Editor’s note: Part one of a three-part series. The complete interview is available at: https:// www.insightnews.com/
His name is Ricky Collins. He goes by his artistic name of “Starbound612.” He’s an artist, a businessman, a marketing executive, and a 26-year-old with global experience that is nothing short of phenomenal. Insight News editor-in-chief, Al McFarlane interviewed Collins for the Nov. 27 broadcast of “Conversations with Al McFarlane, on 90.3 FM, KFAI (www.kfai.org).
Al McFarlane: I met you at the suggestion of one of my daughters, Rebecca Rabb, who had heard about you and talked about work you are doing. You and she both are connected to the Black Excellence movement, originated by Houston White at H. White Men’s Room in North Minneapolis. Tell people about you.
Starbound612: Well, my name is Starbound612. I grew up right on the Northside on Broadway (Avenue) by where KFC used to be. Now it's Popeye's. I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I started my first company when I was 15. I went to Dunwoody Academy, and we started our company right in the classrooms at Dunwoody Academy. It's called Head in the Clouds Entertainment. We didn't really know what we wanted to do. We just knew we wanted to be entrepreneurs and we wanted to be successful.
From there, I started to make music and pursuing my musical career. In about 2015, I started a company called New Wave, with my brother, Nino Powers. That company is a media company. We do videography, photography, graphic design, web design. We started shooting video for Lil Jamez, an artist who’s also from the Northside, who got signed to Floyd Mayweather’s label. We started shooting video for him, flying out to Las Vegas, using our money earned from our jobs at Verizon Wireless.
Al McFarlane: How old were you then when you started doing that?
Starbound: We were 23. We did that for a whole year with no pay. In 2016, Floyd Mayweather finally gave us the opportunity and brought us onto the team to run all of Lil Jamez’ social media. So, we started traveling everywhere with him, all over the country.
Al McFarlane: Tell me more about Lil Jamez.
Starbound: Lil Jamez had the opportunity to be signed to Floyd Mayweather. At that time, he was pretty much the only artist that Floyd was dealing with. Floyd calls him his son. They've got a really close relationship. His name is James Champion. The Champion family is a big family on the Northside.
Al McFarlane: Sure. State Sen. Bobby Champion's family.
Starbound: Yeah. He's in that family. Really good dude. He gave us an opportunity to change our lives, and I'm always going to be grateful to him for that. We worked with him for a while, and then Floyd liked us so much, he was going on a world tour in Europe and decided to bring us with.
Al McFarlane: For listeners who might not be aware, talk about Floyd Mayweather.
Starbound: Oh, man.
Boxing phenom Floyd Mayweather is the highest-paid athlete in the history of sports. He is the undisputed champ in three different weight classes, with a 50-0 ring record – never been knocked down, never lost ever. He's an amazing, iconic person that I've been blessed to be around and learn from and grow with. It's been a blessing.
When he first gave us the opportunity to work with him, we were about to go to the BET Awards with Lil Jamez, and the then president of TMT Music Group, Anzel Jennings; we were in a car with him, me and Nino, and we got all our bags all packed up in the car, and we were about to go to the BET Awards. Anzel wanted to get a bigger vehicle, 'cause we were cramped up in there. So, he was on the phone talking to Floyd and we were just trying to get with them to go get a bigger vehicle. The next thing you know, we're driving down the street, and Floyd pulls up next to us in an old-school Benz, just him and four girls, and he looks over at us like, "Man, y'all need to step up y'all game." He had us pull over at this gas station. I was telling my brother, "Man, they're gonna call us out. They're gonna call us out." The next thing I know, I look up and they're like, "Come on, come on, come on."
So we get out and we meet him. That's when we formally, finally met him. We had been around for a year but never met him personally. That's when we formally met him, and he was telling us, "I like your work. I like what you guys are doing with Lil Jamez. I want you to go out to LA." Pretty much all he really said is, "I got you." That's one thing I really love about Floyd, is he's a man of his word. From that day, he's always taken care of us and made sure we've been good.
Al McFarlane: So, you got a chance to go to Europe.
Starbound: We went to Europe and the Middle East to 12 different countries. I don't even know all the names, but we were on tour, so we were going somewhere every single day on private jets, and then flying commercial too.
Sometimes we'd fly commercial 'cause they couldn't fit all the bags on the jet. One time we were leaving London and going to Belgium, and we had to get on a train. We had probably 30-something bags with six or seven people. We had to take all these bags with us on this train. It was crazy.
But it was one of the most amazing experiences to date for me, being able to travel and see all these people all over the world. We left London and went to Brussels, Belgium, and then we went to Amsterdam, to Moscow, Russia for a week, and we went to Dubai.
Dubai was on my bucket list when we started our company at 15. We were talking about Dubai back then like, "Oh, we want to go to Dubai one day. It's so crazy."
Al McFarlane: At 15?
Starbound: Yeah. Then it was just amazing to be there. One of the craziest things that happened when we were in Dubai, we were standing at the Burj Khalifa. It's the tallest building in the world. It's funny how what you really care about always follows you and gives you that inspiration or shows you itself when you're not even looking. But we checked into our hotel, me and my brother checked in our hotel, the Burj Khalifa, and our room number was 612 (the area code for Minneapolis) in the tallest building in the world.
Al McFarlane: Just like that.
Starbound: It was crazy. That was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me. That just always shows me I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and this place (North Minneapolis) is what made me who I am. Everything I do and every success that I have, and the reason why I'm doing this is to really show these kids here what's possible and where you can go.