Get ready world, rapper Drake is releasing his first ever concert film on March 18/19th in select theaters around the globe entitled, Drake’s Homecoming: The Lost Footage (http://www.drakeshomecoming.com), and The Levity Ball got to sit down with the film’s executive producer Samuel Cole Elkind to find out all the details…
How did you first get involved with Drake and becoming a producer on this film?
I had the vision and the dream as a young entrepreneur. It’s funny that they refer to me as the Canadian Richard Branson. I signed Drake personally to a performance film & album contract and I went on to produce his first Hometown Concert in Toronto. I was responsible for a lot of his initial marketing & promoting in Toronto like the “Airplane Photoshoot” where I arranged the private jet and hanger that was shot by famous photographer Matt Barnes. We aggressively marketed Drake and the homecoming concert as if we were his record label. See, no one really knew who Drake was back then so we had to build the buzz organically. Had street teams flyer every other day for a month, signed an exclusive deal with radio stations in Toronto to promote the concert, printed press kits and dropped them off to every major and minor media station in the city, ran ads in magazines, social media pushes, chalked the streets and had the hottest promoters selling tickets. We were nonstop no sleep 24/7 for a month. All this you can say led me to becoming a producer on the concert and film.
What is your greatest memory/experience with Drake to this date that you remember?
When I signed Drake to that performance contract at the Four Seasons in Toronto. I wrote up the contract myself, gave Drake his deposit in stacks of cash in a Harry Rosen’s bag and we popped a cool bottle of Rose champagne after to celebrate. At the actual Hometown concert – which the film showcases – as I was standing on stage it was a triumphant feeling watching him perform onstage killing it in front of a sold out crowd of 3000 people looking out seeing the most beautiful women you could imagine… Never mentioned this publicly until now, but every one of my suit pockets was so packed with stacks of cash I couldn’t move around, but it was a wild experience, like something out of a movie.
About a month after this hometown concert, Drake blew up instantly. I remember everyone in Toronto told us we couldn’t sign Drake personally, that we’d never sell out this show, and that basically we were underdogs trying to achieve the American Dream. I guess we showed them!
What do you hope people take away after seeing this film?
This has been compared to the Beatles performing at the Tavern. The world will understand that they just saw hip hop / music & cultural history. What urban mainstream concert film has been released in the past 10 years that’s like this?! There’s nothing like this! This is raw Drizzy giving his hometown a powerful emotional lion like performance.
Did you personally ever think Drake would be as big as he is?
Yes absolutely that’s why I signed him. I foresaw everything. Drake had the entire package: The talent, drive, vision, looks, smarts, and team. Drake will only get bigger though. He is one of the true greats Jimi Hendrix, Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, and Michael Jackson.
How hard was it to produce this film?
Easy! No big deal! Ha Ha Ha… It was absolutely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Next to border line impossible and the stress is crazy. Wouldn’t have done it if I had known all the challenges along the way. However, dream BIG & never give up.
How would you compare this film to one like Justin Bieber recently put out?
Both Canadians, both extremely talented superstars. Both 100% male. Both 100% sexy. Both rich & young. They’re both huge concert films but the difference is they call Drake’s Homecoming The Lost Footage “The Blair Witch Project” of concert films. We were given a super small Napoleon budget but my director & editor Evan Kosiner, who’s a genius by the way, and turned it into a multimillion dollar of value production.
What is the best advice Drake has ever given you?
“Don’t ask permission just ask forgiveness” which originates from Drakes producer 40’s moms expression.
What is your favorite song in the film?
“Say you will” freestyle. It’s just really cool and smooth track. The auto tune sounds hot too. Real true drake fans will understand Drakes freestyle joke reference as well but I won’t spoil it for everyone though. Go get the once in a lifetime experience for yourselves on March 19th 2015.