Henry Alonzo: Music and Mentorship

by Logan Cain

The 2018 Grammy Awards marked a milestone in the career of music entrepreneur Henry Alonzo ’05. Members of his team walked the red carpet alongside Sony Music artist Alex Campos, nominee for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano). The honor represents the pinnacle of success for his industry, yet the Adarga Entertainment Group founder does not let the spotlight or the accolades diminish the struggles and the setbacks that built his character and his career.

As founding director of Azusa Pacific’s Master of Arts in Music Entrepreneurial Studies program and assistant professor in the School of Music, Alonzo draws upon his past experiences to inform his teaching and provide his students with real-world advice. “I tell them that success is the product of fearlessness in the face of failure,” he said.

Alonzo described Adarga 10 years ago as a failed startup that drained his time and money. “I asked my wife for three more years to try again,” said Alonzo. “If Adarga failed a second time, I would give up my dream of music entrepreneurship for good.”

With her blessing, and inspired by much soul-searching, Alonzo chose a fresh approach to leadership–he leaned on the talents of his staff and his colleagues to bring his dream to fruition. He recognized that his biggest mistake had been relying too heavily on himself. “The most important part of building a business is surrounding yourself with a good team,” he said. “For Adarga to succeed, I needed to let go and trust my employees and collaborators.” The results of his revelation are undeniable. Today, Adarga partners with powerful industry names like Sony Music, HarperCollins, and Integrity Music, working with three Latin Grammy-winning albums in the Christian category, six Dove Award-winning albums, and, now, a Grammy-nominated album.

Adarga spurs its artists to success by giving them both freedom and support. “We extend grace for mistakes on both sides, working together to fix them, and fostering the trust needed to help musicians succeed,” said Alonzo.

Alonzo’s testimony serves as inspiration for the music, communication, business, and marketing graduates and entertainment professionals seeking success in the music industry as independent entrepreneurs. “I tell my students that their education is not a road to success, but a foundation upon which success can be built,” said Alonzo. “I had to take risks to found Adarga, but I could always rely on the fundamental knowledge I received from my education as a commercial music major at APU to take on those entrepreneurial challenges.”

Earlier this month, Alonzo, who also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Concordia University Irvine, was named their 2018 Alumni of the Year. The award is given annually to an individual who is respected as an exceptional contributor and authority in his or her professional discipline and who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of character and leadership. Next year, he is scheduled to publish his first book, The Four Pillars of a Successful Music Career, a fitting title for an accomplished industry executive who encourages the next generation of music entrepreneurs.

Logan Cain ’18 is a senior public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. He is a biblical studies and humanities major in the Honors College.