Steven "Stevo" Dingle continues to push the culture of music forward in Atlanta

Updated: Dec 23, 2018

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

Steven Dingle has come up through Atlanta since birth and is well respected as a contributor to Atlanta’s culture over the last decade. Level Up Atlanta got the chance to speak to him for their monthly Movers & Shakers series. Steven Dingle, better known as Stevo, is a talent manager who transforms raw talent into major success stories. After beginning the managing journey in 2012 with Miloh Smith, Stevo has aided in advancing the careers of many Atlanta producers and artist such as OG Maco and OG Parker.

Born in East Point, Georgia, Stevo spent his grade school years between McDonough, Georgia and southwest Atlanta. Stevo has always been a proud student of the game, "So I think the combination of growing up here, going to school here and just being a natural student of the culture and game helped me" he says.

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

"That's what makes Atlanta dope...we always have something to give"

We picked Stevo's brain to get his thoughts on how Atlanta shapes the music industry and he shared a unique perspective. "that’s what makes Atlanta dope, we always have something else to give" he said, expressing his passion for how Atlanta always curates new sounds that eventually gets picked up in other places and we just go find something new to do.

"People like J. Money, where the industry may say they fell off or something, those people still mean something to the city and when those song comes on in the club, we will still turn up" he went on to say. J. Money was one of a few examples given that brought back some flashbacks to the old Atlanta social scene. I guess if you know you know.

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

While working as a blogger for the Atlanta-based, Greedmont Park, Dingle connected with up-and-coming artist, Miloh Smith and began his first job as a talent manager during Miloh’s first mixtape run with Suite 404 and playing an integral part in the development and promotion of her second project, Pulp Fiction. Dingle’s roster grew with the addition of rapper OG Maco, widely known for his bangers "Road Runner" and “U Guessed It” that reached over 16 million plays on YouTube and nearly seven million plays on SoundCloud.

It was through artist-producer relationship with Maco that Dingle met his future client OG Parker. Parker, who Dingle co-manages, has achieved a great number feets including multiple platinum record, a grammy-nomination, charting the Billboard charts and much more. Stevo works closely with Atlanta-based label "Quality Control" and has begun working with recent QC signee, Kollision.

"Maintain a level of professionalism while maintaining the culture"

We asked Stevo who were some of the figures that he studied as a young manager trying to find his way and he told us “Definitely people who came up through Atlanta. So Kawan Prather who worked with Outkast and Dungeon Family, Ray Kash, Yelawof and Krit, of course Coach K, and to be able to work so closely with him now is definitely a blessing.”

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

Dingle has been able to curate a career that emulates the life he’s lived thus far - Atlanta music through and through. With multiple artists and producers on his roster and a vast knowledge base, Dingle has the tools to maintain his footprint in the music industry, while consistently contributing to Atlanta’s culture.

Read below to check out some of the top moments from our interview with Steven "Stevo" Dingle:

So you are talent manager in the music industry. Who are some of the figures you studied to help groom your career?

Stevo: Definitely people who came up through Atlanta. So Kawan Prather, working with Outkast and Dungeon Family, my favorite rapper, T.I.’s A&R over at Grand Hustle, Ray Kash who was one of the people working with Yelawof and Krit, of course Coach K, and to able to work so closely with him now is definitely a blessing.

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

And then of course the standards, Irv Gotti, Dame Dash, Mark Pitts who started managing Biggie and now has Miguel and J.Cole, so just people that have been doing it for a while and doing it well. Of course the greats like L.A. Reid, Dallas Austin and Babyface, as well.

What were things you paid attention to the most in grooming a career from them?

Stevo: My main thing was understanding how to maintain a level of professionalism while preserving the culture that the industry promotes. One thing about the industry we chose to work in, its heavily influenced by a particular culture.

I went to Clark Atlanta and one of the statements we believe in is “culture of service” and I found it important to not turn the culture off when trying to be professional in this industry. People like Mark Pitts, Irv and Coach were great at their jobs and professional, but they never had to turn their culture down and assimilate to a white culture. I loved they never had to sacrifice their authenticity to reach their success on the business side of the industry.

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

How would you describe how Atlanta shapes the music industry?

Stevo: My thing with Atlanta is the resilience of the city. Like Andre 3000 says in that old song, Hollywood Divorce, at the end he says how everything starts off as a small little hood thing, from clothes to music, everything and when Hollywood takes it, we don’t even trip, we just create something new.

And in my opinion, Atlanta embodies that. You can look at the style of Outkast and the Dungeon family and then crunk music and snap music and then Jeezy, Gucci, and T.I trap music and then the singing rapping that Thug, Skooly, Lucci do. All these sounds are different, but they’re Atlanta. And they set the tone. And when the rest of the industry starts doing it, we just come back home and find something new.

Photo by Chris House | Creative Directed by Adonis Thrax

What is one of the hardest experiences you encountered?

Stevo: Everybody won’t say this because they don’t have the same vision and path as me and I don’t think I’ve ever said this to anyone, but I think it’s me not wanting to leave Atlanta. As much as I love Atlanta, and I tell myself I’m never leaving because there is so much work to be done here, especially in this industry, but I understand that it’s limiting myself.

I have been told by several respected people in this industry that if I want to grow in my career and personally, I need to leave. We all know that Atlanta doesn’t have the media presence as other places like LA or New York, but its like we have the talent, just not the business. And I could leave because I’ve seen people move away and grow ahead of me, but I want to be homegrown and apart of the growth in my city and I never want to leave the city until the work is done.

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