Veteran music executive Benny Pough appeared on Hip Hop & Enterprise to dig into his new memoir On Impact: Life, Leadership and Betting on Yourself, a collection of life highlights sharing truths that guided him through years of going from an intern to CEO.
Pough has held executive roles at major record labels like Motown, Def Jam, and MCA Records, including his tenure as the former executive vice president of Epic Records and the former president of Roc Nation Music. His résumé includes breaking radio hits for superstar artists such as Jay-Z, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, DJ Khaled, The Roots, Travis Scott, Future, Yo Gotti, 21 Savage, and many more.
Pough’s skyrocketing rise as a top music executive took a drastic pause in 2014 when he was involved in a near-fatal car accident that changed his life forever. After a grueling road to recovery, Pough used that transformative experience to release his first memoir.
With On Impact, Pough aims to inspire others by sharing truths that guided him through years of unparalleled success, going from intern to CEO. “We hit the tree so hard that it severed two feet of my small intestine,” Pough told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“In that moment, God put a book inside of me, which changed me called “On Impact.”
The book’s title serves as a double meaning for the near-fatal crash Pough survived and the acronym he created for the word “Impact.”
“Impact is an acronym that stands for intuition, mastery, pivot, authenticity, connection, and teamwork,” he said.
The experience drastically changed Pough’s views on mental health and normalized conversations around the topic. With over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Pough has seen it all. But he applauds today’s entertainment figures who haven’t shied away from stressing the importance of self-love and mental health. “There are some big stars who have been public about the challenges that they’ve had, that they deal with to overcome,” Pough said.
“I mean, like you got to applaud Charlamagne, for his work in the spaces is, how much bigger can you get than that with a guy who has millions of listeners and followers and shows, and he’s embraced it and held on to that to let you know, it’s OK.”
Pough touched on the processes to help a newly signed artist transition into stardom and how mental health is more prioritized now than during his start in the industry. Pough also advises anyone looking to break into the music industry and his latest real estate investments through Al J. Britt Enterprises, his real estate management company that has garnered over 100 doors as part of his portfolio.
Press play below to hear more on Pough’s rise as a music executive, his new memoir, and his insight into the music industry’s current state.