in my journey which would take years to write but in short, I went to college and got my undergrad in Psychology. Education is something that’s always been important to me. I knew I wanted to get my MA but I also wanted nothing more than to be in music.
The first thing my mom did when we moved to the states was put me in piano lessons. I hated having to learn theory and do homework! Now looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It allowed my creativity to come out in different ways - music has always been a huge part of my life and my first love.
After a lot of no’s, I got a yes from Warner Chappell. I was able to learn the fundamentals of publishing. From there, I went to Columbia Records and started working my way up in A&R. I was in grad school while I was at Sony and after 2 years, received my MA in Business Psychology. Three years ago, I left Columbia and started Rouz Group Inc. I wanted to be as close to the art as possible. I love management. I’m still able to A&R but I also have my hand in every aspect of the artist’s career. It’s a lot of work but fulfilling nonetheless.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how have you overcome them?
Of course! Haha. I would be lying if I said it’s been smooth sailing. There are challenges everyday. As I’ve grown and experienced more life, I realize it all comes down to how I react to the challenges I’m faced with and not the actual issues. I think remaining calm, conscious, and not taking things personal are important. I’m proud of my growth.
How do you decide what’s worth fighting for? Not only for yourself but for your artists?
Ooo great question! A lot of it comes down to instincts. When you know yourself well, you know what’s worth fighting for and what’s not. That goes in parallel for my artists as well. I know them and care about their ideas and how they want the world to perceive them. My artists come first! And they’re worth fighting for.
What’s a key piece of advice for a young manager?
Know yourself and trust your instincts. Get out there and hustle. Build genuine relationships and do fair business.
Which artists are you excited for this year?
I’m excited about Fxxxxy - 24 years old from Dallas. A special human. Anthony Saleh and I are managing. I call him the melody God. He’s just so good! He eo-executive produced the last Future project. Excited for the world to know of him.
FRVR Friday is another artist I’m excited about. He’s from Edmonton, Canada. He’s been putting out music on his own, without any of my resources, and organically building a fanbase. I love when it naturally happens.
I also work with some of the most talented producers/ writers ever! They’re killing it right now!