Suave Churchill’s life started on a different level in the streets as one of the original Freeway Boyz. Being raised by Freeway Ricky Ross, Sauve learned the definition of Hustle and to work until it is complete. It’s all about motivation, hard work, and dedication. Now Suave is CEO of EKJ Entertainment LLC, the owner and founder of the award-winning luxury clothing company VP Churchill Fashion & Apparel. Former President at Rick Ross Music Group, Suave was also the Head of Promotions at Funkcave Records and VP at Deep In The Game Records. He has built a distinguished resume while working with major recording artists such as Snoop Dogg, Bad Azz, Dogg Pound, and Dr. Dre during his days in the promotion department at Priority Records. Suave has developed a keen understanding of the entertainment industry by understanding the importance of longevity and business. After 30 years in the entertainment industry, Suave took a brief hiatus to kick start his family apparel line. But he has returned to the music industry to work with his childhood friend and partner Jerry Long, aka Kokane, The Most Featured Artist In The World, Spice 1, Yukmouth, Kurupt, Chill of Compton Most Wanted, Justified, Chilly Chill of the Lench Mob, and Compton Reg. He joined the executive team of Platinum City Entertainments with President and CEO Terry and Lawon Carney, bringing together some of the best talents to create a dynamic sound for The World Epidemic documentary based on gun violence in Los Angeles/America. He is also on the board of The World Rebirth Foundation, a non-profit organization that deals with inner-city youth. Their objective is to help the inner-city youth build self-esteem to go out in the real world and develop businesses, entrepreneurship self-alliance, and other things that are not taught to our youth in the classrooms. Suave looks to leave his blueprint to everyone with a vision of becoming determined by those Nipsey Hussle standards.
LS: How would you describe your creative eye? What inspires you?
SC: Well, I’m a visionary, a creative thinker more or less, even when I’m asleep, I’m thinking, weird, but I’ve been like that since I can remember. What inspires me, Well seeing other people win. No way a hater, I love to see people build and create, branding is king, and I love seeing growth, especially young entrepreneurs.
LS: What does your creative power mean to you?
SC: It means a lot, shows growth, and shares my learnings and teachings with others. As you stated, It’s the power to be creative, and hopefully, others can learn from me. Nipsey Hussle gave me his blueprint, so I’m adding to it and sharing it with others.
LS: Where does your creativity flow? How do you avoid burning out?
SC: If I understand the question, My creative flow comes from thinking about where I came from, Pomona, California. The last city in Los Angeles county is poverty but not knowing because I had so much fun, not knowing we were poor, and so much love from the community. But my flow came from such people as Kokane, Suga Free, Sugar Shane Mosley, and Jessica Alba. These people inspired me, and I just thought if these people from my city are shining on the big screen, I know I have to be creative in the sports world and the music industry. Far as burning out, again, Knowing where I come from, giving it 110% without hesitation.
LS: What made you create VP Churchill Fashion and Apparel?
SC: Well, I started Monsta Squad Apparel with Richard Morrow, which we lost to stage 4 cancer early this year. I had another vision from his, so after about 2 yrs, I wasn’t feeling the name, and then a light flashed. How about starting an apparel company with your last name and creating a family-owned business with my kids. So I started the brand VP Churchill. People ask me all the time, “What does the VP mean in VP Churchill” I tell them it’s Volume Parity. I have everyone look up the definition because if you tell them, they will forget, lol. Monsta Squad was cool, but I wasn’t feeling it, so Richard stayed with it, but unfortunately, he passed away.
LS: Tell us about the vision behind VP Churchill Fashion and Apparel?
SC: Well, my vision was to have a high-end brand like Gucci, Prada, Fendi, etc. You know, quality product and affordable. So after a couple of months, my manufacturer Eduardo De La Cruz started brainstorming and came up with the old-school letterman jacket made from raw materials, fine stitching, and Corinthian leather. Then I started targeting my celebrity friends, entertainers, and athletes. Floyd Mayweather loved the product, then Snoop Dogg, Cedric The Entertainers, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Kokane, and the list goes on. After that, we created the Hoodie, and right after that, the varsity jacket. After about a year, the Fat Burgers on Crenshaw & Slauson that Nipsey Hussle owned contacted me after his murder and asked me to create a T-shirt for the employees. They wanted to have them for Nipsey’s birthday to wear the week of his birthday, so we knocked out the design in one hour. Again, I’m a visionary. I saw the design in my mind in seconds. They ordered like 60 pieces. Then the customers started asking if they could buy one. I received a call within two days and ordered more than a thousand pieces. After about a week, people were wearing my brand all over Los Angeles. That was the best feeling in the world, knowing the man that gave me his blueprint store would be wearing my brand as their uniform.
