Jay-Z and business partner Steve Stoute were spotted smoking cigars in New Orleans, LA.  Speaking of Jay-Z you can vote for him beginning today and continuing through Friday, Feb. 8, fans can vote for their favorite version on the SportsNation section of ESPN.com. The winning version will be featured on ESPN’s telecast of the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, Feb. 15.

Front Row caught up with ESPN music director Kevin Wilson to learn a little more about the contest.

How did you select the artists?
Basically, we decided the types of genres that we wanted to feature and then we just started identifying artists that fit into those genres. We came up with a list of really talented, unique artists and started to make our requests.

Why is it important to bring fans into the creative process?
I think it’s just another level of giving fans more information. When I watch television and movies, I’m really inquisitive about what kind of music is used and how it came about. At ESPN, we get a lot of emails asking about the music on the shows, too. I think the more information we can share, the better it is for fans.

Why is music such an important part of production?
At ESPN, music is a key, integral part of our storytelling and the branding of our shows. Theme music serves one purpose and commercial music serves another purpose; but all of our shows feel pretty strongly about its importance.

What do you hope fans take from this experience?
I hope they enjoy what they listen to and appreciate being exposed to new artists. I hope they choose to learn more about the artists we selected because all of them are fantastic.


(Credit: Aik Arshamian/INFphoto.com)