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Taking charge

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Taking charge

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The word fear is not in Tenille Doyle’s vocabulary. If it was much that she would have accomplished within the past seven years, she would not dared to do.
Now, the tenacious Ms Doyle has helped to launch the career of Barbadian crooner Hal Linton, and she now runs a full-service management company which is helping to make artistes from the Caribbean region household names in North America.    
“I run a full-service management label which also has a record label attached to it, MIM Records, which stands for Made in March,” Tenille said.?It’s more like a Caribbean label with a lot of international appeal.?We have talent from Barbados, Trinidad, St Lucia, Antigua . . . these are multi-genre talents.” 
Perhaps she was inspired by?Rihanna’s success, but Tenille is determined to forge a path for herself.
Getting to this point wasn’t an easy task for Tenille who went against the better wishes of her family in going to New York.  
“Initally my mum was like ‘you’re crazy Tenille, you’re supposed to be a lawyer’,” she said. “My family had high expectations of me especially in the corporate world.”
First she transplanted herself from a comfortable life in Barbados, working at a career in public relations, to follow a dream.
“When I left Barbados, I felt like it was now or never,” she revealed. “If I didn’t step out then and be bold and take that step I never would hav done it.”    
Her first night in New York landed her at a BET?awards show, where Tenille made business contacts with several key players in the music industry. But after that night and that small taste of the lure of the music industry,?Tenille knew that she could never go back to her old life.
“I met the same A&R guy who is involved with Hal’s project at Universal that night. I sent in my resignation afterwards,” she said. “I felt bad at the time, but at the same time it was my life.”
Soon afterwards Tenille got a call from Hal Linton asking her to manage him.
“I went to New York before Hal  . . .,” she recalled. “I wasn’t managing artistes at that time, I was more into public relations but I had this knack for business. People were sending Hal contracts and he was sending them to me. 
“So eventually I said okay I’ll manage you and I started out with three partners then. I was up there by myself . . . . I was 21, Caribbean, black . . . but I met a lot of great people and made a lot of contacts.”
Tenille’s hard work paid off because it got Hal noticed by Universal Motown that signed Hal to a million-dollar deal, following in the footsteps of other recording artistes like Shontelle, Vita Chambers and Livvi Franc.
“I don’t do day-to-day on Hal anymore but I’m still on his management team,” Tenille revealed. 
In fact, she and Hal are business partners with MIM Records. 
“That was the plan from the beginning,” she said. “It’s a chance to help other artistes in the region. Hal and I sat down and felt we could give a lot of other people opportunity. For me these are the creme de la creme of Caribbean talent.”
Many of the artistes that Tenille is working with now approached her during her early days in New York.
“I’ve known all the artistes for about six years, but I was so focused on getting Hal out there that I told them, let me get Hal up and then I can work with you and they stuck around,” she said.
Many of them are hoping that the same magic Tenille used with Hal she can repeat with them.
“I recognize what Rihanna has done . . . .She is the biggest artiste in the world right now. But we also have a talent pool in the Caribbean that is virtually untapped,” Tenille said. “So the market was wide open for me.”
Working with artistes, while it may sound exciting, can be a tedious and costly exercise with very little returns in the early stages.
“The start-up is horrendous, all costs are at me,” Tenille revealed about the record label. “Most artistes don’t have money to support themselves. For the last seven years I’ve been doing this full-time. I support myself because I’m a business person at the end of the day. I get out there in the private sector and I try to  market the artiste and raise funds.”
Tenille has been very fortunate to work with the Barbados Tourism Authority and Invest Barbados in helping to achieve many of her goals. 
“We did the BET Rising Icons here and the Jet Blue Launch where Hal performed the night before,” Tenille said. “I try to marry other sectors with entertainment so that we can get some cash flowing into the entities.”
Deflecting the noise of naysayers hasn’t been easy, especially when others were trying to sway her to more practical professions. But Tenille credits her faith in God for keeping her grounded and helping her stay true to herself and her dreams.
“If you asked me how I got paid in the last seven years, I’d have to say God,” she said. “With my family and friends and everybody saying ‘Girl you crazy’, but I believe in myself and my abilities.
“I’m more mature, wiser and I’m living my dream. I’m a risktaker, naturally. Spiritually I’ve grown because I’ve had to rely on God for everything. Many days I laid down on my pillow and cried because I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I think that true friendship, family and God brought me through.” 
With Hal established,?Tenille  is looking to put MIM Records and the Caribbean on the international stage in a major way. In fact later this year, she plans to bring the official Caribbean Music Awards to Barbados.
“I started with a love for radio, which evolved into a love for music and eventually a love for the business,” she said. “My vision now is to marry music and tourism.”