From One Idea to Expanding His Dream
In 2008, Innovative Recordings, LLC was established out of a never-ending commitment to create innovative music and music related projects. Charles Garris (Founder and Owner) started his venture and additional entertainment efforts utilizing his own funds. Innovative Recordings is known for consistently creating compelling productions for the music, media, television and film industry. Recent projects for Innovative Recordings include:
- Scoring two movies for Black Entertainment Television (BET): Twas’ the Chaos Before Christmas and Angrily Ever After
- Twas’ the Chaos Before Christmas premiered on BET and BETHer on December 7, 2019, and it starred Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Sherri Shepherd, Affion Crockett and Victoria Rowell, it was viewed by 1.2 million homes on its premiere night, which made it the highest-rated holiday film in the last two years on the network and it was Nominated for a NAACP Image Award in 2020.
Although Charles was realizing great success in his efforts, he knew there was more work to be done. In an effort to ensure that his new endeavors were aligned with a model built for success, he sought out the DCSBDC at Howard University.
District of Columbia SBDC Impact
In 2018, a focused young man made an appointment for a counseling session at the Small Business Resource Center of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Agency (a DCSBDC partner). The gentleman that appeared before the DCSBDC consultant had a quiet demeanor, but an incredibly determined spirit.
At the DCSBDC initial counseling session, Charles Garris mentioned that he was committed to ensuring that the District of Columbia would become the ”GO-GO” Capital of America. At this time, he was focusing on the 60th anniversary of BEN’s CHILLI BOWL extravaganza which he and his affiliates play a part. To begin, the DCSBDC consultant asked several questions at the initial counseling session and an exciting exchange ensued. The consultant quickly determined that he was a no-nonsense entrepreneur destined for success in a variety of circles within the entertainment arena. Afterwards, DCSBDC started providing technical, financial and business development assistance to Innovative Recordings to increase Charles’ economic growth.
It was easy to determine that with DCSBDC’s continued guidance, Charles was interested in upgrading his business acumen and would be included in the list of DC’s famous entertainers such as: the late Marvin Gaye and Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go. In his quest to improve, Charles followed all of the advice, instructions and guidance to push himself through DCSBDC’s 7-month vigorous 1st Government Contractor’s Success Series, whereby he was amongst the first graduating class in May 2019. It is important to note that on February 19, 2020, the District of Columbia signed into law “GO GO” as its official sound of the nation’s capital. Charles played a vital role in making this happen.
Due to Charles’ dedication, commitment to following the established guidelines and active participation in the counseling sessions provided by the DCSBDC Consultant, he was the recipient of DCSBDC’s 2020 Small Business Outstanding Achievement Award. This award was presented at DCSBDC Small Business Day in March 2020. The award is presented to an entrepreneur who has worked with the DCSBDC and demonstrated a commitment to economic growth that has resulted in positive outcomes for their business and the community.
Entrepreneur Pioneers Community Outreach Program
Having over 20 years of experience in the music industry, Charles Garris is widely recognized for his distinctive singing voice, creative flair for theatre, music and media production. He served as the lead vocalist of Rare Essence and received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his musical contributions in 2017.
Charles indicated at his initial DCSBDC session that he wanted to continue to share his gifts with the children from his community. His noted that he is in the business of helping and mentoring children which is the basis for the program he calls Capital Kidds (CK). The mission of Capital Kidds is to promote self-expression and well-being through performing arts education with individuals between the ages of 8 and 18. One of the goals of this program is to help children to develop the skills needed to be successful in their artistic endeavors; thereby, preparing them for employment in their field of interest. CK envisions providing a platform for artists who excel in their artistry and are champions of their own well-being. To further support the mission, Charles launched a cooking show and a podcast in the Spring of 2020 which formed the Cooking with Capital Kidds series. This series highlights individuals with exceptional culinary skills.
Game Changing Partnerships
Charles has kept his eye on the prize. He is formulating partnerships with SONY, The Music Capital of the World “Nashville”, BET and OCTET Productions. He has also been invited to participate as a subject matter expert at the CANNES festival and Toronto International Film Festival, whereby he discussed music placement and licensing for motion pictures and television. He continues to embrace his love for the entertainment industry and all facets of it whether performing, producing music scores and soundtracks, or preparing our youth for their potential role in entertainment.
By following the established rules, regulations and proper formula for business success through the DCSBDC, Charles has excelled in expanding his business to the food/restaurant industry. Early in 2020, he focused on economic growth by expanding his company into another arena (DCity Wings and Shorty’s). He has partnered with Melvin Hines (owner of DCity SmokeHouse) and has formulated a tasty menu which includes wonderful southern delights such as: hushpuppies, mac and cheese and brisket chili.
By implementing the guidance of the one-stop expert counseling that is offered by the DCSBDC, Charles is prepared for his next adventure of opening restaurants in the Ward 8 (Anacostia – DC) area within the first quarter of 2021.
“Charles is the perfect example of hard work and Innovative Recordings, LLC is truly a success story exemplified through expansion and giving back to the community.” – Necola Shaw