LS: If you could change anything about the fashion industry, what would it be?
SC: Honestly, nothing, because fashion is like art, a reflection of your vision. Everyone has their outlook on their craft. All fashion designers come from all walks of life, so we all see things differently. I come from the hood, not Hollywood, so my vision sees things way differently. Damian John created FUBU “FOR US BY US,” totally different from Ralph Lauren or Armani.
LS: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
SC: My advice will be to create something you love, and no one else has made. Put in 110%, find your target market, wear your brand and become a walking billboard. Marketing is a must, and I prefer everyone to develop a mobile and create a fanbase. I’m in the process of building my brand app. I will share it with you all and share it with you all. Then will understand why.
LS: How do you stay updated with the trends in the fashion industry?
SC: To be truthful, the kids in my community, lol. These kids are so on top of the latest fashion, and then I’ll put my twist on it. Since the pandemic, many kids send me ideas, and I’m thankful for their vision. I’m all about teaching kids business and entrepreneurship. And of course, when I get my apparel hot off the press, I’ll surprise them with a couple of pieces hot off the press.
LS: What is next for Suave Churchill? What will your top priorities be moving forward in your career?
SC: Well, you know I retired from the music industry in 2018 and formed my apparel line. Then a friend of mine (Kenneth Hall) wanted to start a record label. I wasn’t with it, but music has always been my passion, so he continued to speak on his nephews (The Mifly Family). Eventually, I heard them, and I was like, wow!!! We signed them, and the artist by the name of Compton R.E.G which we just shot his video in Las Vegas “NO NO” We just did a song with E-40 “Grown Ass Man” and Snoop Dogg “Feel On Your Booty,” which are all summer cuts. It was like 4 of them, along with three R&B females. I was sold after that, and now I’m the CEO of EKJ Entertainment LLC.
I lived most of my life on the road, At priority records, president of Rick Ross Music Group, my uncle Freeway Rick Ross label, Grooveline Magazine, I was the Westcoast rep which we took artists on tour HBCU colleges. I’m back in the game for a while, lol. Be on the lookout for the Mifly family. These artists are going to make noise in the industry, mark my word.
LS: You have a new platform, audiostage.io, specifically for music lovers and artists. How did this deal come about?
SC: The company is formed by my business partner Kenneth Hall, the CFO of EKJ Entertainment. It’s pretty much like Tidal Spotify and Apple Music. UdioStage.io is a platform for people to discover and discuss new and old music they like, enabling them to enhance their music experience with conversation. Fans and artists can genuinely interact without social media algorithms or third-party interests getting in the way, nor does anyone have to sacrifice their privacy. Streaming music is free. The Flow feature only makes suggestions for people to discover new music without commercial intent, and there are no ads to diminish the purity of the platform. Fans can buy music directly and communicate directly with their favorite artists, allowing for a deeper connection. Not only can artists sell music directly to their fans, but they can also publish podcasts, post blog articles, broadcast their internet radio, and directly engage with their audience in security, without suppressive algorithms getting in the way, worrying about strikes, being shadowbanned, or getting canceled. AudioStage.io empowers the new era of music.
LS: What would you say are the necessary skills for becoming a successful fashion designer and CEO?
SC: As my guy, Nipsey Hussle, recites, HARD WORK & DEDICATION. You will also need to have a VISION. CEOs don’t sleep, PASSION and MOTIVATION. Don’t look at the money right away. Build your foundation first and foremost, then start your engine.
Contact Suave Churchill at firstname.lastname@example.org, my label app download in your app store is EKJ Entertainment. FB Suave Churchill, Instagram vp_churchill_fashion