Lennis Dynamiks | New Urban

Lennis Dynamiks | New Urban

Lennis Dynamiks is an engineer, musician, instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and all-round music man who landed in Birmingham, UK in 2003. Now, 13 years and a whole lot of experiences later, he’s a founding and managing partner in Citadel Music Group (CMG) which opened in 2015 in collaboration with two investors turned business partners. A truly independent music company dedicated to developing brands and artists in the city and beyond.

“Citadel Music Group has three meanings”, he begins to explain as we sat down in the dimly lit CMG Studios, located in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. “Firstly, the citadel is like a refuge for these artists, who’s value and rights seem to be ever decreasing in this industry. Second, it’s the strongest part of the city, it’s the musical point of reference of hope. Third, it’s a battalion. The machine. The collective.”

DSC05477

“Many people don’t realise that when you see an artist, you’re only seeing the front man to a big band” Lennis continued to expand. “I’m trying to educate people into that, showing them the other fundamental aspects of the machine, from management to touring and choreography”

DSC05542

After growing up around music and being influenced by some musical greats including the whole Motown collective, BB King, Ray Charles and producer Ryan Leslie, Lennis took his first real strides into the music industry after interning for 3 months with one of Africa’s biggest producers in 2007. “I was young, stubborn and completely messed it up” he recalls. Yet, despite regretting not utilizing the resources that were offered to him at the time, he walked away learning some very important lessons that led him to where he sits today.

“Be as flexible as you can in the industry. Then you can traverse to anywhere and do what you need to do. That experience taught me to kill my ego, the need to be humble and the need to listen.”

DSC05416

A year later in 2008, Lennis took a brief hiatus from music altogether after rupturing his eardrum and it wasn’t until he was advised to go to university and train to become a music teacher that his love affair with music rekindled. In September of that year, he began his course and after receiving a piano from one of his teachers, practiced three hours a day, building his love for music again.

During his time at South and City College, he started what he refers to as his ‘bedroom studio’ and would often use his student loan money to purchase studio equipment and with no real purpose, he decided it was time to step up.

“I took the money I was getting from JSA to buy supplies, and partnered with fellow colleague from SCC to build the studio, and then that’s when we started Brumtown Hit Factory.”

DSC05597

BrumTown was the first studio that Lennis ran and offered him many opportunities, including him being able to work with a whole host of artists in during his time before founding CMG Studios with his business partner. “Even in the face of adversity, you can’t give up if you’re destined to do something. If you’re not, then you’re not and as soon as you realise, you need to get out,” reflecting back on some of the artists and musicians he has worked with

“The more time you invest in the wrong thing, the less you can invest in what you’re supposed to do.” Commenting on the controversial topic of musical talent over pure desire for industry success from an artist’s perspective. “When you spend so much of your life in one thing, its very tough to train for a new role, it’s a difficult transition.”

CMG studio’s location mirrors the staple figure of Birmingham it is aiming to become under the guidance of Lennis. Without sufficient support or funding from government for community or arts projects, the environment we are operating in forces us to solve the issues ourselves as opposed to depending on others, a viewpoint CMG’s boss follows religiously.

As with many other growing cities in the UK, Birmingham and it’s people sometimes hold the parable that one must travel to the ‘Big City’ (London) to make it.

“Sometimes we go out there to other places, but all we’re doing is further building them, contributing to their industries in their city and the initial reason we went there,” Lennis comments when challenged with this issue. “If people keep saying there is nothing in Birmingham, and nobody is creating anything sustainable, there will always be nothing here.”

“That’s why my aim is to be more than an enabler of music, more like a vessel, allowing what is needed to pass through me.”

CMG Studio’s location mirrors the staple figure of Birmingham it is aiming to become under the guidance of Lennis. Without sufficient support or funding from government for community or arts projects, the environment we are operating in forces us to solve the issues ourselves as opposed to depending on others, a viewpoint CMG’s boss follows religiously.

As with many other growing cities in the UK, Birmingham and it’s people sometimes hold the parable that one must travel to the ‘Big City’ (London) to make it.

DSC05579-2

“Sometimes we go out there to other places, but all we’re doing is further building them, contributing to their industries in their city and the initial reason we went there, becomes lost in translation” Lennis comments when challenged with this issue. “If people keep saying there is nothing in Birmingham, and nobody is creating anything sustainable, there will always be nothing here.”

“Every crevice of this city is bursting with talent. There’s a huge amount of talent here, but it’s almost like it grows and then plateaus.”

CMG Studios is well on it’s way to becoming the cities leading music pit stop, for all those artists looking to advance their skills and careers. Birmingham is far from lacking talent, now all it needs is the right infrastructure to benefit from our own.

DSC05565

For this talent, we asked for one final piece of advice from Lennis Dynamiks to artists trying to make it.

“If you’ve got the talent, passion and love, you need to sacrifice everything ethically for your future self. Time, money and relationships. Invest your resources into educating yourself, and building your craft. Everybody wants art, needs art, but nobody wants to pay for it. You need to be the best for them to do that”.

Photography by Valdez The Photographer.