Tour Tales | Adrian Miller helped turn Anderson .Paak from an unknown to in demand

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” Anderson .Paak’s former manager and business partner discusses the star’s pre-fame rise, performances and more.

  /  03.02.2021


Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ‘Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’

Adrian Miller was looking for the next D’Angelo when he came across pre-fame Anderson .Paak in 2011. Almost a decade since he’s helped manage the recording artist’s career and grow his live show from a good time to a sustainable business.

“If you tell A.P. he’s going to be make $2 on a show, he’s going to spend $3 to make the show,” Miller told REVOLT with a laugh. “As a manager, I’m like, ‘Bro, I want this to grow, but we also have to make a living. This isn’t just for everybody’s enjoyment. This is also a business.’”

In this installment of “Tour Tales,” .Paak’s former manager and business partner discusses the star’s pre-fame rise, performances and more. Read below!

You wanted to work with Anderson .Paak before you ever saw him perform live, right?

That’s correct. I partnered with Dominique [Trenier], who was D’Angelo’s manager. I need you to understand this was 100% divine intervention. There was a real play in me trying to find the next wave of what we’re looking for. I actually met Anderson by way of a rap group TiRon & Ayomari. Dominique and I were managing them together. They had a record on their demos, which eventually landed on the album, that essentially featured him [“My Supernova”]. It felt very much like Native Tongues. This was around 2011, maybe 2012.

What was the thought process behind building his live show early on?

Our goal was to do as many shows as possible. What I brought was the opportunity. They had been doing shows, but I said we needed to create our own reason for a show. That involved creating a body of work that stood for something that we could put a regular show together with, which became his first residency at The Lyric Theater on La Brea [in July 2014]. Everything was plotted out for that between he and I — from the flyers to how we were going to do it to us having our private stash of alcohol in the back because they didn’t serve alcohol (laughs).

We were fucking people’s heads up with that residency every week. That’s how he got signed to CAA… When you came to that residency we did, it was a church. It was a service and a ceremony. That boy ruled that stage like nobody’s business.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adrian Miller (@adrian_miller)

What were those early Anderson .Paak shows like? 

It was very well thought out. He thought out what he would do from start to finish. Then, he would go on stage and do whatever else he wanted to do because he was just catching the holy ghost up there. You were getting the opportunity of seeing someone in their own realm. He would get off stage and be like, “What did you think? How was it?” He was very conscious of how to get better. He wanted excellence. He demanded excellence. I once put him on stage with Stevie Wonder. Stevie left him on stage to go pee like, “You got it, kid?” (laughs).

What was the first tour you were on with him?

The first tour wasn’t with his band The Free Nationals. He was part of a band for a guy named Watsky. He produced Watsky’s entire album and Watsky allowed him to open up for him on the “All You Can Do Tour” in 2014. Anderson was in his own lane. We would look at each other from across the room in the middle of a soundcheck and say, “Yeah, we got them.” I was just fanboying him. Watsky allowed him to open up and play for him. He came home and was ready to go right back out. That’s when I figured out he just loved being on stage. Some people like notoriety and fame. He loves the stage.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @thetourtales

How did the overseas crowd affect his live show early in his career?

Us going to Australia was a big deal. Australia’s version of KCRW is called ABC. This was us going into Venice. Us being in Australia was supposed to be a one-off show, but our agent was able to line up a bunch of shows. That’s where I wanted to tie in with radio and we did. He got on the radio, did a few drops, and the radio people came out and recorded one of the shows. From there, he blew up. We went to Paris and did a show. Chris Brown came and was like “What the fuck is going on?” because he didn’t get it at first. It started to really ignite because it was Fashion Week in Paris.

What was Anderson’s touring experience with Bruno Mars on that “24k Magic World Tour” in 2017?

Bruno Mars was top of the food chain. I don’t want to say Anderson had just got his show together, I think he could finally afford [what he wanted to do]. If you tell A.P. he’s going to be make $2 on a show, he’s going to spend $3 to make the show (laughs). As a manager, I’m like, “Bro, I want this to grow, but we also have to make a living. This isn’t just for everybody’s enjoyment. This is also a business. I know you want to give them everything. But, you did all these shows with Watsky without all of this and it was the same thing. Why not go back to that?” I think artists tend to want to do things at a certain tier. Of course, if you’re going up against Bruno Mars, you don’t want to feel like you’re not the shit.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adrian Miller (@adrian_miller)

What’s on Anderson’s rider?

