For American entrepreneur, producer, and the founder of Now Entertainment Magazine, Tony M. Fountain, music is not merely a means to earn a living, but it's also a source of healing for the soul. Following a tumultuous childhood, emotionally stressful teenage years, and an even harder time finding his footing as a young adult, Fountain attests to keeping his wits about him by pouring out his heart in lyrics and tunes.
"I began as an artist myself," Fountain began. "I love hip-hop because it saved me as I learned how to release my frustrations on paper rather than lashing out in other ways. I'm truly trying to help artists succeed and not just be another suit in it to make a buck."
Over the years, Fountain has worked with several high-flying artists including Nino Brown, a former artist under DJ Khaled, Shotgun Shane, Xpression the MC, and Layzie Bone of the legendary rap group, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Based in Gordon, Georgia, Fountain is presently the editor-in-chief of Now Entertainment Magazine, a multi-genre, versatile music industry publication founded in 2011 which stands for "Never Out of Work", a spawn of his earlier record label, Now Entertainment.
Fountain never underestimates the role music has continually played in his life.
"I started my path as a rapper in the 7th-8th grade when a friend passed me a song he had written," he said. "I wrote a song in response to his and this back and forth continued for the next few years."
Fountain's parents had been divorced for many years but were still co-habiting for his sake. Sadly, when things got out of hand following episodes of physical violence from his father, his mother moved out. The young boy was sent to live with his grandmother, but when she took ill, they went back to his father's house.
At school, a false accusation case of assault against a teacher resulted in a five-month jail stint for Fountain.
"After my grandmother passed away, I went to school in desperate need of someone to talk to," Fountain recounts. "On our way to the gym, I pulled my girlfriend aside to talk to her. A teacher called out to me to get back in line for the gym but I didn't hear her. She thought I ignored her, so she came to snatch me by the arm and pull me into the office. I was stunned by her action and we got into a tug of war with my arm. However, she was embarrassed and reported to the principal that I had shoved her."
Despite six witnesses refuting the teacher's claims, the janitor testified against Fountain and he was incarcerated for five months and placed under probation for a year. While this experience was traumatizing, in retrospect, Fountain chooses to regard it as a blessing in disguise.
"I was bitter but later realized it was God's intervention because I was headed down the wrong path for sure," he says. "It may have very well prevented me from actually doing something that may have caused me to be locked up a lot longer or even possibly dead."
Losing everything to build a better life
Following a statement he made in court against his father during a treasury case with his aunts, the young Fountain was thrown out of his home, empty-handed, and had to move in with his mother.
At this point in his life, his passion for his music became fully re-ignited.
"I joined the local church, took a spot in the choir, and began running the soundboard as well. This further fueled my interest in music and I began writing again. I found that writing was a great way to release my inner demons rather than lashing out. So, I can say for sure that music saved me from certain rather terrifying realities," he said.
Fountain spent the next few years working hard at menial jobs and saving up funds to get a car. As he travelled to talent shows and studio sessions, he met and networked with a lot of influential people in the industry.
Things took another downward turn when Fountain's wife left him all by himself with two kids, a low-income job, and a broken heart.
"I raised my kids at that point by myself, making just two dollars over the allowed limit to receive government assistance," Fountain recalls. "My kids' mother didn't pay child support either and hardly ever came around. It's still that way today. I looked in the mirror one day and knew I needed to do something or this was going to be our life forever."
Fountain enrolled himself in school to learn the ropes of the music business while working as a truck driver to support his family. Sadly, getting an education turned out to be too costly and he had to drop out, but not before learning enough to get his record label, Now Entertainment, off its feet. He slowly built a reputation managing local musicians in Gordon while recording their songs. However, he quickly discovered that he was toeing in the wrong direction.
"Where I come from, there are not many jobs and there's a lot of poverty," Fountain said. "It wasn't all about the money, I genuinely wanted to help change their lives because I recognised the downward spiral they were on. However, it was clear to see they weren't as serious about it as I was. It was more of a hobby or playing the lottery to them."
However, Fountain had picked up several digital skills while working with these artists – graphic design, video editing, web development, and content creation. He created the Now Entertainment Magazine as a way to consolidate the pieces of advice and consultations he was already offering to artists, producers, and managers all over the industry. With a blog section focused on promoting talent and music across all genres, mostly rap, a mobile app on Play Store, and merch for loyal fans, Now Entertainment Magazine is rapidly building a reputation as one of the top online resources for the music industry.
As he runs his recently-debuted podcast, Fountain remains a strong advocate for social issues especially suicide, following the tragic death of his cousin-in-law, and police brutality, after a friend of his was starved of water, beaten by guards, and passed away at a correctional facility.
He eventually began to write on other online publications to air his views on these issues and music industry realities, but his content was either over-censored or bounced back. Now, Fountain is about to release his self-authored book, "Secrets of the music business: How not to get fucked as an entrepreneur with a dream". He hopes to make the journey in the music industry easier for upcoming talents by arming them with truthful information.
He said: "I plan to reveal a lot of secrets in my book that will allow those who read it to avoid the mistakes I made and get further in their careers way quicker than I did and most will."
His book is up for presale on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google, and Apple, and is set for release on Sunday, March 21, 2021.