If there is one consistency in the life of Neily Dickerson, it is that there has been a solid foundation set in her career in the music industry. The groundwork started being laid when, after graduating from high school, her mother refused to let her squander her summer away without working or going straight to college. “My mom called one of her friends in Personnel at A&M Records and told her, ‘my child needs a job’,” states Dickerson. She worked in the Accounts Payable Department as an A. P. clerk until she enrolled in Howard University. While at Howard U., Dickerson interned at Capitol and Arista Records and found her true calling – a career in the music industry.
While Dickerson loved working on the mainstream side, she had a desire to mix her work with her faith and she got her first opportunity alongside industry veteran – Vicki Mack Lataillade at Sparrow Records.
Lataillade left Sparrow to develop & start the renowned Gospo Centric. Dickerson pursued other avenues and began working at Perspective Records as executive administrative assistant for the company’s president – Sharon Heyward and with label owners – Jimmy ‘Jam’ Harris and Terry Lewis.
Approximately a year and a half later, Lataillade asked Dickerson to rejoin her, but this time as Director and eventually, Vice President of Artist Development/Marketing and Promotions at Gospo Centric. She soon found herself in the midst of the biggest boom of Gospel music with the success of Gospo Centric artists like Kirk Franklin and the Family, Kurt Carr & the Kurt Carr Singers, God’s Property and several others.
“I told the Lord, if I was going to work in the Gospel industry, I wanted to achieve the same sales being enjoyed on the mainstream side of the industry. I wanted gold and platinum plaques on my walls too.”
While at Gospo Centric, Dickerson noticed a void within the industry – an independent marketing and promotions company – to expand the audience for the numerous Gospel acts that were not gaining widespread appeal among more mainstream listeners. “I kept telling myself I can fill the void,” she explains. “I felt the Lord urging me that He would open doors for me. That was very clear. The Lord gave me the layout and plan for the company quickly.”
In 1997, Dickerson stepped out on her own and started the ND co., an independent marketing and promotions company with a duo meaning – the Neily Dickerson company as well as the iNDependent company. Within a week of starting the company, she acquired her first deal – Karen Clark Sheard’s highly – anticipated solo release, ‘Finally Karen’ and the projects just kept coming.
She also worked; The Williams Brothers’ – “Still Standing,” Be Be Winans’ solo debut, the sophomore solo release from Ce Ce Winans and the Inspiration Soundtrack for – “The Prince of Egypt (the story of Moses).” The ND co. also worked on the Kim Burrell’s ‘Everlasting Life’, Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Judith Christie – McAllister, and Yolanda Adams’ ‘Mountain High, Valley Low,’ and every project there after. “There was no looking back,” says Dickerson of her decision to start the ND co. “I missed the GC family, but I knew it was time for me to move forward.”
Dickerson is now dedicated to taking risks and being creative in getting artists exposure. And she’s tenacious in her work. “While we are trying to be budget conscious with people, we are also trying to give them the most creative ideas possible,” she notes, “You have to work a project until it can’t be worked any more. That’s how I work. I’m going make sure there’s nothing else that can be done.”
In 1998, Dickerson opened the doors of another company. A record label called, Church Howse Music. It was a move that she was reluctant to take. “So many people told me, you need to start a label, “she says. “I didn’t want anybody to call me into that ministry. I didn’t think we needed another Gospel label. I wondered what I could do that’s different from other labels. So, I told people if God is going to give me a label He’ll have to show me.”
And show her, He did. While she ignored the people who urged her to start a label, she couldn’t ignore all the ideas and signs God was putting in her heart.
In 2001, Church Howse dropped the debut project from its first act. Ted & Sheri. The duo was nominated for 3 Stellar Awards and won Contemporary duo and duo of the year and numerous awards. Not bad for an act on a label without major distribution.
The labels 2nd release, THE GOSPEL WONDERS received major attention in the quartet genre as well. The focus of the label, to encourage the Church (the Body of Christ) to develop and maintain a daily walk/relationship with the Lord, while ministering to the world/unsaved, hence the spelling of house with a ‘w.’
“I see this as ministry. It wasn’t always that way,” she admits. “I realized that I am a covering for the artists. When I got that, it blew me way. The Lord showed me in every area that Church Howse is a ministry. I will be accountable in areas that others might not be and that’s an awesome responsibility.” And one that Dickerson is committed to building upon!
In 2009 Neily got a call to consult on BET’s hit show, Sunday Best and during her 10 year run has evolved on the show from Marketing consultant, Talent Producer to Producer. She’s since been a producer on several other shows and a Los Angeles staple, The First Ladies High Tea.