Concert and nightclub promoters are a unique tribe, and there’s no shortage of them in every major U.S. market. The least common denominator among them can include unsavory individuals who oversell and under-deliver, but those who do their job well are the curators of good times and the driving force behind ensuring your city avoids becoming lame and boring.
Promoter Lorenzo Zenteno, who’s also known by his rap moniker Smoothvega, distinguishes himself among his peers because he’s made equally significant contributions to the Dallas and Fort Worth urban music communities. Zenteno, a Fort Worth native, started his promotions company Premier Live Experience in April 2015. Since then, he’s produced shows with headliners such as Nipsey Hussle, Joe Budden, The Game, DMX, Eric B. & Rakim and Bun B.
Under the Premier Live Experience umbrella, his promotions company, Zenteno created The One, a popular talent showcase competition. Through the event, he’s helped elevate the careers of local artists like Rakim Al-Jabbaar, DQ Hampton, Flower Child, XO and last year’s winner Ravs. Many artists who do well in the competition are chosen to open for headlining artists at events produced by Premier Live Experience. In some instances, Zenteno has gone on to play a part in the recording careers of some of the contestants. This was the case in 2018 when he secured a feature by ScarFace for Rakim Al-Jabbaar’s single "Street Life."
Now Zenteno has embarked on a new vehicle to expand his Premier Live Experience brand, with a podcast and YouTube show, Nothing Beats Experience. The show airs weekly and can be heard on Spotify and other streaming platforms on Tuesdays and viewed on YouTube on Wednesdays.
“The goal all along was to build a multimedia platform,” Zenteno says of his decision to create the show. “That was actually one of the very first conversations I had with Sarah Badran [founder/director of Creative Currency and former partner with Premier Live Experience] before we teamed up. ... I met with a few personalities about being part of the Premier Live Radio project because I didn’t have any aspirations to be the on-air talent; I only wanted to produce the content, but things never seemed to line up."
Around April 2019, things finally lined up for Zenteno, and he decided to launch the platform.
"And we’ve been off to the races since,” he says.
The Nothing Beats Experience podcast gives tangible proof of the vast reach of Zenteno’s connections within the entertainment industry. It’s evident through the interviews that Zenteno has history with his with guests. So far, the podcast has included guests Ginuwine, Parks [from The Joe Budden Podcast], Lyfe Jennings, Lil’ Flip, Paul Wall, Bizzy Bone and Fort Worth hip-hop legend Twisted Black, who made an appearance despite the fact that he’s serving time in federal prison.
Zenteno’s podcast doesn’t just focus on recording artists. It’s a mashup of prominent figures within music, sports, entertainment and pop culture. Boxer Mikey Garcia, wrestler Tessa Blanchard and James Garretson from Tiger King have all been on the other end of Zenteno's interviews.
“The best way to sum it up is we are Joe Rogan meets Joe Budden meets Hot Boxin’ with Mike Tyson meets Drink Champs,” Zenteno says. "I want to create a platform that draws a diverse audience. The goal is to create content that is intriguing and informative.”
In the world of independent YouTube content creators, the goal for most is to eventually become profitable. The road to becoming eligible for monetized content on YouTube is tedious, yet doable. Zenteno’s Premier Live channel recently achieved that, just by the strength of the Nothing Beats Experience podcast.
“It took us three weeks to hit the required number, which is 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch-time hours," he says. "Once those requirements are met you can apply, and once you are approved, YouTube will begin to run advertisements on your video, which you get paid from."
Zenteno explains that the platform decides who can capitalize on content via many measures; two of those factors are "average view duration" and "watch-time retention."
"I feel that because we are producing content that’s anywhere between 25-30 minutes on average that we are in a position to make more than the average content creator," Zenteno says. "It feels really good to know that everyone who felt strongly about the show has been right."
Zenteno says his project has suffered through the pandemic.
“We had wrestling legend Mick Foley, Royce Da 5”9, and Lil Keke all postpone their appearances within days of each other at one point," he says of the show. "We had sponsors lined up that haven’t been able to move forward because of the uncertainty of the pandemic. The production studio we use has been on lockdown, so we’ve focused on virtual interviews until further notice.”
Despite the setbacks, Zenteno maintains a strict focus for growing and expand his brand.
“I want this to be the go-to platform in the region when it comes to visual media," he says.
Zenteno says the years have allowed him to form "strong alliances within wrestling and boxing," as has his work as a promoter. His hope is to have 50,000 subscribers by the end of 2020, and he's well on his way.
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