We had the good fortune of connecting with Kalvin Peary and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kalvin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I was in the 7th grade, I borrowed $150 from my mom to throw a backyard party. I promised to pay her back. I bought boxes of candy, popcorn, blank CDs to make a playlist for the night, and a few decorations. I charged all of my friends from school – $5 for girls and $7 for guys to party in my backyard. Ultimately, I made about $35o and was able to pay my mom her money back. That night I asked my mom if I could throw another and before she could answer, I told her “I made $200.. I can use my own money this time”. It took some convincing but she said yes. Over the course of the school year, I’d made enough money throwing parties, movie nights, and selling candy that I was able to invest into buying my own event equipment to avoid renting it – speakers, tents, tables, chairs, smoke machines, strobe lights, popcorn machines, and a movie projector. Eventually, the events got too big for my mom’s house. At the last house party, I remember my mom called my uncles to do security and I had about 400 people in my backyard, and a line of about 300 more lined up the street hoping to get in. The party was shut down by the police & I received a fine from the city. My mother was actually the one who told me I should continue promoting events. I started booking local ballrooms and warehouses. Since I now had to pay for a venue, I needed to figure out how to upcharge for entry so I started having local artists perform and bring their friends. It grew from there. The rest is history.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been extremely blessed in my career thus far. I started promoting in my mothers backyard – no connections, no industry relationships, and no money. I wouldn’t quite describe the journey as easy. When I finally made the shift from parties to concerts, I didn’t have enough money so I called my bank and every credit card company I could think of and applied for credit cards. I had about 10 or 11 credits cards with limits ranging from $500 up to $5,200. I maxed out all of my cards through cash advances and swiping my cards on a Square card reader. I’d take the money and place deposits on venues, pay DJ’s, and book local artists. If a show flopped, I’d have to work for the year to pay off my cards, which ultimately explains the long gaps in between shows when I first started. I wouldn’t quite reccomend others doing the same but it’s the only option I really had. I remember once I booked a show and the venue went bankrupt so I had to cancel the show when the artist refused to switch venues so I lost my money. I won’t say who the artists is, but I will say I sold everything I could get my hands on to recoup for another show. In 2014, I paid a frudulent booking agency money to book Nipsey Hussle. The show was almost sold out when I saw a tweet from Nipsey stating he wouldn’t be at the show. I was devastated. I was lucky enough to get my money back and be introduced to the correct agent through Nipsey and his team but I might’ve called his agent literally 40 times and emailed 10 times before he finally agreed to re-book my show. I remember he said “dude, you’ve officially reached crazy stalker level” & I just said “but we have a deal, right?” That’s all I cared about. I’ve gone on to continue producing my owns shows, book for college campuses, book for festival promoters, and even partner with venues on residency and co-promotion deals. I even started a travel agency for touring artists. I work closely with a number of A-list celebrities and tour managers to book group accomodations for artists when they’re on the road – flights, hotels, ground transportation, and private flights. I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m really excited about what the future holds. I’m open to opportunity and always looking for projects that inspire me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I grew up in LA so my ideal week is certainly not at home. My life in LA is very busy and there’s lots of noise – clubs, bars, restaurants, and lots of meetings. As much as I love LA, I’m always looking for an excuse to get out of the city if I’m not working so here’s my perfect scenario: a week in Palm Springs, no itinerary. Wake up when you feel like it, have a light breakfast, sit outside by the pool with a mimosa and a joint, play your music, and relax. Uber to lunch at a Mexican restaurant so you can enjoy a couple of margaritas. Go back to my room and either take a nap or watch a game. Shower before dinner and enjoy a steak and a glass of wine or two. You can wrap the night up with a cigar in the yard and some music to wind down. Go with the flow, don’t worry about time or clocks. Do it again the next day. I’m a simple man.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Huge shout out to my friends, family, and business partners for always supporting me in everything I do. I’m really fortunate to have great friends and partners who keep me inspired, motivated, push me to set ambitious goals. There are too many people to name so I’ll just say my ‘close friends’ – they all know who they are.
Instagram: pearyentertainmentgroup & uncle.kal