| July 17, 2014 | People
As his record label, Epic Records, enjoys the success of his latest album release, music mogul L.A. Reid and his wife, Erica, retreat to their Sagaponack home for some tranquillity. Here, they talk with Today show host Matt Lauer about balancing work with health and wellness, and the importance of family.
ON L.A.: Banker shirt, Shipley & Halmos ($195). Tenet, 91 Main St., Southampton, 377-3981. Steadman jeans, Burberry ($225). Americana Manhasset, 1986 Northern Blvd., 516-365-2050. Ivory tassel shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo ($540). Americana Manhasset, SEE ABOVE, 516-365-9765. ON ERICA: Silk mixed print top ($1,445) and blue floral skirt ($2,230), Etro. Americana Manhasset, SEE ABOVE, 516-365-0101. 18k white-gold Fleurette diamond earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels ($26,700). Americana Manhasset, SEE ABOVE, 516-627-4947. Sandals, Erica’s own
Epic Records chairman and CEO, L.A. Reid, recently scored big with Xscape, a posthumous Michael Jackson album comprising eight previously unreleased songs from the King of Pop. Its lead single, “Love Never Felt So Good” featuring Justin Timberlake, has topped charts throughout the world—and it is Michael Jackson’s first Top 10 hit in the US since 2001.
The success of such a massive undertaking is exhilarating for L.A., who is now spending the summer season at his house in Sagaponack with his family. He and his wife, Erica, cherish their time here (“It’s a quick and easy paradise just a two-hour drive from Manhattan,” Erica says), as it gives them time to reconnect with each other and their two children, Arianna, 13, and Addison, 11. For the Reids, family bonds and thoughtful parenting are essential. Erica wrote about her full-time dedication to her kids in her 2012 book The Thriving Child and credits the lifestyle in the Hamptons for helping to achieve a positive environment for her kids.
Today show host Matt Lauer, a close friend of the Reids, spoke with the couple to find out more about how they balance a demanding schedule with the necessities of good, old-fashioned family time.
Matt Lauer: L.A., let’s talk about Xscape and how that album came to be. What was the idea behind it?
L.A. Reid: It was my being at Epic Records and trying to find something magnificent to work on. Epic is a label we literally started almost from scratch, so we were trying to find something big. I spoke to John Branca, who runs the Michael Jackson estate, and asked him to let me into the archives to see what we could find. We found about 20 songs and picked 10 of them to work on, and it’s worked out really well. Then I brought in Justin Timberlake to feature on the first single, “Love Never Felt So Good.” Justin was my ambassador, which has led to worldwide sales of more than 2.5 million copies.
ON L.A.: Steadman jeans, Burberry ($225). Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-365-2050. Ivory tassel shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo ($540). Americana Manhasset, see above, 516-365-9765. Shirt and sunglasses, L.A.’s own. On Erica: Blue high-neck top ($745) and inlaid leather skirt ($8,375), Tod’s. 650 Madison Ave., NYC, 212-644-5945. Sandal with gold piping, Casadei ($890). Diamond studs and bracelet, Erica’s own
ML: Were you surprised by what was in that archive or were you expecting a gold mine?
LAR: I didn’t really know what to expect—I went into it open-minded. But I was surprised by how much was there because I knew Michael, and he didn’t record a lot of music that he didn’t release. Some artists record endlessly; Michael recorded purposefully to release music, so I was surprised to find as much. And recently I found more, like some Michael Jackson-Queen music that’s pretty unbelievable.
ML: Erica, are you the type who likes it if L.A. brings some of his work home? Does he bring a CD home and say, “You gotta hear this?”
Erica Reid: I get to hear it first. I love to listen to what he is working on and be a part of it that way. It’s fascinating and, more than anything, it’s fun. It’s great music for the home.
ML: L.A., I’ve watched some of these meetings where guys like you get around the table and play music and everybody decides if there is the potential for a hit. Does Erica have the “hit ear”?
LAR: No, but she has a good “hit eye.” When I was going through cover comps for Xscape, I would bring the artwork home. I had no idea the one that ended up being the cover was as good as it was, but when I showed it to Erica, she said, “This is the one!”—and it ended up being the one. So she actually did participate in arguably the most important part of the project because it was the visual that got everyone’s attention. She was very helpful.
ML: “Love Never Felt So Good” is a hit around the world. Could it have been a hit before, years ago?
LAR: Oh yes, it would have been a much bigger hit. I don’t know that it would have measured up to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, but it was an outtake from Off The Wall so it could well have worked on that album.
ML: What is the follow-up single?
LAR: A song called “A Place With No Name” that was originally recorded by the group America and that Michael redid. We’re hoping to release it on August 11.
