Beats to Business: The Multifaceted Journey of King Lelie

Meet King Lelie the multitalented entrepreneur from the Bronx. Learn more about his journey.

3/2/20247 min read

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Meet
King Lelie

NO GATEKEEPING! INTERVIEW

king lelie
king lelie
Thank you for joining me today. Knowing the value of a strong network is something most people look over when starting a business, how do you leverage your network to stay informed about industry trends and opportunities?

I have to give a big shoutout to my team for holding it down. Huge shoutout to Raven, my boy Owen Duncan, who's my top photographer, and my sister, always keeping me in the loop. She was on TikTok way before it blew up in 2019. I remember being clueless about the app until just a couple of weeks ago, maybe even less. It might've been right before we hit the Grammys last week. I only have like three or four posts on there, no joke. I'm not really up to speed on all that stuff. But my daughter, she's twelve, she's always on my case about getting a TikTok. I used to brush it off, but now my team keeps me in the loop. They know what's popping, what's trending, and what's moving on the internet. They're the ones who foresee the next three to six months, and I trust them completely. We're all on the same page, chasing the same goal. It's rare to find friends and family who align so perfectly in vision and ambition. I trust them with that aspect of the business, and I just write it off and approve. Once it's finalized it's a done deal.

Before we dive into the specifics, could you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background and the experiences that have shaped your path in entrepreneurship?

My name is King Lelie. I'm from the Soundview section of the Bronx. I'm a musician, producer, artist , Restaurant owner, clothing line owner, filmmaker writer. Started when I about eight, between ten to twelve years old, I started with music, that's my number one passion, that's what I feel that I've been called on this Earth to do, create music, write music, get together with other people other forms of life, and just create gospel hip hop, as R& B on the rest of our aspect of my life came from my father he's one of the best cooks in New York City I should say always say we started a restaurant in 2005 so. Our family's been in the restaurant business going on 19 years now, so this December we made it 19 years, we had our first restaurant, we have the first black owned seafood, and soul food spot in the history of City Island in the Bronx is predominantly; White ,Italian, n Jewish people. They usually have their restaurants there ,so those are my biggest influences. When it comes to music, my father again did music as well as a young man coming up um he tour with Big Daddy Kane , he had his own label called Strong Armed Productions They were like The Wu-Tang Clan. They had about 20 rappers and you can say all of them were nice, I can't remember one of them being whack you know what I'm. saying, So my father was like my first music teacher.

When it comes to the Gospel aspect of my life, it's deeply intertwined with the influence of my grandmother, a strong Baptist woman who fills me with pride and joy. Though she passed away in 2017, her legacy lives on in me and my siblings, thanks to her unwavering commitment to keeping us rooted in the church. It was through her guidance that I found my musical beginnings, alongside my home pastor, James Morrison, from Martinsville.

I feel like I've been blessed with the best of both worlds - a musical upbringing from my father and other elders in the community, coupled with the entrepreneurial spirit instilled in me by my grandmother and other church members. It's a blend of faith, music, and business savvy that shapes who I am today.

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What inspired you on the path of entrepreneurship, and how has that initial inspiration evolved over time?

I always tell people that entrepreneurship is more than just a career choice; it's a calling. It's a path filled with challenges and stress, and if you don't feel that deep calling within you, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate. Unlike a regular job where you punch in and out for a paycheck, being an entrepreneur means there are days when you feel like you're running on empty, yet you still have to find the drive to keep pushing forward.

For me, it's all about answering that inner call. Ever since I was a kid, I've had this burning desire to be my own boss, to carve out my own path in life. I've never liked the idea of reporting to someone else. I've always wanted to make my mark, not just for myself and my family, but for the world.

Being an entrepreneur is more than just running a business; it's about impacting people's lives. Whether it's creating jobs, making memories, or inspiring others to push themselves further, that drive to make a difference is what fuels me.

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What role do you think mentorship plays in fostering a culture of support and growth within the entrepreneurial community?

Mentorship is a priority for me because we're in an era where the environments and people we surround ourselves with greatly influence our habits, whether they're good or bad. Throughout my life, I've had mentors beyond my father, including my home pastor and teachers who weren't even of the same background. They guided and mentored me from a young age, shaping my perspective and preparing me for the future.

I always highlight my junior high school, Mary Tom Maritime Academy, as the greatest educational experience I've had. The teachers there showed me how the world would be at a young age, which prepared me mentally for high school and beyond.

Now, I'm committed to paying it forward by helping young musicians, cousins, or anyone who reaches out to me for guidance. Because someone did the same for me, whether it was encouraging me to play the organ in church or recognizing my passion for music.

Mentorship is crucial, especially for kids today who need positive influences in their lives, particularly in challenging environments. I believe in seeking guidance from outside our circles and embracing the wisdom of strangers, as it often leads to valuable insights and growth opportunities.

Ultimately, it's about taking ourselves seriously, investing time in our craft, and recognizing our strengths and weaknesses. We only have one life to live, so it's essential to make the most of it by embracing mentorship, entrepreneurship, and personal growth, no matter where we find ourselves in life.

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How do you manage stress and maintain focus during challenging periods in your entrepreneurial journey?

So, I'm glad you asked that question. Stress is something that I've had to manage intensely over the past three years, particularly for health reasons. Just last October, shortly after returning from Atlanta with a group of friends and then heading to Dallas for a radio interview with my friend Day, a prominent R&B artist, I had a momentum going from, the top of September to October 13, I met a couple of people at Diddy Revolt down in Atlanta and couple of Tyler Perry people, also I did a big interview for I Heart Radio, and then October 14, I experienced a mild heart attack while playing the organ at church. I ended up spending two weeks in the ICU. It was a wake-up call, making me realize the importance of stress management in my life.

Now, over the past four months, I've made significant changes to my lifestyle. Instead of juggling eight different tasks, I've learned to prioritize and focus on just two or three at a time. Proper rest has become non-negotiable for me. I've embraced the idea of taking breaks from my projects and finding moments of quietude, even if it means disconnecting from my phone or going off the grid for a few hours.

I've also discovered the therapeutic power of vacationing and spending time in serene environments like the beach. While I may not be the biggest fan of swimming, I find solace in the calming scenery. It's essential to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and indulge in activities that rejuvenate the soul.

Lastly, I've realized the importance of changing my environment from time to time. As 50 Cent, one of my favorite rappers and business idols, aptly puts it in his book, a change of scenery can provide new motivation and spark creativity. So, I wholeheartedly advocate for taking breaks, finding moments of solitude, and seeking out new environments to keep the mind fresh and inspired.

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