Featured Faces: Terrence Shells
Interview by Gina Myers
Photo by Jaime Torres
May 28th, 2009, Carrollton, Michigan

If the name Shells is involved, you can be sure the event will be hot. Pontiac resident and Carrollton native, Terrence Shells is the C.E.O. of L.I.F.E. Music Entertainment, which deals with music, promoting, marketing, modeling, and event planning. L.I.F.E.’s mission is to bring real life experiences and true stories back into hip-hop and music in general. Shells is also known for throwing great parties, like the recent All White Affair which took place on May 23, 2009, at the French Quarters. To keep up to date on the latest from L.I.F.E., visit http://www.myspace.com/officiallifemusicent.

Gina Myers: Where did the idea for L.I.F.E. Music Entertainment come from and how did it come into existence?

Terrence Shells: I was in a hip-hop group called St8uvmind (reads State of Mind) with Sam Hunter. We wanted to start doing more than just make music so we thought we would start a record label, but we could not think of a name. On one of the verses in a song Sam said, “We doing what we spit, we calling it Life Music!” After he said it, I told him that is what he should call the label, Life Music Entertainment. Then he called me a couple of days later and said LIFE should stand for “Lyrics Influenced from Experience.” We started the label in January 2007.

GM: I know you primarily as a party promoter, but L.I.F.E. is involved in a lot of other things, too. What all does L.I.F.E. do?

Shells: We also are a management company. We have a few artists on our roster, Hip-Hop MCs Nae Smiles & Yung Dre tha Hope. The reason they are apart of L.I.F.E. Music is because they talk about real things that are going on in their lives. You really can relate to their lyrics and that is what we are about. We have two deejays—DJ Young Mase & DJ Rock City. DJ Young Mase is the biggest mixtape DJ in the Midwest, and you have never been to a party unless you have been to a DJ Rock City party. Rock City is the best DJ in America...period! I even have a gospel group called The Disciples. All Accapella music. We deal with everything—I even might put out my solo album and manage myself! You heard it hear first...[laughs].

GM:  How do you divide responsibilities with Hunter?

Shells:  Sam moved to Scottsdale, AZ, a couple of years ago so I deal with most of the hands on, day-to-day activities. But if I need any advice on anything or there is something that is on my mind that I think we should do, I always call him first. When the music started going a little slow and I started moving towards the parties, Sam, who is not into the party promotions, was very supportive. Anything that could make L.I.F.E Music better, he was all for it. So, I always call him a “silent partner.” Most people think that L.I.F.E Music Entertainment is just me, but I always let them know that Sam is just as important.

GM: What sort of challenges did you face starting out?

Shells: Throwing parties in clubs with a lot of women around was not something that my wife wanted me to be apart of...[laughs]. But we have come to a mutual agreement and she supports me. Also, being able to promote effectively. Knowing where to promote, where is the best place to have the event, and the kind of crowd you want to attract. Some people feel that you can just find a place, get a DJ, and people will come. That is not the case. I threw a Halloween party at the Players Club in Bridgeport last year and I knew it was going to be packed. I think all of 15 people came. But, that was a lesson learned. It takes a lot of time and effort to make sure you get people out. Facebook and Myspace helps out a lot because it’s free promotion. I study the different promoters around the city, especially DJ Prince and Black Bruce. If it wasn’t for DJ Prince, I may not be doing this interview right now. He taught me where to promote, what would work and what would not work. I just took bits and pieces of what he told me and ran with it. I can't give away all my secrets....

GM:  Even though you live in Pontiac, you still host a lot of events in Saginaw. What do you like most about promoting events in this area? Do you find a lot of support here for what you are doing?

Shells:  I love Saginaw! I was born and raised in Carrollton. Saginaw has been through a lot. So, if I can do anything that can shine a bright light on the city, I have done my job. I feel that I have a lot of support because I was always involved in things when I was younger so I got a chance to meet a lot of people around the city. So, when people see that I am throwing a party, they just come to support what I'm doing, and also people know that if they come to one of my events, they will have a good time.  That is all I can ask for. There is nothing better than a Saginaw party! At every party, I try and go around and thank everyone personally for coming. When people feel appreciated, they will always support.

GM:  What has been your favorite event that you have hosted?

Shells:  Wow...that’s a good question. I would probably have to say the All White Party we just had. It was a very nice crowd and about 95% of everyone who came wore white. The music was great—thanks to DJ Snakes and DJ Prince—and everyone just had a good time! A lot of people tell me that the "Black Party" that I had the day after Thanksgiving last year was their favorite. I think everyone who went to high school in Saginaw from 97-2000 was at that party! It was a big reunion and we had so much fun.

GM:  What events do you have coming up?

Shells: We got a couple of things in the works, but I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet. I will be concentrating on Nae Smiles & Yung Dre's music this summer, so be on the lookout for them. 2009 will be a big year for L.I.F.E Music Entertainment. I want to thank 360MAINst.com for this interview. I really do appreciate it.

© Gina Myers, 2009