Hard work turns ‘dream’ into reality

Two Northern Kentucky University students are putting their degrees to work even before they graduate. They are promoting a new club, a NKU hip-hop artist and his production company, as well as working on the same stage as famous rap artists Foxy Brown and Juvenile.

The club is Club Dream, the brainchild of three NKU students. Jaci Spicer, a senior journalism major in the public relations/journalism track, met Tarris “Troy” Horton, an aspiring musician, in August of 2001 at work. Horton, had recently transferred to NKU as a radio/television major. After discovering Spicer’s major, Horton began talking to her about doing his public relations work. She thought it would be good experience.

At first only Spicer promoted Horton’s concerts and shows, along with his production company, Country Boy Entertainment, Inc. Then, at a club, Spicer introduced Horton to Autumn Garrison, a friend from NKU. Horton said he liked the way Garrison danced and asked if she would dance in a music video. At first she said she only planned to do the video.

“But then Troy realized how smart she was,” Spicer said.

Garrison, a junior communications major with a marketing minor, said she wanted to be more than just the girl out there dancing. Horton decided Garrison would make a good marketing director. The three students began sitting down and laying out plans on a weekly basis. Things really began to take off, according to Spicer.

One Tuesday night Horton stopped by J.C.’s bar in Covington and noticed it wasn’t very crowded. Thinking a club would be the perfect way to help promote his production company, he approached the owners of the bar and offered up the idea to turn it into a hip-hop club on Tuesdays. Country Boy Entertainment would do all of the promoting and could charge a cover for promotional expenses. The owners agreed to give it a try.

Spicer and Garrison immediately went to work. Garrison designed and printed out flyers and Spicer secured advertising spots on WNTV. Both hit the streets and distributed flyers at clubs and bars all around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. They did not target any particular crowd or scene.

“The whole goal of Club Dream is to allow hip-hop music to unite a diverse group of people,” Garrison said. “It’s supposed to be a diversifying club.”

Club Dream opened Tuesday,Jan. 29 after only two weeks of promotion. Country Boy Entertainment made no money, however, that was not the goal.

“We didn’t expect to make any money. That may come in time,” Spicer said. “Right now we’re about having a good time. I like what I’m doing, so whatever happens, happens.”

Garrison considered the opening night a success.

“If you think about it, in two weeks, spending just $33 on flyers, we got 100 people to come,” she said.

Country Boy Entertainment’s goal is to have a well-known, fully functioning club by summer. “Tuesday night was our first run,” Garrison said. “What at one time seemed like a dream became a reality.”

But Spicer and Garrison have done more than just club promotion. They continue to promote Horton’s music and his new album. Horton was scheduled to perform at the comedy show held at NKU, but a few minutes into his performance, the sound equipment failed.

Despite equipment problems, Anthony Pierre of MacTone Productions approached Horton and said he liked his sound. Pierre’s most recent promotion was for the Foxy Brown and Juvenile concert scheduled for Cincinnati’s Music Hall in March. Country Boy Entertainment took advantage of their new connection and arranged for an exchange of promotion.

Country Boy would promote Pierre’s concert locally and in return MacTone would give them a five-minute slot in between Foxy Brown and Juvenile’s performances to promote Troy and his new album. Garrison and Spicer said they are up to the challenge, but are just glad to be meeting people and getting hands-on experience.

“We’re rubbing elbows with people who are going somewhere,” Garrison said. “Every single thing we’re doing can go on a resume. We’re pursuing our careers while we’re full-time students, and not a lot of people get the chance to do that.”

Both say what they learned in school has been useful. Spicer attributes Country Boy Entertainment’s improvement to open lines of communication.”We work together and that’s why we work,” Spicer said. “We’re completely open and honest with each other. Others have also been helping, doing legwork and favors for Country Boy.”

Reach Country Boy Entertainment at www.countryboyent.com or e-mail countryboypr@yahoo.com.