*As a 20-year music industry veteran, Shanti Das knows firsthand how to build a successful career in the face of all kinds of circumstances.
With an industry tenure that has included executive marketing titles at LaFace, Arista, Columbia and Universal/Motown, Das has played an instrumental role in shaping some of the biggest careers in popular music.
Well-respected and widely known throughout music industry circles for her skillful and relentless ability to create new benchmarks for her artists, Shanti is a rare example of a woman who has successfully navigated the demands of a very challenging industry.
To encourage more women to follow in her path, Das recently wrote, The Hip-Hop Professional: A Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Entertainment Business,” to share the triumphs and pitfalls of her amazing journey. The Robertson Treatment recently spoke with Das to get a sneak preview.
I do a lot of mentoring to students and young professionals. Back in March 2010, I spoke on a panel at Princeton University. One of my best friends, Dr. Cherry Collier, convinced me since I was doing so many panels, that I should write a book and tell my story as a Music Executive. I started writing the night before the Princeton panel and finished the book in about two or three days.
I attribute my success in the music business as a female to my strong work ethic as a professional and to the respect I have for myself and the respect I’ve always demanded. I also attribute my success to making decisions based on the facts and not my emotions, creating strong business relationships with my clients/artists/vendors and keeping some good mentors around.
I actually talk about some of this in my book, The Hip Hop Professional. In order for women executives to compete today in the hip hop industry they need to:
* Stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the new trends (in the streets and in corporate America). The marketplace is ever-changing and you must embrace it to survive; especially with the technology changes and advancements in social networking.
* Learn to play in the boys circle and align yourself with “a few good men” who will have your back when and if things shake up.
* Keep a poker face and never let them see you sweat.
Females in hip hop can reconcile the negative imagery towards them by celebrating and supporting the positive women who are doing great things in hip hop and to pay it forward by speaking on panels, mentoring and spreading the message to young women that all they see in the videos and hear in the lyrics aren’t necessarily true. Demand your respect from the men in the game. Also, there are female empowerment organizations that you can join to network with positive women in entertainment (i.e. WEEN, NABFEME, the Diva Lounge, the BOSS Network, etc).
There are still opportunities for women in the business, even though there have been many mergers and consolidations at most of the record companies. Women can still become Entertainment Attorneys, PR Reps, Marketing Managers, Make-Up Artists, Music Publishers, Clothing Stylists and more. The important thing to realize is that the salaries aren’t as lucrative as they once were and there will be more crabs in the barrel fighting to get out and take your spot.
I have recently pressed my “reset button” and moved back home to Atlanta to start my own Music Marketing and Consulting Firm (PressReset.me). I am also going to continue to promote my book (www.thehiphopprofessional.com), speak and mentor to young professionals, focus on my non-profit (www.maywerestinpeace.org) and expand my music showcase, ATL Live on the Park.
BEST BETS – LUXURY HOTELS
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles
Still in class by itself
For generations the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel has served as a premiere destination for both in town and out of town guests seeking style, comfort and reliable service. During a recent trip to L.A., I had an opportunity to stay there and was delighted to discover that the hotel more than lived up to its reputation.
Built in 1923, the Biltmore is an imposing structure that covers nearly an entire city block in downtown Los Angeles. With an exterior design that includes impressive Spanish-Italian garnishes, the property offers equally impressive museum quality interior features. The total package delivers an astethic that’s hard to resist and has earned the property a reputation as one of the world “best” for over half a century. Well know as the backdrop of numerous TV and film productions, and for playing host to early Oscar post parties, the Biltmore offers tremendous added-value that extends beyond your typical hotel.
I found the rooms at the property to be designed with particular detail given to providing guests with amenities for an indulgent hotel experience. Featuring well-appointed standard fixtures that included a retro-styled bathroom and an exceeding comfortable bed, plus additional accouterments (an amble desk and internet access) for busy business travelers, the Biltmore delivers the ease and comfort that leisure and business travelers are looking for.
The onsite staff was very courteous and well-informed about LA hotspots, which really added to my overall experience in the city. I also enjoyed the room service menu, which offered a wide variety of dining options that aren’t normally given even at most upscale hotels. The hotel gym is populated with the latest equipment to meet guest needs and also features a competitive selection of spa services. For meetings, the hotel also offers a number of rooms available that can accommodate groups both large and small.
Despite its age, the Millennium Biltmore more than proves the old adage that things do get better with time. In this case, the Biltmore has what it takes to more than compete with its newer and sleeker, hotel neighbors that have set up shop in downtown LA. With its combination of old world refinement and new age gloss, the Biltmore is still in a class all its own. I strongly recommend. Grade: A
2010 Honda Odyssey
I am so convinced that the 2010 Honda Odyssey is a driver’s dream. That is a very busy driver who seeks to master the tricky balance of work demands and family chores with functionality and ease. Not many rides today are up to this challenge, but the 2010 Honda Odyssey rises to the occasion by offering a high degree of road performance that will guarantee driver confidence.
Wow Factor: On the surface one might not associate a minivan with the “wow factor,” but the 2010 Honda Odyssey succeeds in delivering a knockout punch simply because it’s a ride that doesn’t pretend to be anything but what it is and that’s a supremely reliable family vehicle. It deserves big wow points for that!
Ride: Loaded with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a five speed transmission that gets 17 city /25 hwy mpg, the Honda Odyssey is more than competitive for a vehicle in its class. This ride also has solid steering and better than average brake stop control.
Comfort: The 2010 Honda Odyssey scores high marks in the area of creature comforts. Beginning with its well-appointed front seats that offer present driver’s with maximum flexibility, to its ample storage space it is clear that this ride was design with road warrior parents in mind.
Spin Control: Honda has done a good job to insure that the 2010 Odyssey remains at the top of its class. From this ride’s new contemporary exterior accents, to its great family friendly interior, the Odyssey remains a solid option for drivers in need of a “can do everything ride” to get the job done.