On L.A.: Shirt, John Varvatos ($298). 54 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, 324-4440. Pants and sunglasses, L.A.’s own. On Erica: Keyhole-front dress, Tamara Mellon ($1,150). Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave., NYC, 212-753-4000. 18k yellow-gold Vintage Alhambra earrings ($4,850) and 18k yellow-gold Jackie-O cuff bracelet ($38,000), Van Cleef & Arpels. Americana Manhasset, 2060 Northern Blvd., 516-627-4947. Sandals, Alexandre Birman ($595). Intermix, 87 Main St., East Hampton, 907-8025.
ML: Let’s cross over from work to life. Erica, what does the Hamptons do for you?
ER: The Hamptons is what St-Tropez is to France. Here, we receive no mail, no deliveries, therefore it’s a great break from the day-to-day life in the city. As a mother, I am constantly going, and I get no break because I’m on duty 24/7. Coming to the Hamptons allows me to exhale. It’s family time, honestly. We have a little bit of socialization but that’s not the main focus of it. It’s the one place that connects my family and me without distractions, and we can also connect with our friends in a more intimate and comfortable way.
LAR: The Hamptons is a place of tranquillity and natural beauty. I love the ocean, the beauty, the beaches. I look forward to those three to four months during the summer when we can come out every weekend.
ML: You have been covered as a celebrity couple for some time and people might assume that if you throw a party at your house, it will be littered with A-listers. Is that your crowd?
LAR: That comes and goes. There are times when we entertain and it’s purely family and close friends. Sometimes those friends happen to be celebrities and recording artists, or wonderful people like you and your wife, Annette [Roque]. But for the most part, entertainment is a fact of life for us. We don’t give a party with the idea of having a house full of celebrities and famous people; we give a party with the idea of having a great time, and it doesn’t matter one way or the other.
Power couple L.A. and Erica Reid take time to relax and live a healthful lifestyle with their kids in the Hamptons. ON L.A.: Oxford shirt, Sandro ($250). 415 Bleecker St., NYC, 646-438-9335. White Steadman jeans, Burberry ($225). Americana Manhasset, 1986 Northern Blvd., 516-365-2050. Ivory tassel shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo ($540). Americana Manhasset, SEE ABOVE, 516-365-9765. ON ERICA: Red floral deep-V dress, Etro ($2,705). Americana Manhasset, SEE ABOVE, 516-365-0101. Diamond studs, ring, and pumps, Erica’s own
ML: Because you want to disconnect so much when you are out here, how do you feel as parents—and as people—about social media?
ER: It’s challenging. You have to babysit your children in a totally different way. I trust my children, but we have to monitor them. It’s like watching certain ratings on movies and television shows to see what’s appropriate or not appropriate. Addison is 11, and this kid has outsmarted me so many times about opening Instagram accounts, and I’ve had to shut each one down because he is too young and not emotionally capable of understanding what it really means. My daughter, Arianna, is older and more mature. She gets it, and I don’t have to stay concerned with her. It’s important to educate them and let them know that not only what you put out there is always out there, but that you are setting an example for yourself. Once you press “send,” there is no rewind button.
LAR: I can shut down much better here, but social media is a fact of life, and it is a little addicting. I do find myself looking at Twitter; I don’t tweet a lot, but I look at it to see what’s going on. It’s a way of being connected culturally. What I continue to ask myself is how much of social media is indicative of the times we live in and how much of it is actually harmful. I don’t know the answer.
ML: What about the kids, Erica? Do you see a difference in them when they are at the house on the weekend versus in New York?
ER: The children love to be here. It is an extension of their life and it’s great to bring it out here and let them flourish in a way they aren’t able to in the city. They can get on their bikes and ride to the beach or to the corner store. They just have more of a sense of freedom, and with nature being around them, it’s more calming. It has a great effect on their spirits.
LAR: Also, Erica is so health-conscious and we’re all about good, clean living. Out here, with the availability of organic foods, she keeps us all healthy. We call this “Camp Erica.”
ER: I love getting the seasonal fresh, local foods here. I want my children to thrive in today’s world, especially with the challenges kids face today. One way I contribute to them doing so is by making them good foods so they can flourish. In the city, the challenge is that my kids are at the age when they can pick up the phone and use their allowance to order delivery. Here, there is no such thing. For instance, right now I’m making homemade granola, so that’s their breakfast, and they can have it outside in nature with this scenery. It all creates such a magical feeling.
ML: Do you have a place you like to go that is away from the scene, where you feel like a local?
LAR: I feel like a local when I’m at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton.
ER: It’s the movie theater in East Hampton for me. It’s a neighborhood spot and the only thing that’s open past 6 or 7 pm without going to someone’s invite.
ML: You are both very busy with work and travel. How do you reconnect after those stressful periods?
LAR: It’s something that requires work when you are busy, particularly when you love what you do—and I am fortunate enough to really love what I do. On the weekends we pretty much shut down from work, and it’s been that way for the majority of my career. The weekends are dedicated to my wife and children.
Photography by Melanie Acevedo
Styling by Faye Power (for Erica) Styling by Kierra B. (for L.A.)
Hair by Richard Keogh/Cloutier Remix using Living Proof Makeup by Ricky Wilson for Dior Beauty
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