The Hip-Hop Professional Talks About Making It In The Record Biz
By Jada F. Smith
Music industry alum, entrepreneur, philanthropist and now author – Shanti “Shoestring” Das has experienced a rich career in the music industry. The former executive at LaFace Records began prepping for her career in the music industry as a college student, and upon graduation went from listening to her favorite artists to touring with them. She’s had a hand in developing the careers of music icons, including Outkast, Toni Braxton, TLC and Prince, eventually becoming the Executive Vice President at Universal Motown. The First Lady of the board room has penned an advice book, “The Hip-Hop Professional,” to help aspiring music execs get to the top. TAP caught up with Ms. Das to talk about her career, her lessons and her future.
TAP: What kind of information or advice do you give readers in this book?
Shanti Das: It’s a book meant to inspire women that are trying to get in the business or are already in the business. I give them tips and advice on networking, time management, as well as tips on being professional in the workplace and not giving up on your dream.
TAP: You say that readers will discover secrets to success in the hip hop industry. Secrets of what nature?
SD: Secrets based on my own experience and having insider knowledge that gives readers things to learn from someone who’s been in the business twenty years. Also, readers will gain tips on how to work a room, dress for success, what to do and not to do as a lady in a male-dominated business, as well as why you shouldn’t take no for an answer.
TAP: What kinds of mistakes are made often by newcomers to the industry?
SD: The biggest mistake is once they get a foot in the door and land the position, they act like the artist. All they want to do is hang out and not work. They get caught up in the hype and not work.
TAP: What kinds of obstacles are unique to women when it comes to breaking into the industry?
SD: Often times it’s a big difference in the money being made. For example, men will hire their friends or their “boys” and they have the opportunity to make more money by being “hooked up” on independent projects or their salary in general. When you are the new female on the scene, you’re going to get advances from men already in the business. You have to shake them off and work twice as hard for those same projects in order to prove yourself and make them understand you are there to get a job done.