He’s not really too particular. At first he was like, “I only want fish.” He was pretty healthy. Then, he realized, “Wait, I can have anything (laughs)?” Before a show, he’ll eat a whole half of a meal right in front of you and you know he needs that because he’s jumping up and down on stage, on the mic, bouncing in the audience, on the drums, and stage diving. If you don’t keep up with him on stage, you won’t know where he is five minutes into the show.

What went into putting together his first Afropunk set?

It was never dull with Anderson. Going from one stage to the other was pretty much his M.O. He loves bouncing around. That’s why we didn’t do a bunch of afterparties because he’d do the whole damn show he just did again because he doesn’t have a cutoff switch.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JusAire (@keithnelsonjr)

What are his “Tour Hits”?

“Drugs” was a big record that eventually became a huge song. “Come Down” is a no-brainer. Another sleeper was “GLOWED UP.” When that came on, he had a dance routine around that. A lot of people didn’t know it was him on that song.

Before Mac Miller passed, he and .Paak’s “DANG” record was beginning to heat up. Do you have any performance memories from that?

When we did “DANG” at Camp Flog Gnaw Festival in 2016, that was special. That felt really dope. People were really receptive.

Another defining performance of Anderson’s was performing during Dave Chapelle’s 2017 residency at Radio City Music Hall.

Dave is always a huge fan. Anderson’s music and live show was always put in front of our friends behind the scenes who would leak it to their friends. I don’t know if they discovered it on their own, but a lot of times they didn’t have a choice but to hear it. If Corey [Smyth], Dave’s manager, is running around fucking with Anderson [it is] because I sent it to him. There is a layer of delivering the records around to tastemakers that never gets spoken about.

As someone who was there from the start, what is the most memorable Anderson performances you were a part of?

The Brixton Academy performance we did [in March 2018] where we brought out Dr. Dre was one. Just getting Dre out to perform is a production in itself. Another one is the Coachella performance [in April 2016] where we brought out Gary Clark Jr. in the first weekend, and Dr. Dre and Kendrick in the second weekend. Those were the most phenomenal times because you don’t know you have that capacity until you actually do it. The most memorable show was us doing The Palladium [on December 10, 2016]. People didn’t know we were ready for it. Live Nation [was] believing in us. I was like, “Oh shit, we’re spending almost $100,000 for a show (laughs).” We ended up doing the show and it was dope. I helped bring out Busta [Rhymes], T.I., Stevie, and all the friends and celebrities out. We had a full-blown orchestration. The room was super packed. I’m the ultimate manager when it comes to being in a position to make it work.

By that time, we had given you Malibu. We built the Malibu Beach Inn on stage with an upstairs and downstairs. It was so dope.

How did you connect with Mereba?

I have been blessed to be mentored by very bright individuals from Benny Medina to my brother David Ellington, king of the bitcoin business world (laughs). Also, Channing Johnson is my attorney. At the time, Channing had some people he wanted me to meet up and connect with. He connected me to Stevie’s camp. Mereba was working with Stevie and I met her through Stevie’s ex-wife/business partner. This was around 2016/2017.

How have you developed her show over the years?

Her show is way more quieter than Anderson’s. Her detail isn’t any different. She has her own way of being so on top of what makes her show work. Her show evolved from being more acoustic guitar driven to having a full-blown band with the symmetry of an album to work from. You can go out there and do shows all you want, but if you don’t have a performance piece and an album that people have had an opportunity to check out knowing that you’re coming, then you’re kinda swinging in the dark.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mereba (@mereba)

What were some notable fan reactions she’s received?

I don’t have one instance. It’s always special moments. She has people giving her gifts all of the time. People are giving her opportunities right on the side stage. She’s very warm and welcomes the opportunity to perform.

What was your first touring experience with her?

I did a big performance at the SoHo house with Mereba and Stevie. That was a coming out of sorts. Stevie did his introduction of her and she’s been flying on her own since then. Her and Stevie were performing Bob Dylan records together. It was a very private, but packed show in Malibu on the beach. It was one of the most memorable shows I was part of with her. There were so many people there. I would look up and Pierce Brosnan is there. Leonardo DiCaprio is there. They wanted to talk to Stevie and take pictures with him, but then they became fans of her…


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Adrian Miller (@adrian_miller)

How do you feel 2020’s lack of shows will affect the touring industry moving forward?

It was a hard reset. Before, we have had zero opportunities to really look at things from other perspectives. Are the promoters gouging? Are festivals unsafe environments for women? These hard questions are starting to get asked. I ask that we put it all in perspective where every show is not Woodstock. Every show can’t be Woodstock or we don’t grow the art enough to have a balance. There has to be Apollos and the opportunity for artists to be seen on a regular basis at colleges. There has to be an opportunity to see things at a smaller scale before it gets to a bigger scale.

