The Music Mogul: Paul Tao
Somewhere in Georgia is a dusty yearbook in which Paul Tao’s “Most Likely” isn’t that he would grow up to be a music mogul — yet he did — and we’re beaming with pride. Name something cool going on in music in L.A., and Tao seems to have a hand in it. Whether that’s repping breakout bands like Salem, or hosting your favorite eastside hip-hop party, he’s on it. Even after a lovely interview and email exchange, we have no idea how the co-owner of IAMSOUND Records does it all, but have a hunch it’s got something to do with good old honest-to-goodness love of music. When we asked him what he’s currently excited about in sound, he waxed poetic, “I really love the music scene here because it reflects the growing diversity of the city. L.A. has gone through phases of being known for certain kinds of music, but right now you can't really nail down any one genre, which is what I love.” That’s what we call passion!
Tao’s no stranger to hard work, either: He did double duty in undergrad as a poli-sci major at USC, making the jump from posting on message boards and his blog before deciding to make music his vocation after graduation. Yet, he still says some of his best professional experience came from canvassing for a non-profit. “It forced me to learn how to talk to strangers, make great arguments, and get along with people in order to get things done!”
—Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Hair by Jacquie Fetch, makeup by Mayera Abeita and Ali Magee.