Founder and Proprietor of George’s Music Room
George Daniels
Founder and Proprietor of George’s Music Room
In a century where corporate music giants undercut, betray and scramble for their piece of the pie, music retailer George Daniels quietly observes the bloodbath from the sidelines. As the founder and proprietor of George’s Music Room, arguably the most influential independent music retailer in the country, George has infiltrated the industry using one simple, six letter word: Family. Appearing in numerous music videos and movies, hosting countless conferences, parties, and award shows and even being featured in several fashion campaigns, George Daniels is much more than a wildly successful merchant. He is a philanthropist, visionary, father-figure and confidant to artists like Sean Combs and Snoop Dogg, who affectionately refer to him as “Uncle George” and “The Music Man”. Where George goes, his reputation precedes him, even overseas where a panel of South African judges named him “Mamadou”, or ‘The Messenger’.   This title is only appropriate for a man who has spent his life spreading messages of empowerment, honesty and loyalty, all qualities Daniels understood growing up in New York City and watching his family own and operate southern style restaurants. It was there that Daniels first rubbed shoulders with music legends like Oscar Peterson and Miles Davis who would come in to eat, using their small royalty checks to pay. Crisp New York evenings were often spent with his father, who would tell him about nightclubs like Lenox Lounge and Three Deuces that he was too young to attend.   Immersed in gorgeous skylines and a rich musical heritage, Daniels’ decision to attend Loop College in Chicago couldn’t have been timelier. It was in Chicago that George fell desperately in love with music and earned his stripes as an intern at Chess Records- where he was a janitor, driver and even provided elementary background noise for recordings. Likening the experience to “running away to join the circus”, Daniels was overjoyed to be exposed to artists such as Billy Stewart, Etta James, Muddy Waters and Ramsey Lewis. His subsequent position at One Stop Records gave Daniels the fundamental retail, stocking and customer service skills he needed to start running the show.   On December 12, 1969, just shy of Daniels’ 21st birthday, George’s Music Room opened for business on Chicago’s West Side. The original establishment became a musical mecca for major and independent artists including Kanye West, Common, R. Kelly and Usher.   But more importantly, George’s Music Room is regarded as an anchor and symbol of longevity, fortitude, and family in Lawndale, a community known for economic depression. And fortunately for Lawndale, George looks out for his family. His efforts were even recognized by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who personally commissioned Daniels to open a second location at Midway Airport on the city’s Southwest side. In 2008, Daniels continued to separate himself from the herd, insisting that he is recognized as a ‘merchant’ rather than businessman. It is this sense of self that prompted Daniels trip to Haiti where he supported Wyclef Jean’s charitable organization Yele Haiti. “Merchants help the community. Merchants know how to work with people, to build relationships in hopes of really understanding what it is that customers want and then delivering it,” he explains. A recipient of an NAACP Image award, Daniels philosophy has not gone unnoticed. In 2016, the Chicago Defender presented him with a Man of Excellence Award. Savvy after 40 years in business, Daniels remains far from naïve about the turbulent music industry. His understanding and strong desire to work with consumers are reasons why he transitioned into digital music sales. And while this attitude has brought him business and countless awards, Daniels lists the National Association of Recording Merchandisers “Retailer of the Year” award as one of his most cherished honors. “The pride and sense of accomplishment I felt upon learning I would be the first African-American recipient was overwhelming,” he recalls. Personable, warm and ever dapper, George Daniels is the uncle we all wish we had. Those who have had the privilege of spending time with Daniels cite him as an excellent tour guide whose overwhelming sense of Chicago pride is contagious. So next time you see him, don’t hesitate to say hello. He might just take you out on the town with the family.
Accomplishments
   Memberships
  • Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Conference Advisory Board  - Present
  • Friars of Beverly Hills - 2006 to present
  • Grammy Selection Committee  -2005 to present
  • Board Member – Living Legends Foundation – 1995 to present
  • Former Board Member -  National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM)
  • Former Member – National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS)
  • Former President – Midwest  Radio and Music Association (MRMA)
  • Music Marketing Panel at Columbia College for Columbia Urban Music Association
Awards
  • Bombay Sapphire ‘Inspired’ Award - 2007
  • National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment Award – 2005
  • Local Chapter – NARAS Board of Governors Award – 2004
  • Russell Simmons Hip Hop Summit Award – 2004
  • Hennessey Privilege Award  -2004
  • Rise Above Award – 2004
  • Living Legends Award – 2001
  • Heroes and Legends Award – 2000
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Monarch Award for Community Service  -1997
  • Urban Network Retailer of the Year – 1996
  • NARM Retailer of the Year , Single Store – 1996
  • IMPACT Retailer of the Year – 1996
  • Gavin Rap Retailer of the Year – 1997, 1995
  • NARM Retailer of the Year, 1994
  • Black Radio Exclusive – 1994, 1993, 1992
  Events  (Host and/or Participant)
  • Co-Curator/Host, Bombay Sapphire ‘Inspired’ Series -2007
  • Instructor (Stepping Classes), Tom Joyner Cruises -2000 to present
  • Guest Lecturer, Columbia College Chicago – Arts & Entertainment Program – 2001 to present
  • Sponsor, George’s Music Room/WGCI-FM “Back to School Festival” - 1996-2006
  • Host, NBA All Star Weekend- 2006, 2009
  • Host, BET After Grammy party honoring Ray Charles – 2005
  • Instructor (Stepping Classes), Essence fest, sponsored by McDonald’s -2005
  • Panelist, National Urban League Influencer Summit – 2005
  • Model, Miami Fashion Week – 2005, 2004
  • President, KORA Awards Selection Jury, South Africa – 2003
  • Expo for Today’s Black Woman – 2000
  • Host, Source Magazine – Unsigned Hype Rap Competition – 2000, 1999
  • Co-Chair, IMPACT Retail Conference – 1997
  • Host, New year sponsored by Diegio Liquor - 2009
  • Stop the Violence Rally Father Flager-2009
  • Guest Radio Host for WVON for history of Black Music -2009
  • Guest Speaker on Jamie Fox show, Fox Hole- 2009
  • Executive Producer for artist Slique on Rosehip Records- 2009
  • Chicago Black Expo – 1997,1996
  • MTV “Rock the Vote” – 1996
  • International Association of African-American Music – 1995
  • National Black Programmer’s Coalition – 1993, 1992
    Movies /Videos/Documentaries Movies:
  • Barbershop , Barbershop 2
  • Save the Last Dance – Director’s Cut (George’s Music Room used as location)
  Videos:
  •  Baby You Are – Gerald Levert
  • Contagious – Isley Brothers
  • Friend of Mine – Kelly Price
  • Gangsta Grillz – Big Tymers
  • Getting Some – Shawnna
  • Happy People – R. Kelly
  • How Hustlas Do It – Lil KeKe
  • Just Ballin’ – Do or Die
  • Playas Only – R. Kelly
  • Shake That – Shawnna
  • So Sexy – Twista
  • Step In The Name of Love  - R. Kelly
  • Sundress – Phat Kat Playas
  • Thank You – Lil Bow Wow (George’s Music Room also used as location)
  • That’s What I’m Looking For – Da Brat
  • The People - Common
  • Through the Wire – Kanye West
  • Touchin’- David Banner
  • What Would You Do – Isley Brothers
  Documentaries:
  • Hoops TV
  • MTV Presents: “The Diary of Jay-Z”
  • Street Life
  • The Minnie Ripperton Story
  Featured Fashion Campaigns:  Print and Billboard
  • Akademics Clothing
  • FUBU