I think the hard reset for shows in 2020 has given us the capacity to go direct. I had been telling people to use YouTube. I was there when D-Nice had a group of us listen to him. It was maybe 1,000 people, if that. When he got on Instagram he was like, “Should I start deejaying?” I was like, “Nigga, why are you asking? Do it! Why are you on here talking and you’re a DJ.” He was cracking up and next thing you know…boom!




View More



View More


Walmart has the home essentials for everyone on your holiday shopping list

Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.

  /  11.24.2023

5 things you need to know about the 2023 Billboard Music Awards

“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.

  /  11.20.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicks off at Central State University

On Oct. 10, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University.

  /  11.14.2023

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour visited Mississippi Valley State University

The Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour made its final stop at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and left a lasting impact on students and alumni alike.

  /  11.22.2023

Walmart continues HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour during lively Virginia State University stop

After unveiling their state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University, Walmart brought the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to Virginia State University (VSU) on Oct. 13.

  /  11.14.2023

Walmart HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour brings attention and wisdom to North Carolina Central University

On Oct. 17, Walmart brought the third stop of the HBCU Black & Unlimited Tour to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

  /  11.15.2023

Walmart's HBCU Black and Unlimited Tour kicked off at Central State University

In October, Walmart unveiled a brand new, state of the art creative studio on the campus of Central State University. The HBCU located in Wilberforce, OH was the first stop on Walmart’s Black and Unlimited HBCU Tour.

  /  11.28.2023

Dig In & Drink Up | 'Bet on Black'

In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!

  /  11.15.2023

The Auditions | 'Shoot Your Shot'

The competition begins at REVOLT WORLD as rising rappers, singers, and musicians line up to audition for their spot on the main stage. Brought to you by McDonald’s.

  /  11.28.2023

Groovey Lew on hip hop style, Johnell Young's industry secrets, BGS salon's wig mastery and more | 'Black Girl Stuff'

Fashion King Groovey Lew on masterminding hip-hop’s most iconic looks. Actor Johnell Young reveals the secret to breaking into the entertainment industry. Celebrity hairstylist Dontay Savoy and got2B ambassador Tokyo Stylez are in the BGS Salon with the perfect wig install. Plus, comedian Lauren Knight performs.

  /  11.15.2023

Walmart brings in heavy-hitters for Black and Unlimited Tour panel

REVOLT is continuing its impactful partnership with Walmart by teaming up to showcase Black creatives at HBCUs all-across America. The panel consisted of three experienced, accomplished Black HBCU alumni: Actor and media personality Terrence J, entertainment attorney John T. Rose, and actress and “REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy-Rue McCullough.

  /  11.30.2023

Pheelz talks expressing himself through music & his biggest inspirations | 'On In 5'

On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!

  /  07.11.2023

Dr. Jaqueline Echols' mission to cure environmental racism

The health of a community can often be traced to the health of the environment that surrounds it. In Atlanta, a woman named Dr. Jaqueline Echols has dedicated her life to helping ensure that people in economically underserved communities have clean rivers – for better health and for the joy of outdoor recreational space.

  /  12.01.2023

Investing in stocks in a recession | 'Maconomics'

Host Ross Mac provides useful advice for preparing your personal finances in the event of a recession. He emphasizes the importance of budgeting properly, building an emergency fund, and maintaining discipline when investing.

  /  11.21.2023

Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'

On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!

  /  07.10.2023

Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'

On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.

  /  07.12.2023

BNXN talks leaving IT for music, linking with Wizkid, going viral & new album | 'On In 5'

For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!

  /  08.08.2023

Best chef's kiss | 'Bet on Black'

“Bet on Black” is back with an all-new season! Watch as judges Pinky Cole, Bun B, Van Lathan, and Target’s Melanie Gatewood-Hall meet new contestants and hear pitches from entrepreneurs Saucy D and Chef Diva Dawg.

  /  10.24.2023

Good taste test | 'Bet on Black'

With the help of host Dustin Ross and correspondent Danielle Young, entrepreneurs Diva Dawg, Brooklyn Tea, and The Sable Collective pitch their ideas to the judges. Watch the all-new episode of “Bet on Black” now!

  /  10.31.2023

DDG has his sights set on becoming a fashion hero & talks Halle Bailey being his "best friend"

In this exclusive interview, DDG opens up about his fashion inspiration, what drew him to girlfriend Halle Bailey, dealing with negative opinions about his relationship, and more. Read up!

  /  11.28.2023
View More
Revolt - New Episodes