Archbishop L. J. Guillory Remembers LOUIL SILAS, JR.
Wrote by: Cassandra Mills
Today I remember - LOUIL SILAS, JR. Born on April 17, 1956 in San Francisco - He died on January 6, 2001 in Encino, California. That short statement in no way reflects all of the living that Louil packed into his "much too short life!"... Louil Silas, Jr. was truly a "gifted and talented man"
- In his short time here he played such a role in signing and producing so much of the music that would go on to become the "soundtrack our lives!"... Knowing he enjoyed the spotlight, Louil began his early exploits as a DJ at the college hot spots. He quickly rose to prominence becoming one of Los Angeles’ premiere D.J.’s. His keen ability to hear a hit record made him highly sought after by the record industry. In 1983 Louil joined the staff of Atlantic Records when he was hired as their West Coast Promotion Manager.
While doing radio promotions by day his remixes were electrifying the dance floors at night. Louil was best known as the architect who built MCA Records Black Music Division into a multi-million dollar entity with the success of award winning superstars Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, and Stephanie Mills, New Edition, BBD, Bobby Brown, Jody Watley, Pebbles and the likes. Also having a keen sense of undiscovered music-makers, Louil was one of the first executives to recognize the creativity and recruited the production talent of L.A. Reid & Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Vassal Benford. His hit machine was at full tilt with Mac Band’s “Roses Are Red”, New Edition’s “NE Heartbreak”, Ready For The World’s “Oh Sheila”, Pebbles’ “Girlfriend” and “Mercedes Boy”, Jody Watley’s “Looking For a New Love” and “Do You Want Me?” and Loose Ends’ “Hangin’ on a String,” or BBD's "Poison" or Ralph Tresvant and "Sensitivity" You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing a Louil Silas hit! You couldn't go to a club and not hear one of his remixes. They became so popular that even other labels would hire him to remix their records, and that was a no-no back then! To get around the politics he'd do them on the down low under the producer name "ELLIS JAY" which was his alias for "L-S-J" (Louil Silas, Jr.) As Vice President and King of the A&R game, his crowning glory would come with the 11 million selling album of the original bad boy, Bobby Brown, on “Don’t Be Cruel.” Louil’s slogan, “it’s my prerogative” became the imprint.
In 1992, Louil launched Silas Records where he signed the likes of Chante Moore, Aaron Hall, Gyrl, Keith Washington and Jesse Powell. Like his idol, Berry Gordy, Louil felt an obligation and determination to fill a void by placing emphasis on artist development. He also believed that “anybody could get a record deal but that it should be an honor to be an artist.” Silas Records gave him the autonomy to do just that! Louil not only gave opportunities to up and coming artists, producers, and songwriters - He was one of the first people to see the [now] talented mega-hit-move director Antoine Fuqua, (Training Day, American Gangster, Shooter) when he was still making his name in videos. Louil hired Antoine to direct the debut video for Chante' Moore, "Love's taken over" and the rest as they say is history. Who doesn't remember Chante' looking "drop-dead gorgeous" in front of the fountains in beautiful, Paris, France... it was all such a perfect storm! Louil knew talent, before the world knew how great Rosie Perez was as an actress, Louil saw her star potential when she was dancer and begin to help her get in music videos.
He could always spot a STAR and he was usually right! In 1999, Louil joined LaFace Records as an A&R executive and was proud to be working with his long-time friends and admired business executives, L.A. Reid and Babyface. Louil always told me how fortunate he was to work with people like maverick, Irving Azoff, Jheryl Busby, Ernie Singleton, AD Washington, Zach Horowitz, and Cynthia Johnson, and Cynthia Manly, Sharon, Madeline, and Sara and so many others (forgive me if I didn't name you) that he'd always talk to me about. I can't even remember them all, I do know that Louil was an important part of an operation that had so many hits that he was a walking record factory! Louil was a "One-In-A-Million" kind of person who was always willing to give his absolute best when it came to his music and was one of the funniest people I ever meet who wasn't a comedian. He loved music, He loved Basketball, He loved life! Gone to so, but certainly NOT FORGOTTEN! #RIP Louil.