Keri Hilson held out on a publishing deal for nearly 10 years.
During the “R&B Money Podcast,” the songwriter and singer shed light on the early stages of her career. She recalled refusing proposals from major music labels that were actively seeking to sign her for a publishing deal.
At the time, she had several singles making the rounds on radio.
“I waited almost a decade to do a publishing deal… I don’t remember what year I did that, but I know it was a lot of offers for a long time…,” Hilson said on the “R&B Money” podcast. “From the first check to the time when it was about that, maybe eight or nine years, I waited, I stacked up, I had singles on the radio stacked up.”
She continued, “‘Cause everybody kept saying there was a thing about having records in the pipeline, and that’s when publishing companies are interested in you. I was like, ‘Well, let me see what they do when I got ’em on the radio.'”
During her season of waiting, Hilson was steadily increasing her business acumen and expanding her connections in the industry.
“You remember the Donald Passman book? ‘All You Need to Know About the Music Business,'” she shared. “Between that and the relationships that I had cultivated over those years, I would ask questions, I would research, I would look it up. I knew I wanted to be really, really wise with these permanent decisions ’cause I knew what a deal blowing up looked like. So, I didn’t wanna be there again.”
She added, “I think the way that circumstances were lined up, lining up for me — no, let me not even say that, ’cause that sounds passive — the way that I was lining sh-t up and hustling this sh-t out was providing me the means to be able to wait, to hold out.”
The album, which contains hit singles “Knock You Down” and “Turnin’ Me On” would go on to debut at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and sold 411,000 copies after 19 weeks, per Reuters.