1998. The record label was a huge success. Matt now saw a sudden renewed interest in his music. His legacy.
Once again, he was enjoying a platinum run on all his albums. New videos for old songs were being made. The old concert footage was still just as popular, but he felt the videos needed to be updated. Brought into the 90s with a flair.
He released a greatest hits compilation to cap it all off. And a new solo album. He had plans to release new material each year for another five or ten years. And he knew he would.
With Juanita’s blessing, he did limited concerts. Special concerts. And she went with him. Appeared with him on stage. They even began to record a family Christmas together. T-Bone and Lilianne were also included in on the project, though Lilianne declined to sing. She became co-producer and main engineer.
Each of Matt’s brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and children came in and joined in the frivolity. He was even able to get his Aunt Shasta to do so as well. It truly grew into a family affair. In January, Tyrell suggested the addition of a television and film division. The music label was doing a lot better than the projections had predicted, and he felt that the time might be right to expand their markets. And Matt agreed. He, too, felt that it was time to make a move and grow. And so they did.
They found a young, hungry television executive who knew the business well named Devin Harpshire. Devin had just been released from his contract with a major network and was now looking for more fertile grounds to establish himself on. And he did with Matt and T-Bone. Tyrell did all the legal arranging and made sure Devin was on the up-and-up. Then, together, they all three began building the television production division.
On an off-chance, Devin mentioned a young movie producer in search of a permanent home. Frankie Harrell was a protege of another-older, more established-movie producer who had fallen out of favor with his mentor. Needing a new start, a fresh start, Frankie had contacted Devin before he was let go at the network. Now, he would have his chance to shine. The fourth piece had finally fallen into place.
Matt and Tyrell called Frankie in, just as they had Devin. An easy shoo-in, Frankie made a huge impression on both men. they had found their film producer. Again, T-Bone did the legal work and the deal was signed. And the company still remained largely a family enterprise.
Devin stumbled upon the Christmas recordings and made a suggestion. How about making a holiday special based around this music? and why couldn’t they televise it and then offer it for sale once it had been shown? They could make a special every year with different music. Or produce such a special for other talent on the roster.
And so, as Christmas time drew near, the special was being filmed. Devin had begun promotion on it well before it was time, and they knew that it would be finished on time to release it to the stations a week before the holidays. Having filmed it in June and July, it was now going through the final rounds of editing and packaging. They would own the airwaves.
Happiness had stalled his drinking out. He rarely drank anymore. Hell. Even at premiere parties, he turned down the champagne.
Life was good. Business was even better. And love, it seemed was here to stay. Fate had finally smiled on him. Or God. Whichever it was.
He wouldn’t discount either. Both were equally important. Both tended to take a hand in the lives of humans often. Maybe he had finally done something to be rewarded for.
His children were all growing. His oldest were now in college and on their way to being successful. His youngest were still crawling around and exploring the world for the first time. He was a proud father with a growing family. He only hoped that they would all succeed in their pursuit of happiness.
He knew that happiness could be attained, he was living proof. He also knew that success didn’t always make a person happy. He had proved that as well. But when the universe was in balance, and everything was as it should be, that was when you found peace and happiness. And he had.
Professionally. Personally. Internally. Everything was balanced and at peace.
He knew that he would begin seeing greater successes before the next few years were out. But those didn’t count. Not yet. Only their current successes meant anything.
The music their label put out was winning awards. It was heard everywhere. In movies. On television. On the radio. At sports functions.
Their popularity continued to grow with every song, every album, and every artist they discovered. There was no way to go but up. RCA and Capitol sent spies to figure out what their secret to success was. As did Warner Brothers and Columbia. Yet, their spies went back as empty handed as they had come in.
Matt and T-Bone wouldn’t give away trade secrets. Neither would Devin or Frankie. The four men were secretive about everything, though they remained open to each other and the women. Nothing went out that came in. Except the bewildered spies.
But their secret really wasn’t a secret. It was just good business sense. Common sense. Instinct.
It was something that the big companies had grown too big to use. Or even to contemplate. It was about being big enough to compete, while remaining small enough to be able to handle promotion of all artists and productions. It was just a version of the KISS principle. They kept it all simple enough that there were never any big problems. Small problems could be handled easily enough.
Things, it seemed could only get more interesting. More amazing. More successful. More surreal. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.