Berry English is a man at the center of a professional whirlwind, one of his own construction. The title by which he is referred, Executive Director of Content Development at Condé Nast, is elusive for those not themselves a part of the modern industry; quite simply put, Berry English has consistently proven himself to be one of the great modern-day storytellers. Regardless of the subject, this UK native fashions productions which entertain, excite, and challenge preconceptions; all while transporting audiences to a reality that he and his team have fashioned. Escapist, informative, and enchanting; Berry English has cultivated a personal style that industry leaders like Conde Nast, Vice Media, and others find irresistible. His success also allows Berry to indulge himself by working with some of the biggest names in music, an aspect which he concedes is as personally rewarding as it is professionally. In today’s world, the medium or vehicle upon which information and entertainment is delivered is secondary to the content. The public rebukes status quo for originality. Different stories about those whom we already know or stories about those who are different are the most enviable, and Berry English excels at both of these.
Among male rock musicians, it doesn’t get bigger than Lenny Kravitz. Paying homage to his influences while creating his own sound, Kravitz has amassed Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Brit Awards, and a host of others. In addition, he’s one of the most adored fashion leaders in terms of defining his own organic style. Kravitz donned Anthony Vaccarello’s latest menswear collection from Saint Laurent for the Origins series presented to GQ’s nearly six and a half million subscribers. Condé Nast asked Berry to create the first installment of an ongoing series due to his signature branded video style that would be distributed on GQ. Avoiding contrived men’s-brand tropes in favor of a more thoughtful, honest concept, Berry English is known for a lush style immersed in honest beauty. Working closely with visual artist Mark Seliger and Kravitz, Berry sculpted a video, which communicates the noted musician’s personal aura while inspiring other men to claim their own unique identity. English remarks, “The goal was always to create a video that told Kravitz’s story in a way that hadn’t been done before, to create a vehicle for him and the series that was engaging, colorful and cinematic, telling a narrative in an exciting and unique way. I feel that we did that. For film capture, we wanted the film to have energy, to feel energetic. The film, despite being captured in slow motion, feels bold, rebellious and dynamic. My favorite scene is where Kravitz refers to his grandfather being born on the island and we see him [Kravitz] dancing around the fire. I’ve watched it a hundred times and it still feels fresh.” The resulting Origins: Lenny Kravitz was nominated for a Gold Webby award. Its popularity has spawned a second installment set to begin production soon.
In its twenty-five-year existence Vice Media has established itself as one of the most adventurous digital media/broadcasting companies ever. Emmy Award-Winning productions confirm the company’s excellence. Presented on Budweiser owned and operated channels, the EMC Series was part of a multi-million-dollar partnership between AB Inbev and Vice Media with Berry English, working for Vice Media as Showrunner and Creative Director. Featuring the world’s biggest DJs like Steve Aoki, David Guetta, and others, the EMC Series became a global hit, in large part due, to Berry English’s implementation of a visually interesting, candid, and unique format with segments like “in bed with.” In Brazil, on Sony Canal TV in Mexico, or on China’s Tencent with a staggering one billion plus subscribers, audiences were captivated by the interview “refresh” Berry designed. It wasn’t devoid of obstacles as he relates, “In terms of challenges, global production was definitely one of them. Dealing with music festivals throws things at you that you couldn’t anticipate: missing talent, finding golf buggies, losing golf buggies, 24 hour edits (delivering shows overnight.) All of this meant that I continually had to think on my feet, I was constantly trying to problem solve, but I was lucky enough to have an amazing team around me that I could lean on for help.” The perfect match is when a creative like Berry English is given the opportunity to create for a vast audience. Later during his time at Vice Media, Berry English continued this association with the Bud Light Music Series. Shot at the biggest music festivals including Stage Coach, Lollapalooza, and others, featuring artists like The Roots and Snoop Dogg, this music production benefited from the same signature style Berry English has infused into all of his credits. Whether he is show-running and directing an artistic showcase of Kehlani and Zedd for Lenovo and Universal Music Group which accumulates millions of views, at a California music festival in the dessert with tens of thousands, or on a solitary tropical island shooting a modern rock legend, Berry English is influencing the way the world experiences music and the artists who create it; and no one is more excited about this fact than Berry himself.
Writer: Coleman Haan