Music Industry

Music Supervisor of the Month: A Q&A with Hip Hop Icon Paul Stewart

6 minutes |

Kristien Brada-Thompson

With music supervision credits in over 50 films (including

, , and Academy Award-winning ), has had a storied and fascinating career. The music icon nurtured his love for hip hop in the heart of Crenshaw, where he grew up and quickly became one of the genre’s early influencers. Stewart cut his teeth as a DJ and street promoter before getting into management. When he was hired by legendary director to music supervise “Poetic Justice,” the rest was history. Today, he continues to impact hip hop and the intersection of music and film as both a music supervisor and consultant for indie artists entering the sync business.

So, when ALIBI got the opportunity to make Stewart our “Music Supervisor of the Month,” we knew we had to jump at it. Read his interview here:

ALIBI: What do you remember most about growing up in Crenshaw?

Paul: The elementary school in the neighborhood and the friends I made. I have all good memories. I was embraced by my neighbors and accepted in the community in general.

ALIBI: Who was most influential to you during that time?

Paul: Being exposed to soul/funk music that was popular at that time. In high school, I made friends who introduced me to artists like Rick James, Zapp, Earth Wind & Fire, etc., and then later I heard early hip hop records like

and by Herbie Hancock.

ALIBI: How did you get your start in music supervision?

Paul: I was fortunate enough to meet John Singleton when he was working on

. He was impressed by what I had accomplished in music management and hired me to do that film.

ALIBI: What do you enjoy most about your work?

Paul: Helping a talented filmmaker find great music that helps him better tell his story. Seeing a song you suggested in a major motion picture or TV show with a great placement is very exciting. I also really enjoy helping young artists get their first placements.

ALIBI: What has been the most unreal/memorable experience of your career so far?

Paul: I’ve had a few! When Hustle & Flow won the Academy Award for Best Song and I was invited to the Oscars, etc. to experience that. Also, when Stevie Wonder performed

along with my management client Coolio at the Billboard Music Awards.

ALIBI: How do you find inspiration on an average work day?

Paul: Hoping to find some exciting new music in my searches. I also take very serious the intense responsibility my job holds on productions, so this really gives me no choice but to be motivated and not let anyone down.

ALIBI: What’s your personal motto?

Paul: Put the Art first.

ALIBI: What is something most people don’t know about you?

Paul: My first music love was with classic rock. I was a huge Beatles fan as a very young child. I was also a huge Jimi Hendrix fan and had a life-sized poster of him in my room as a teenager.

ALIBI: What musical instruments do you play, if any?

Paul: As a child, the trumpet, but then many years as a DJ (so turntables).

ALIBI: Quick – give us your 5 rapid-fire favorites (feel free to swap out categories!):


Band/Artist? Notorious B.I.G.

Film/Show? Dune

Food? Thai Food

Vacation Spot? Santa Domingo, DR

Hobby? Hiking

ALIBI: What is one thing you would change about this business if you could?

Paul: Make streaming payouts fairer.

ALIBI: What is your best advice for others hoping to get into your line of work?

Paul: Do an internship.

ALIBI: Any side projects or activities you’d like to promote?

Paul: I consult indie artists on how to get syncs.

ALIBI: How can people follow your work? Links, please!

Paul: IG:

Share Article: