Skyyhook Details Radio Work, Interviewing Sway & Having a Limited Social Life


Would you mind sharing a brief introduction for those who are not familiar with your work?

Sure! I am an editor at AllHipHop.com and TheUrbanDaily.com as well as an on air contributor for "The World Famous Wake Up Show" with King Tech, Sway and DJ Revolution on Sirius/XM's Shade 45. And after all of that (laughter) I am the General Manager of Skyyhook Radio which is a station that caters to Independent Hip Hop and RNB artists world wide! I'm excited because we will be relaunching the site in a few weeks!

You touched on your radio work. What do you enjoy the most about working in radio?

You know, it's funny because it really depends on the day that you ask me! I love being on Skyyhook Radio because anything goes! (Laughter) I'm able to play what I want and say what I want and I work with a crew of craziness! My team is so amazingly funny that they make each show a blast to work on! Some of them are very thoughtful and their shows are quite helpful to people and I love being a part of that too. I just like the creativity and freedom of it all. And when I get tweets from the other side of the globe from people who are listening...man...that just puts everything into perspective you know? It makes the hard work so worth it.

At the same time, I am also in love with my job on The Wake Up show as well. Breaking artists on a show that has broken most of our favorites...is a thrill! I still shake my head each week in disbelief that the fellas allowed me to be a part of their show!

King Tech has been the big brother/Hip Hop Radio God Father that I never had and it's truly been a blessing learning from the masters. Those three guys are so dope...I'm just honored that they thought my ear and judgement were good enough to be a part of what they do! I've been a fan forever and to have Tech and Sway as mentors and DJ Revolution spinning the music and artists that I recommend...it's like...how do I top that? I'm not sure that I can! (Smiles)

And I'd be super remiss if I didn't touch on the feeling that I get when an unknown or relatively unknown artist gets broken on our show and they first find out that we are playing them! There's nothing quite like that feeling of getting to hear their excitement and sometimes their disbelief! (giggles) It's like you can actually hear their smiles through the phone and you know for maybe the first time they feel like all their hard work is being recognized...they are so happy and I'm happy for them. It's a win win!


Recently you had the opportunity to interview Sway and ask him questions (talk about a role reversal haha). Can you describe the feelings associated with the process?

Ummm...the feelings associated with the process? Ha terror, nervousness and excitement all rolled into one! (laughter) I was scared man I won't lie! He's the master of the interview and he's my boss! So, I knew I had to get it right! I wrote and rewrote those questions about 40 or 50 times no lie! I actually decided on those particular questions in the Sirius/XM lobby! I just wanted to allow everyone to see the personal side of Sway. He works so freaking hard and so much...yet the public never really has the chance to see that side of his personality. So, I tried to ask things that would allow him to share a more personal part of himself. But yeah I was afraid! (laughter) There were a lot of deep breaths taken before, after and during that whole interview!





You also write for numerous sites. How are you able to balance radio, article writing and having a social life?

A social life? What is this you speak of? I know nothing of this! (laughter) Getting to have my dream career comes with a price. Unfortunately for me that price would be my social life. Sad but true. When you write seven days a week few have the patience to put up with you! I can't be too far from wi-fi and little things like that slowly grate on people's nerves. But I totally get it. I signed up for this not my friends etc.

Plus, Chuck Creekmur and Jerry Barrow have to be able to trust that I'm out here representing the right way...so that alone is reason enough for me not to be falling out of shows tipsy etc. Basically, I'm the biggest square that ever lived within Hip Hop...I'm aware of it and make no apologies for it you know? People are counting on me to have my stuff together 24/7 so I'm trying to live up to that the best way I know how. But I admit it would be nice to let go once in a while too! (Smiles)

A lot of artists focus solely on blogs to build their buzz. These same artists seem to disregard the power of radio. What advice would you share with these artists?

Hmm, I guess I would say that in today's world you have to be able to have your fingers in many pies at one time just in case one thing doesn't go the way you planned there is a back up waiting to go or already in progress. Artists spend too much time focusing on just one thing and it hurts them every time. They should really develop a team that has components that are good in various areas. Diversifying your strategies of attacking both the internet as well as the radio is the smartest thing you could do as an artist.

And in the end you are only as good as your team...if your team is full of people who know less than you do about the industry...man good luck! You need professionals who know how to get you out there properly.


5 Strategies for Building & Sustaining A Twitter Chat


I have been following and participating in #blogchat for almost two years, would you mind briefing explaining the premise of #blogchat?

The idea behind #Blogchat is that once a week, bloggers can come together and talk blogging, share tips and ideas with people that love blogging as much as they do. It really helps to bounce ideas and questions off other people that are going through the same things you are, and who have the same point of view.

The thing that I love about #blogchat is the sense of community. People take time to read and respond to tweets. What made you gravitate to a Twitter Chat?

I saw that Twitter was really taking off in popularity around 2009 and the tool was a great way to facilitate real-time interactions and discussions, so it seemed like a better vehicle than another site like Facebook or Google Plus. Some other tools might be better for reviewing a chat after it's over, but I still think Twitter is the best for real-time discussions.

Blogging has evolved over the years. Bloggers are now gravitating towards adding a voice to their message as evidenced by the increase in podcasts and video blogs. Why does the written word continue to hold value?

If nothing else, blog posts are still great for reference. It's just easier to share key ideas when they are in written form, it's easier for me to share a post and point a friend toward a quote in the 3rd paragraph versus telling them to listen to a podcast, especially the point made starting at the 2 minute mark. Plus, we will always love to read good content, that's never going to change.

Do you have any predictions on the future of blogging?

I think you'll continue to see video, pictures and audio more interwoven into blog posts because it's all about using additional forms of media to make your larger point more compelling and interesting.

Would you mind sharing 5 tips for someone looking to start a Twitter Chat?

1 - Figure out what your focus is. What do you want to talk about, who are you trying to reach, and why do you want to connect with them.

2 - What's in it for the participant? You have to know what you want from the chat, but you also need to know what everyone is going to get if they participate. Here's what you get, here's what I get. Answer that and your chances of having a successful Twitter chat go up dramatically.

3 - Pick a day and time and stick with it. Think about who you want to connect with and when they will be available to join you. Now you may have to change days and times a bit at the start, but as quickly as possible you need to get the day and time set. Once people know that your chat is every Wednesday at 5pm, then they can promote it.

4 - Make sure the participants know that it is THEIR chat as well. Give them ownership, empower them to help you pick topics, let them showcase themselves, and especially go above and beyond for the people that show up every week. When people see that you are empowering them to have more of a say in the chat, that encourages them to view it as 'their' chat, and they'll go to bat for you and the chat.

5 - Think about how the chat will be moderated and how big you want it to be. With #Blogchat I purposely lean toward 101-level topics because I want to increase participation. I've learned that most people are smarter than they give themselves credit for, but in order to encourage most people to jump into a chat, the topic needs to be more 101 level so they feel more comfortable sharing their opinions.

As for moderation, most chats are set up so there's several questions posed to the group throughout the chat. I prefer to have fewer questions with #Blogchat, but you need to decide which way will work best for your chat and which way your participants want to go.


Tataee of B.U.G. Mafia Breaks Down Managing, YouTube & Success


First and foremost, would you mind introducing yourself to the masses?

My name is Vlad Irimia and I am a Romanian rapper known by the alias Tataee. I am also a songwriter, music and music videos producer, A&R, booking manager, PR, executive producer and manager for B.U.G. Mafia, the group I am part of since co-founding it in 1993. I've worked with other artists too in my 20+ years career as a producer, I also managed other artists for different periods of time, but I am mostly known for my work with B.U.G. Mafia.

B.U.G. Mafia is the most successful Romanian rap group and one of the most loved musical acts in Romania. And, if we take in consideration our numbers so far, one of the biggest rap acts in Europe.



You are the manager for one of the biggest Romanian rap collectives, B.U.G. Mafia. How difficult is it to manage an established group?

Music management is very difficult in general because that means a lot of work, but our situation and the situation in which the Romanian music industry has been in makes my job as a manager that much harder. As I said earlier, I do a lot of things for the group and sometimes the time I have is just not enough.

As a manager of a big act these days you have to maximize the multiple revenue streams, find new ones and constantly adapt your strategy based on the many changes that the online and offline mediums suffer very often. That's not easy at all if you take into consideration just the changes that one platform, YouTube, has been subjected to since its launch.

You also have to supervise the activity of your whole team and keep everyone in check, make hard choices when needed, always growing your business network. And many, many other things. Don't get me wrong, I love all my roles, I'm doing what I love and I'm my own boss, that's means a lot.

What is the biggest misconception that managers deal with?

"My manager has to do everything." Yes, a music manager has to do a lot, but that does not exclude in any way the fact that the manager has to have a team around to help in order for the manager to do a great job. The artist has to get involved in management too or at least that's how I see it. Without the constant input of the artist I think that management suffers a lot. A campaign designed by the management that is not fully understood and agreed upon by the artist will almost always be crippled from the start, for example.

It seems that YouTube is cracking down on independent artistry. Has their business practices affected your marketing campaign?

To be fair, I don't think that YouTube is cracking down on independent musicians. All this controversy that surrounds the launch of their new paid subscription service seems to be just that for now, no uploads were removed yet or at least that I know of. I've had my issues with the platform and even got pissed a few times, but, in the long run, I think that they did and do their best to improve YouTube for all parties involved, them, creators and users.

And even if some of us may have felt frustration over the way the conversation evolved at some point, a paid subscription service is a natural improvement and addition to the platform, given the fact that it's the number 1 music discovery tool on the internet. So, to finally answer the question, it hasn't changed our approach to marketing our content yet. We'll see what we're going to do if our content is removed from the site, but right now I doubt that is going to happen. I mean our channel just got verified on YouTube at the beginning of June, would be pretty strange for YouTube to delete it one or two months later.



Would you mind detailing 3 keys to B.U.G. Mafia's success?

Not at all. There are a lot of things that made our group as successful as it is today and the first one would have to be content quality. We always tried to give people quality content, music or videos and did that even if it meant spending a lot more time and money producing it than our competition. On our albums we tried to not have more than one song about one specific subject, going from very social, anti-establishment songs to party songs and that added a lot of consistency to our projects. Also, even if I produced 99% of our instrumentals, we insisted on them to be different from one another music and sound wise.

The second aspect that made us big was the mystique that always came with the B.U.G. Mafia name. We were very careful not to over-saturate with content, interviews or shows in the same city and that made our fans want even more. Almost always stayed far away from personal life related questions. The fact that we didn't rub shoulders with every other new star on every other TV show made us seem uninterested in exposure at any price and it amplified that mystique.

The third one is the fact that we also tried to remain as humble as possible towards our fans. We gave autographs to and took pictures with almost everyone who wanted it. We kept a very close and real connection with our fans, we treated them as equals and that created a very strong and large community around our music.

There are a lot of other things too, like activating in the same formula from the beginning, refusing to participate in electoral campaigns and even luck and lucky coincidences, but those first 3 are our strongest attributes.


The Evolution of Nikki Siixx and the Birth of NikkiJoMazing


Your website has totally transformed over the past few years. What makes your website more than a blog?

NikkiSiixx.com is an online source where underground artists are supported for their arts. Ranging from their music, art, talent, and creativity. We show our appreciation and critique to what we find to be great music to be shared through the hip-hop community.

We also provide artist advice articles that give them a bloggers perspective of how to properly carry themselves to promote their music, interact with female promoters, social media 101, and even how to get booked for shows. Besides showcasing tracks, projects, music videos, and visuals by these talented individuals, we also share a bond for movies, videogames, comics, and some viral gems. Also our content is always original and written by either NikkiSiixx herself or one of her writers from her staff of contributors.

Recently you started a weekly hip-hop series called NikkiJoMazing. What are you trying to accomplish with this series?

NikkiJoMazing is a group of female bloggers who consists of JojoFabs from JojosBlock.com, Kassandra & Melissa from Womazing, and myself. Every Monday we bring you an episode regarding artist we support in the hip-hop community and have a sit down interview.

We discuss previous/current/upcoming projects, collaborations, new music and music videos. We want to spread the word on good music brought to you by local artists. I also want to show that as woman we can keep our goals in order and complete numerous episodes covering artists from all over. It's pretty funny their even calling us "The View of the Underground".



Do you scout talent for the hip-hop series?

We're always looking out for upcoming artists. Currently we're showcasing artists we've worked with previously. Once we get the ones were targeting, we're going to generate more ways to interact more artists who deserve a feature on the show. By all means they can email nikkijomazing@gmail.com for inquires.



I read that you direct and edit the series. How did you get over the fear of being in front of the camera?

Yes, I do direct and edit all the episodes of NikkiJoMazing. It's a lot of work but somebody has to do it. Might as well be me, so I know it's getting done. I've always been photogenic, the camera and I have always been friends. I get more nervous when I speak in front of a live audience. In either seminars or when I'm on stage hosting a show.

You also put on showcases in Miami. What are some of performance based pet peeves that you encounter?

Oh man, this just pinches a nerve! I can say the worse habits from performers is when they're late, or when they have some sense of entitlement when they're not running the show, and lack of respect for time. Which can really hurt the show and possibly can lose your spot and any future opportunities with the promoter, who runs the show.


Play On Words Talk About Leather CD Jackets for "Suns Of God"


For those that are not familiar with your work, how did Play On Words become a group?

It was really just law of attraction, everything has been organic since we met. In high school we were two individual artists but through features, we built up chemistry and really started pursuing the sound you hearing now.

What was the inspiration behind "Icons"?

The track (ICONS) made us think about our day-to-day lives and everything we’re working towards. Even the instrumentation of the beat felt iconic, and it painted a perfect backdrop for what’s to come, which we wanted to foreshadow through our lyrics.



Early this year you guys dropped Suns of God. What inspired this release?

Innovation and individuality were the intent for the Leather CD Jackets. The music was the inspiration. In collaboration with Lvxwa, we created a timeless avant-garde accessory to match the lasting impression of the music.



One thing that stood out to me was the unique packaging of Suns of God. We live in a digital age yet Play on Words decided to defy the odds and present music in a leather cd jacket. Would you mind sharing the mindset behind this innovative packaging move?

The Leather CD Jackets were a seamless illustration of the music. Honestly, the designing of the case and production of the music was brought together through a unique creating session between the artists and designer. It’s amazing what a group of high-minds can achieve in the right environment.


What is on the horizon for Play on Words for the rest of 2014?

The rest of 2014 is all about growth. Traveling is definitely a top priority in expanding our audience, as well as building a strong foundation for Las Vegas hip-hop. All while we continue to give people nothing less than useful music.


The Truth About Music PR by Quin Marshall


You have a booming fashion website that is niche centered. When did you decide to start handling PR for musicians?

Why thank you! Ok, bear with me. I don’t meant to be long winded but I believe in being clear and concise. If someone can learn something valuable from this interview then I've done my job!

So, I’ve worked for huge corporations for over 10yrs before I started my PR firm tracycainmedia.com and my fashion website, allthingsfabandfly.com. I left corporate in 2010 after working for Monster.com for 5yrs as a successful marketing and public relations executive. At the turn of the year in 2010, I decided I wanted to be more fulfilled and make a difference in lives. So I went on a limb and decided to start my business and help people directly and be rewarded by the outcome of the feeling of helping an individual get from point A to point B.

There are so many entrepreneurs that could be super successful with the right person backing their project. The fashion website actually came after the start of my company, TracyCain Media Group. My fashion website came second, solely as a hobby. I created Things Fab and Fly, in 2011 to, once again, help people. The goal was to develop a platform for emerging brands to showcase their fab and fly brand to a niche audience that wouldn’t necessarily have seen their product otherwise. I didn’t realize my hobby would turn into a success! The great thing about it is, it allows me to have an additional platform for my PR clients.

A lot of artists are confused in regards to promotion. The concept of making music is easy yet the process of promoting it is difficult. How are you able to balance their needs with the harsh realities of promotion?

You know what? Good promotion and a good product go hand in hand. This is a harsh industry. Many artists confuse the duties of a manager and a PR rep. First, the artist needs to understand your job duties and description of your profession. Your publicist is there to promote, persuade and keep your music or brand relevant. I love to see an artist with drive, patience, talent, determination and thick skin. The artists job is to create a great product for the listeners. My job is to promote and publicize it. This is a true partnership. A marriage of two crafts.

The artist had to trust that I have their best interest at hand and I have to trust the artist will follow my lead. The harsh reality is, there are thousands of people out there doing the exact same thing that you are. Therefore, you have to stand out and be different. Think about what makes you different from the other millions of artists doing the same thing? It’s so important to provide the media with something interesting and innovative to share with their audience.

A lot of artists expect coverage right from the start due to a sense of entitlement. How do you deal with entitled clientele?

OMG! This is such a great question! Even though I have run across that only a few times personally, I have received tons of inquiries in which I had to turn down because of that unrealistic expectation. I lay everything out from the beginning. I want my client to succeed. Their success is my success. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees to this. A good publicist will explain that from the gate.

Some artists feel like just because their friends said their music was great means that the whole world will thinks so as well. Not true. Everyone should come into this game humbled. Understanding the fact that, for some artists, it takes years to break thru. I don’t deal well with the sense of entitlement. Because to do this effectively, you must have patience and have a realistic expectation. It takes time to beat down some of these doors, and when you do, who’s to say that media outlet will even feel your product? But a good publicist will keep trying until someone says “Yes”

I offer 90 day trial contracts so that my client and I can get a feel for one another and see if this will be a good fit. I’ve only had one client that was so extremely impatient that we couldn’t further the contractual commitment. He felt his product should have been in the media after 6 weeks. Which is a very unrealistic expectation to have. Does it happen sometimes, absolutely. But not to be expected. You have to invest in your future and look at this as a business plan.

How important is relationship building and maintenance in the PR world?

Relationship building is super important. Having a good relationship with a media outlet means getting your request to have your clients music listened to before the other 75 submissions for that day. Now, the kicker is, the owner of the media outlet still has to like what you are presenting. So, that’s why it’s so important to have a plan in place. Your image, your product and your goals. That media outlet may not be a huge fan of your music, but may love your image! That could be your in. How many artists out there have very mediocre music but a fly image? MOST of them. And on the flip side, there are some phenomenally talented artists that didn’t have good promotion.

Would you mind sharing some common PR myths?

Sure!

Myth #1 - Now that I’ve hired a publicist to represent my brand/music, I am going to be a celebrity. FALSE
Myth #2 - A publicist should do the same thing as a manager. FALSE
Myth #3 - My publicist has a relationship with media outlets so I am guaranteed to get a publication. FALSE.

If you would like me to expound on those myths or anything else, tweet me! @MsQuinMarshall.


5 Artistic Personalities That Can Curse a Collaboration


Collaboration is an awesome tool when executed effectively. The benefits to the parties involved can make a huge impact on their individual careers but occasionally, they can go wrong. Sometimes things just happen that can throw off planning, other times people just happen.

When “people” happen, it is not due to anomalies but rather reoccurring habitual actions that lead to expectations not being met. Some of these characteristics can leave a bad taste in the mouths of collaborating artists, producers and promoters, potentially causing social backlash.

If you recognize these traits in anyone you have worked with, are working with or desire to work with you can make adjustments accordingly to spare yourself some headache. If you recognize any of these traits in yourself, reflect on it and take the opportunity to become a person people love to collaborate with.

1) The Unintentional Absentee
It seems as if this person has an excuse for everything and nothing is ever their fault. Somehow circumstances always tend to get in the way of their good intentions and the only thing you can count on them for is their inconsistency, be it accidental or willingly. They haven’t written their verse yet because they worked 33 hours a day for 9 days at their job last week. They missed the studio session because they had to take their aging grandmother to the casino for her birthday and they were the only one that could do it. They haven’t come up with their portion of the money yet because they gave their check to a lady in need in the grocery store parking lot. They missed sound check because the cable guy didn’t show up when he said he would, etc.
 No matter how legit or far fetched the excuse is, the fact is the job didn’t get done. Curve-balls do get thrown in life, that’s undeniable, but reliability is important if you wish for your business relationships to flourish.

Know This Artist? Cover yourself with conversations and contracts or simply work around them.

Are You This Artist? Evaluate what’s happening. Is there a reason why everything else takes precedence over the task at hand? Bad timing? Fear or anxiety? Is your heart really in it? Reflect on it and be upfront about it when you are discussing collaborations.

2) The Self Admirer
This person is rarely on time for anything and when they do come through, they act as if you should be honored they chose to do what they said they would do. Though this person is extremely talented, often it feels like the headache included doesn’t make the end result worth it. People may deal with this temporarily, but patience is likely to wear thin, negatively impacting career longevity.

Know This Artist? Decide exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve. In the long run, you may be better off working with someone who understands the value of what you’re trying to do as opposed to someone who is only concerned about their personal agenda. If you feel you must work with this person, cover yourself with conversations and contracts to be sure you can keep things moving.

Are You This Artist? Know your worth, but remember your humble beginnings. Be sure to remain professional so that you don't alienate the people who can help you maintain the level of success that you presently have or desire to achieve.

3) The Perpetual Procrastinator
This person acts as if everything is a big surprise. As if you hadn’t asked them to be ready months or weeks prior. They didn’t write or practice before the studio session. They didn’t bring their CD or flash drive to the show, wasting precious time and/or money.

Know This Artist? Check with them ahead of time to see how they’re coming along. Arrange a meeting and/or rehearsal to check their progress at which time you can also collect any CDs or flash drives you may need from them.

Are You This Artist? Do everything you can to stop. Procrastination is a real issue for many people, but if you wish to continue to be contacted for opportunities, you must put forth your best effort. Be mindful that bad experiences travel rapidly, so if you have unsatisfied clients your reputation could be quickly damaged. Give attention to detail to everything you’ve been asked to do as if your career depends on it because in reality, it does.

4) The Project Snatcher
Even though It is not their project or show, this person knows exactly how everything should go down. While input can be helpful, this person takes it upon themselves to insert their views into every aspect of the collaboration whether it fits the originator’s artistic vision or not.

Know This Artist? Be upfront that you do not wish to stray from your original plan. You know exactly how you want things to go and although you appreciate their experience, they can just come along for the ride, focus on their art and not worry themselves with planning.

Are You This Artist? Understand that the person you are working with has a specific goal. This is something they have dedicated time to and have asked you to be a part of, not plan. If you have suggestions, ask if you may offer them. They may be receptive to listen, or they may wish to stick with the original plan...it’s their choice.

5) The Dream Dealer
This person has tons of brilliant ideas that never seem to come to fruition. They know all the right things to say to get you high on the possibility of what may be before they fade away into one of the aforementioned personalities or simply off the map.

Know This Artist? Talk is not cheap when you start putting money behind someone’s ideas and they’re not serious about making it happen.  Cover yourself with a contract before you move into anything serious with this person so that you’re not left trying to pick up the pieces alone.

Are You This Artist? Be open and upfront. Let the person know if you’ve got a lot going on and you’re just throwing ideas out. There’s no benefit to you to get someone’s hopes up to let them down. Perhaps work out a deal for them to collaborate with someone who can help carry out your ideas and just get a percentage of the action.

Whether you’re working with any of these personalities or happen to be one of them, honest communication from start to finish will make it a much more pleasant experience for all parties involved. Are there any personalities you’ve come across that have caused challenges in the collaboration process?



Image Retrieved from Alley Watch

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