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Edmonds, Tracey

Tracey Edmonds

1967—

Recording executive

Media mogul Tracey Edmonds wielded power over companies that produced hit movies, award-winning music, and popular television programs. Essence dubbed her the entertainment industry "It Girl." Her entrée into the industry came in the early 1990s, when she began collaborating with her then-husband producer/songwriter Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. Yet her rise to prominence was not fueled by her husband's talents; Edmonds herself was a successful businessperson prior to her marriage—she was a Los Angeles real-estate broker, a dealmaker in the most lucrative of fields. She transferred her talents into the music business and founded her own music publishing company, which evolved into its own label. She also produced records. Edmonds built on her success and, collaborating with her then-husband, created a media empire called Edmonds Entertainment Group, which she led as president and CEO. In 2006, Edmonds also became president and COO of Our Stories Films, a film studio created by BET's Robert L. Johnson and the Weinstein Company.

Built Her Own Success

Edmonds was born Tracey McQuarn in the late 1960s, and grew up in California. Her parents divorced when she was young. A bright student, she entered Stanford University on scholarship at the age of 16. There she designed her own major, psychology-biology, which combined studies in the fields of neurobiology and psychology. After graduating in 1987, Edmonds went into the real estate business with her mother Jacqueline McQuarn to help pay off her student loans. During the late 1980s she was a broker and started up her own mortgage company and real estate office in the California city of Newport Beach. In 1990, she moved her offices to Los Angeles.

It was in Los Angeles that she met Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, a well-known songwriter, record producer, and co-founder of LaFace Records. At the time, he was a hot new recording star, and she tried out for a spot in one of his videos. She was cast, but came down with chicken pox and had to bow out. A few months later, she and her mother were driving down Santa Monica Boulevard, and spotted Edmonds exiting a recording studio. Her mother pulled the car over—despite her daughter's pleas, since she felt less than glamorous that day—to give him her daughter's business card. He called the next day, and they began dating, though the singer made Atlanta his base at the time. On a jaunt to Paris, he proposed to her. "I felt like she was good for me," Edmonds told Ebony's Laura B. Randolph. "She pushed me in ways I needed to be pushed. She encouraged me to try new things, things I'd never done before."

The two were married in 1992 at the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, and Edmonds soon found herself immersed in music business. By then her husband had relocated to Los Angeles, and at first they attempted to maintain a two-career partnership. But Edmonds became more and more involved in her husband's line of work. "Naturally, being Kenny's wife, I received a lot of calls from A&R executives and artists who wanted my assistance in getting a Babyface song or wanted Kenny to work on different projects," Edmonds explained in a press release. "Timewise, Kenny couldn't fill all of the requests…and that's when the whole idea of creating my own publishing company was born."

Launched First Entertainment Company

Edmonds founded Yab Yum Entertainment in 1993. The name is taken from a Japanese term for "god of love" after the name of a dance club she used to frequent, and "my love and respect for good music is what this label is all about," Edmonds told CashBox writer Gil L. Robertson IV. Originally, Yab Yum was set up as a music publishing company, with its own roster of songwriters who would pen hits for recording artists. Within a short time, her staff had written and sold hit songs for TLC, Toni Braxton, and Diana Ross, among others. Yab Yum's success sparked interest on the part of the Sony Corporation, and the music empire struck a deal with Edmonds whereby they funded a Yab Yum label to be distributed by Sony's Epic division.

Yet Edmonds's achievements in launching her fledgling company did not quiet rumors that Yab Yum was simply another Babyface operation. While she credited her husband with introducing her into the music industry, and teaching her much, it was Edmonds's own dedication that fueled Yab Yum, not her husband's creativity. "If anybody ever came to my office and saw me, I'm there until 10 or 11 o'clock every night working with my staff, working with artists in the studio," Edmonds told A. Scott Galloway in Urban Network. "I'm very much hands-on and involved in every aspect of the business…. We help each other, but Kenny is not involved in the label contractually or running my office. He's too busy for that!"

Edmonds also knew that it might be a matter of time before she would be treated as an equal in the male-dominated record business, where female (and especially African-American female) executives are few and far between. As she said in her press release, "After about a year, people in the industry began to understand that this is my own vision and my own independent company…. Yab Yum is a completely separate entity." The amalgamation of her business skills and her permanent roommate's savvy ear is a reciprocal one: "Kenny teaches me a lot about what to listen for in music and what he feels works creatively," Edmonds explained to Urban Network. "And I've shared with him the business side of music: how to make money and what to look out for."

