Director / Content Producer / Brand Stylist, Toronto, ON. Born: Scarborough, ON.
Kevin “Jedi” Barton created the largest Urban Music department at Universal Music Group Canada. “Universal Urban” marketed and promoted high-profile artists such as, Eminem, Jay-Z, Method Man & Redman, DMX, Brian McKnight, Shaggy, Mary J. Blige, Lil Jon, Snoop & the EastSidaz, Common, The Roots, Kardinal Offishall, Tommy Lee, Jully Black, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Eve, and many other international artists, propelling urban music sales to record numbers.
Kevin then went on to launch Soul Clap Records; an independent record label distributed and endorsed by Universal Music. Other ventures he was involved in during this time period included clothing line Quotz, restaurant Fez Batik, and his role of Marketing Director for Deschamps Recording Studios – a well-known leader in audio post-production, and one of the most famous recording studios in North America.
Taking a break from music, Barton chose to accept the position of Head of Mobile Marketing in the Caribbean to work with one of the world’s largest Telecoms, Cable & Wireless, providing vision and current technological trends to the industry. There he established yet another winning marketing department; integrating the brand to an emerging realm of connected mass media, and a 100% increase in content media profit were highlights of his 2-year period.
Leading creative teams his entire career and working with new technology to deliver a message has been Kevin’s core DNA, to date. This is now enhanced by a degree in Film Studies from Toronto’s esteemed Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts. Nominated for the Peter Gerretson Film award, and a graduate at the top of his class, Kevin was a natural. It is now possible to use the medium of film to communicate all the creative concepts, strategies and visual images that have always found their way into his daily dialogue on life.
Favourite book? I’ve read hundreds of books, but I’d have to say it’s The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It’s a story about love and friendship. It’s a story about selflessness that reminds of my childhood. It’s a story of forgiveness. It’s the simplicity of the storytelling that I love most and have never forgotten.
Favourite quote? When I was 16, I sat at the kitchen table and decided to let my father into my adolescent existence; I explained the situation and conflict that I had found myself in. After a half hour of soul cleansing, my father sighed, got up, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Betta you than me,” and walked away. He told me later in life that one of the things about being a father is knowing when to say nothing. He was teaching me how to solve my own problems as a man. (Thanks for the West Indian words of wisdom Pops.)
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Drive the get-away car.
Who inspires you? People who aren’t afraid to lose. Trying something is easy when the odds of success are high. If you know you can lose, and still choose to put in all on the line…that inspires me.
Why do you do what you do? I’d have to say the reasons I started in the entertainment business are very different, compared to where I am now. Originally, I started as a way I could do something that involved music every day, and make a living. Somewhere in there, it became about success and my own measures of what that meant. Now I want to tell stories. I love films for the impact they can have on our lives; similar to a song or a book that you feel speaks directly to you. As a person, I continue to evolve and I’m not afraid to embrace that.