EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Director Jessy Terrero Speaks to ThatsEnuff
Although the performers get the limelight in the music industry, what the average fan doesn’t get a chance to see are the people behind the scenes who make everything work. While in New York City for a quick visit, director Jessy Terrero spoke to ThatsEnuff during Gilbere Forte’s shoot for the upcoming video for the remix of “Hot in This Bitch” featuring Dipset representative Jim Jones and Virginia’s own Pusha T. Having directed videos for 50 Cent, Daddy Yankee, Aventura, and more, it’s no surprise that the New York-bred Dominican talent would have some big things in the works. He managed to tell us a few details about an upcoming film with 50 Cent, how he feels artists are underestimating the importance of a skilled director, and his work to promote a new face emerging in the Latino Hip Hop scene in Los Angeles.
ThatsEnuff: Where are you from originally?
Jessy Terrero: I’m from New York originally, but I’m based in Los Angeles now. For the next couple of months I’ll be in New Orleans working on a film project with 50 Cent called The Freelancers. Luckily I was able to come to New York, I have to meet with an actor tomorrow, so I was able to pop into this video shoot.
ThatsEnuff: When will The Freelancers be released?
Jessy Terrero: We don’t have a release date yet. The film is under 50 Cent’s company, Cheetah Vision, on Lionsgate, and we start shooting April 11th. I would assume it would probably be out early next year.
ThatsEnuff: How did you meet 50 Cent and start working with G-Unit?
Jessy Terrero: I’m from Jamaica, Queens, and I was doing a lot of videos at the time. I was working on shooting a video for Styles P for Interscope, and I found out that Eminem and Dr. Dre signed 50 Cent. He was from my neighborhood and I had been hearing his music for years, so I went to Interscope and told them I wanted to work on his project. When “Wanksta” came out, they kept their word and DJ Mormile at Interscope sent me the record. The rest is history.
ThatsEnuff: If you could give a piece of advice to someone trying to follow in your footsteps, what would you tell them?
Jessy Terrero: I would tell them that in this digital age there are a lot of opportunities for people to go and shoot stuff themselves. The Canon 5D gave the opportunity for a lot of kids to want to be directors, but I think that the market is oversaturated. A lot of people are doing things but don’t really have the proper skill level. If you really want to be a director you have to hone in on your skills and the art form. Don’t take it for granted. You don’t go on the basketball court and start playing without knowing the basics of the game. If this is what they want to do then they need to work hard, practice, and understand the craft.
ThatsEnuff: What are some downsides to the change in technology and accessibility of equipment?
Jessy Terrero: There are a lot of people in the music industry that assume the director’s role isn’t as important as it was, so there are a lot of people running around feeling like they can direct a video. If you look at the powerhouses in music like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Jay-Z, they never went that route. They still hire the big directors. The downside is that it hurt the industry. Budgets went down. People think they don’t have to spend money anymore, and I think a lot of artists are hurting themselves by not understanding how important the visual can be.
ThatsEnuff: What have you been working on these days?
Jessy Terrero: I’m working with an artist named Veze Skante, and we have a song out called “Die Famous” on First Family Records. We’re putting it out independently with my partner Frank Lopez. We got another kid named Don Trip that just signed to Interscope, so we’re just working on the music projects and moving forward.
ThatsEnuff: So you’re directly involved with First Family Records?
Jessy Terrero: Yes, I’m one of the partners at the label. Veze is a Mexican kid from L.A. and we’re trying to break ground in the Latin market. He does American music, but I’m Latino, and we always try to push Latinos forward.
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