Yab Yum offers artists their own recording studio, rehearsal and writers' rooms, and a tight-knit staff that includes Edmonds's brother, Michael McQuarn, who holds the post of vice-president for A&R. Three of its artists—Jon B., The Boom Brothers, and Alan "Byrd" Tatum—are also songwriters. Other Yab Yum acts include Rotae and III Stylz of Rhyme, made up of members of Pharcyde. "With our roster, we are not looking to duplicate other successful acts, we are looking to create new sounds and to set trends in music that will appeal to a worldwide audience," Edmonds told CashBox. Another achievement at Yab Yum was the music score for a short feature film called Tuesday Morning Ride. The film, directed by Diane Houston, was the only black film nominated for an Oscar in 1996.

Built Media Empire

The year 1996 ushered in a new level of partnership in the Edmonds household. They became parents of a son, Brandon, and together founded Edmonds Entertainment, a production company. The company's first project was the 1997 film Soul Food, which Edmonds produced with a soundtrack produced by Babyface. The story of an impoverished Chicago family, the movie proved to be a worthy vehicle for its stars, Vanessa Williams, Nia Long, and Vivica A. Fox. Soul Food also helped establish Edmonds herself as an entertainment mogul when it grossed $43 million, won five NAACP Image Awards, and later became a popular television series for Showtime for five seasons.

At a Glance …

Born Tracey McQuarn, c. 1967, in California; daughter of George and Jacqueline McQuarn; married Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (a record producer and songwriter), 1992 (divorced 2006); married Eddie Murphy (actor), 2008; children (first marriage): Brandon, Dylan. Education: Received degree from Stanford University, 1987.

Career: Real estate broker, late 1980s; founded mortgage company and real estate office, Newport Beach, CA, late 1980s; moved offices to Los Angeles, 1990; Yab Yum Entertainment (a record label and music publishing company), Los Angeles, CA, founder, 1993, and president, 1993-; Edmonds Entertainment Group, Los Angeles, CA, co-founder (with husband Kenneth Edmonds), 1996-; Our Stories Films, president and COO, 2007-.

Addresses: Web—www.edmondsent.com.

Edmonds went on to achieve more success. She created a film production division of Edmonds Entertainment, E2 Filmworks, to produce the work of new filmmakers; the division's first films Hav Plenty and PUNKS won critical, if not popular, acclaim. She created popular reality programs for BET, including College Hill, DMX: Soul of a Man, and Lil Kim: Countdown to Lockdown. In 1998, Edmonds created Edmonds Management, a career guidance company to serve entertainment industry workers. Within the first year she had signed more than 30 clients. About his wife's business prowess, her husband told Jet magazine that "Tracey is good at problem-solving. She has the ability to deal with problems and just work them out."

As the couple increased their success in business, they failed to maintain their marriage. They separated in 2005 after 13 years together and the birth of two sons. In 2006 Tracey Edmonds filed for divorce, citing the couple's irreconcilable differences. Months after finalizing her divorce, Edmonds became engaged to actor Eddie Murphy in August of 2007. The couple exchanged vows on New Year's Day 2008 during a ceremony on Bora Bora. Two weeks later their representatives announced that the couple decided not to continue with their plans to make their union legal.

As testament to Edmonds' business acumen, she continued to chart her own course in the entertainment industry. She remained head of Edmonds Entertainment, overseeing the operations of its film, television, and music divisions. In 2006 she was tapped to become the president and chief operating office of Our Stories Films, a film studio created by BET founder Robert L. Johnson and filmmakers Bob and Harvey Weinstein and dedicated to creating African-American comedies. Johnson summed up Edmonds qualifications to Black Enterprise on-line, saying "First, Edmonds stood out because she has such a strong creative background, which has allowed her to build her company into a very significant producer of original material for cable and movie studios. Second, she's run her own business so she knows how to manage a bottom line. And third, she has a very extensive Rolodex, which gives her access to the top creative people in the industry." Adding head of the new studio to her workload, Edmonds was poised to make an even greater impact on the entertainment industry.

Sources

Periodicals

CashBox, September 16, 1995.

Ebony, July 1994, pp. 36-40, 126; June 1998, p. 36.

