There are a lot of dope creatives coming out of the Atlanta area and one that I would like for you to get familiar with is Shanika a very immense individual who has a lot to offer, not to mention she’s the creator of Broke2Dope a blog that allows you to familiarize yourself with uprising talent. While Shanika offers a lot within the industry, I got to ask her a couple questions to help put some of you on game about time management, EPKs/Press Releases, the Atlanta music scene, and what she looks for when looking for artists.
Read our Q&A down below because she’s dropping some #FreeGame:
What’s one thing you see a lot of upcoming artists struggling with?
I think artists struggle with a sense of entitlement. They feel they should be bigger than what they are. I understand, nowadays, a lot of talent gets overlooked, but instead of saying people are “sleep”, artists should focus on perfecting their craft, building a fan base, and making great music. Once they shift that focus and make music that they are proud of, the acknowledgement will come.
How would you describe the Atlanta music scene considering you’re actually from here?
I’m actually from Northeast Georgia, but have been influenced by the Atlanta sound for years. What’s interesting about the scene is all the many subcultures here. It’s not just trap music. You have artists who focus on conscious rap, you have the spoken word, the alternative hip-hop, and it’s all represented here. That’s what I love about Atlanta.
I see you’re very involved in a lot of things, is time management important to you?
Time management is very important. I can’t lie and say that I’ve mastered this, but I try to prioritize. I’m good with to-do lists and multitasking. I’m always checking my email and looking for ways to be more efficient. I consider it a good day when I work a little bit on everything. My main thing is being realistic with my clients and keeping a line of communication open if there are any delays. It’s also important to give yourself time to relax and do nothing and not feel guilty about it.
What do you look for in an artists?
I look of their artwork, the mixing quality of their music, and the quality of their online presence. Nothing wrong with DIY, I’m an advocate for it, but you have to make sure you’re producing quality work worth sharing. It’s a turn off to get a submission and the artwork is done poorly or it sounds like it was recorded in the living room.
How important are EPKs, and Press Releases?
If you’re an artist who takes their career seriously, EPKs and press releases are very important. They show a sense of professionalism and really help an artist to stand out. I’ve been told that the press kits I’ve done have been used in label meetings, so as you develop in your career, these publications and corporations start to require them. Think of an EPK as a resume or one-stop shop of all things that is YOU as a musician so its the perfect place to gas yourself. A press release, however, is a write up on latest records or even announcements. I recommend sending both to media outlets, labels, or booking contacts. Festivals such as A3C, SXSW, and Bonnaroo also require an EPK when submitting to perform.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing, I would change the idea of having to separate female artists. When it’s positive, I love it. It’s something special about being a woman in a male-dominated industry, but when it’s a way to say “Oh, she’s pretty good to be a female”, I don’t like that. I’ve seen plenty of women rap, produce, and engineer better than their male counterparts so I’d love it if the conversation could include women more in general.
How and why did you start Broke2Dope? I really consider it an OG blog.
Thanks! I began blogging in college in 2012 as a way to focus my energy at the time. At first, I was offering college students advice on money management and pretty soon artists were sending me their music to check out. To be honest, I wanted to talk about upcycling clothing because thrifting was a big hobby of mine (that’s where the name “broke to dope” came from), but figured, why not change the whole direction of the blog to music? That would be more fun. I started asking for music submissions, interviewing artists, and hitting up events around the city. Specifically, I would reach out to popular managers and curators to keep me in the loop and the rest is kind of history.
What’s some advice you would give to upcoming artists hoping to make it big?
The best advice I can give independent artists is to build a solid team. It’s possible to do it all yourself, but it’s better when you as the artist can focus on making music and leave the dirty work to those who don’t mind being behind the scenes. You need people to tell you when your music is trash or to push you to go a little bit harder. Having a trusted team where everyone knows their position will really put you ahead of the game.
This is literally free game, I hope you guys soaked some of it in. Be sure to follow Shanika on twitter and Instagram @carpenika.