Booking agent Larry Dodson Jr. builds on family roots
ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY: Born into the entertainment industry and after seeing the world with his father, Dodson is well-positioned to help expose other artists.
Carlee McCullough | 6/10/2015, 2:12 p.m.
Memphis has a stellar reputation for introducing great talents to the world. With the help of a great booking agent, acts can receive more exposure with the right bookings. Larry Dodson II, son of The Bar-Kays’ Larry Dodson, has the enviable role of working in the family business, LaMarie’s Entertainment Complex.
Born into the entertainment industry and after seeing the world with his father, Dodson is well-positioned to help expose other artists. Here the younger Dodson shares the story of how he and his family have built a successful agency.
Carlee McCullough: How and when did you discover that there was a need for a booking agency in Memphis?
Larry Dodson Jr.: I felt there was a need for an agency in Memphis when I learned about it while I was in college at Middle Tennessee State (University). When my father … talked about agencies at home after concerts he acknowledged that they were mostly out of New York. He felt that he could do the same thing that they did as a business and be based here in Memphis, especially since he knew most of the artists personally.
C.M.: How did you launch LaMarie’s Entertainment Complex?
L.D.: In 1999, my parents, Larry and Marie Dodson, decided to start an entertainment booking agency and have not looked back since.
C.M.: What does a booking agent do for artists?
L.D.: He or she is responsible for contracting and negotiating rates and venues for performances and appearances for entertainers for typically 10 percent of their fee.
C.M.: What is the current status of the entertainment industry in Memphis?
L.D.: I believe that the industry in Memphis is vibrant yet growing at a slow pace. But we have the most outstanding talent and growth potential in the world.
C.M.: Tell us about your accomplishments as a booking agent?
L.D.: Well, as an agent I’ve been able to give local bands the opportunity to perform on various stages. We’ve been able to offer festivals, casinos and promoters all across the country a reliable source for today’s popular entertainers like Kevin Gates, as well as original bands like The Bar-Kays, Ohio Players, Lakeside, etc.
C.M.: What does it take to maintain the business?
L.D.: It takes a great team, which comes from excellent leadership.
C.M.: What inspired you to get into the booking business?
L.D.: Other than my parents taking the lead, knowing how lucrative it can be, especially being based in Memphis, was my inspiration.
C.M.: As a member of The Bar-Kays, your father has been in the entertainment business all of your life. How did you decide to venture on the business side rather than the performance side of the industry?
L.D.: I realized a while back that entertainers like my dad live for the stage. Doing good business and having a great booking agent is what keeps entertainers working and making money on stages all around the world. That’s what I wanted to do.
C.M.: What are the necessary elements that go into a successful booking agency?