Essence, September 1995, p. 70; March 1999, p. 86.

Jet, September 28, 1992; September 30, 1996, p. 35; November 11, 1996, pp. 56-59; May 12, 1997, pp. 58-60; January 30, 2006, p. 30; September 18, 2006, p. 32; August 13, 2007, p. 61-65.

Los Angeles Sentinel, September 7-13, 2006, p. B4.

Urban Network, May 5, 1995.

Variety, August 25, 1997, p. 20.

On-line

Edmonds Entertainment,http://www.edmondsent.com (November 2, 2007).

"Tracey Edmonds to Lead Our Stories Films," Black Enterprise,http://www.blackenterprise.com/cms/exclusivesopen.aspx?id=1870 (November 2, 2007).

Other

Additional information for this profile was provided by Yab Yum Entertainment publicity materials, 1997.

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Edmonds, Tracey 1967(?)–

Tracey Edmonds 1967(?)

Record company executive

At a Glance

Sources

Tracey Edmonds may be one of the most powerful executives in R&B music, but her name is relatively unknown outside industry circles. Edmonds is the wife of stellar producer/songwriter Kenneth Babyface Edmonds, the collaborative talent behind the rise of top acts such as Boyz II Men and Toni Braxton. A successful businessperson prior to her marriageshe was a Los Angeles real-estate broker, a dealmaker in the most lucrative of fieldsEdmonds transferred her talents into the music business and founded her own music publishing company, which evolved into its own label. She is also a record producer. With her husband, Edmonds later set up an entertainment company for film and television projects, and they plan to take their joint venture into a full-spectrum media services firm that combines both their areas of expertisehis in songwriting, hers in business.

Edmonds was born Tracey McQuarn in the late 1960s, and grew up in California. A bright youngster, she enrolled at Stanford University at the age of 16. There she designed her own major, psycho-biology, that combined studies in the fields of neurobiology and psychology. After graduating in 1987, Edmonds went into the real estate business after earning her license. During the late 1980s she was a broker and started up her own mortgage company and real estate office in the California city of Newport Beach. In 1990, she moved her offices to Los Angeles.

It was in Los Angeles that she met Kenneth Babyface Edmonds, a well-known songwriter, record producer, and co-founder of LaFace Records. At the time, he was a hot new recording star, and she tried out for a spot in one of his videos. She was cast, but came down with chicken pox and had to bow out. A few months later, she and her mother were driving down Santa Monica Boulevard, and spotted Edmonds exiting a recording studio. Her mother pulled the car overdespite her daughters pleas, since she felt less than glamorous that dayto give him her daughters business card. He called the next day, and they began dating, though the singer made Atlanta his base at the time. On a jaunt to Paris, he proposed to her. I felt like she was good for me, Edmonds told Ebonys Laura B. Randolph. She pushed me in ways I needed to be pushed. She encouraged me to try new things,

At a Glance

Born Tracey McQuarn, c. 1967, in California; daugh ter of George and Jacqueline McQuarn; married Kenneth Babyface Edmonds (a record producer and songwriter), September, 1992; children: Brandon. Education; Received degree from Stanford University, 1987.

Career: Real estate broker, late 1980s; founded mortgage company and real estate office, Newport Beach, CA, late 1980s; moved offices to Los Angeles, 1990; founder, 1993, and president, 1993, of Yab Yum Entertainment (a record label and music publishing company), Los Angeles, CA; co-founder (with husband Kenneth Edmonds) of Edmonds Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA.

Addresses: Home Holmby Hills, CA. Office Yab Yum Entertainment, 8255 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

things Id never done before.

The two were married in 1992 at the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, and Edmonds soon found herself immersed in music business. By then her husband had relocated to Los Angeles, and at first they attempted to maintain a two-career partnership. But Edmonds became more and more involved in her husbands line of work. Naturally, being Kennys wife, I received a lot of calls from A&R executives and artists who wanted my assistance in getting a Babyface song or wanted Kenny to work on different projects, Edmonds explained in a press release. Timewise, Kenny couldnt fill all of the requests... and thats when the whole idea of creating my own publishing company was born.

Edmonds founded Yab Yum Entertainment in 1993. The name is taken from a Japanese term for god of love after the name of a dance club she used to frequent, and my love and respect for good music is what this label is all about, Edmonds told CashBox writer Gil L. Robertson IV. Originally, Yab Yum was set up as a music publishing company, with its own roster of songwriters who would pen hits for recording artists. Within a short time, her staff had written and sold hit songs for TLC, Toni Braxton, and Diana Ross, among others. Yab Yums success sparked interest on the part of the Sony corporation, and the music empire struck a deal with Edmonds whereby they funded a Yab Yum label to be distributed by Sonys Epic division.

Yet Edmondss achievements in launching her fledgling company did not quiet rumors that Yab Yum was simply another Babyface operation. While she credited her husband with introducing her into the music industry, and teaching her much, it was Edmondss own dedication that fueled Yab Yum, not her husbands creativity. If anybody ever came to my office and saw me, Im there until 10 or 11 oclock every night working with my staff, working with artists in the studio, Edmonds told A. Scott Galloway in Urban Network. Im very much hands-on and involved in every aspect of the business.... We help each other, but Kenny is not involved in the label contractually or running my office. Hes too busy for that!

Edmonds also knew that it might be a matter of time before she would be treated as an equal in the male-dominated record business, where female (and especially African American female) executives are few and far between. As she said in her press release, After about a year, people in the industry began to understand that this is my own vision and my own independent company.... Yab Yum is a completely separate entity. The amalgamation of her business skills and her permanent roommates savvy ear is a reciprocal one: Kenny teaches me a lot about what to listen for in music and what he feels works creatively, Edmonds explained to Urban Network. And Ive shared with him the business side of music: how to make money and what to look out for.

Yab Yum offers artists its own recording studio, rehearsal and writers rooms, and a tight-knit staff that includes Edmondss brother, Michael McQuarn, who holds the post of vice-president for A&R. Three of its artistsJon B., The Boom Brothers, and Alan Byrd Tatumare also songwriters. Other Yab Yum acts include Rotae and III Stylz of Rhyme, made up of members of Pharcyde. With our roster, we are not looking to duplicate other successful acts, we are looking to create new sounds and to set trends in music that will appeal to a worldwide audience, Edmonds told CashBox. Another achievement at Yab Yum was the music score for a short feature film called Tuesday Morning Ride. The film, directed by Diane Houston, was the only black film nominated for an Oscar in 1996.

The year 1996 ushered in a new level of partnership in the Edmonds household. They became parents of a son, Brandon, and together founded Edmonds Entertainment, a production company that plans to delve into a host of creative services. The companys primary goal is involvement in film and television projects; it has a production deal with 20th Century-Fox, and is on the lookout for new ideas. Edmonds, a bookworm at heart and quick reader, will read a script first, then give it to her husband to peruse if she thinks it has potential. Another great accomplishment for Edmonds is her credit as producer of Soul Food, a film slated for release in late 1997. The story of an impoverished Chicago family, the movie promises to be a worthy vehicle for its stars, Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long, and Vivica A. Fox. Edmonds has also inked a deal to a write and direct, and with her husband is considering branching out into the lucrative entertainment-management field. Tracey is good at problem-solving, her husband told Jet. magazine. She has the ability to deal with problems and just work them out.

For the time, however, Edmonds is quite busy managing her own schedule. The Edmondss offices are cross-town from one another, and their son is a familiar presence at both sites. Edmonds has a crib near her desk, while at LaFace there is an entire play area for Brandon. Though she puts in long hours at her company offices, Edmonds takes weekend off to spend quiet time at home. As befitting one of the most powerful couples in the entertainment industry, that home is a palatial one. Located in Holmby Hills, a posh section of Los Angeles, it boasts an acre of prime real estate, numerous amenities, and was estimated to have set the couple back nearly $4.2 million. Our marriage is a great partnership, Edmonds told Jet We get along great and balance each other very well.

Sources

CashBox, September 16, 1995.

Ebony, July 1994, pp. 36-40, 126.

Essence, September 1995, p. 70.

Jet, September 28, 1992; September 30, 1996, p. 35; November 11, 1996, pp. 56-59; May 12,1997, pp. 58-60.

Urban Network, May 5, 1995.

Additional information for this profile was provided by Yab Yum Entertainment publicity materials, 1997.

Carol Brennan

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"Edmonds, Tracey 1967(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Edmonds, Tracey 1967(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/edmonds-tracey-1967

"Edmonds, Tracey 1967(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/edmonds-tracey-1967