Hip Hop News
HHV Exclusive: Shawn Holiday talks real life of a record executive, new position at Columbia Records, and more
Music and entertainment have to be the most-attractive business there is. People look at what they see on TV and the internet and they think they can just jump in and do the same thing. But, for every person who is trying to make the right moves, there are people like Shawn Holiday who made them and can give advice.
A few weeks ago, Shawn Holiday joined Columbia Records in a high-ranking position that will have him working directly with T.I., overseeing his project. Before this, Shawn Holiday held a longtime position with Interscope Records. With a long history in the game, Shawn Holiday is a great asset for any company.
Earlier this week, Shawn Holiday took a little time out to talk to Hip Hop Vibe. He spoke about how he started in the game, working for Diddy and then how he ended up being his A&R when Bad Boy Records joined Interscope Records. Shawn Holiday also spoke on the realities of his job and being with Columbia Records.
Read the entire interview below:
Growing up as a fan of music, when did you feel it would be the perfect fit for you to do professionally? I didn’t realize I would be in the music industry like that until after college. I went to school for computers and I worked at IBM, but that wasn’t where my heart was at. But, to answer the question, I will say after college.
Your new position at Columbia Records has you working with some of the biggest artists in the game, have you ever found it difficult to work with people you are a fan of? Being honest with you, my first job was with Puff doing street team work. Then, I signed him over at Interscope and became his A&R, so that was a little different for me.
The “bling” era of hip hop in the early 2000s has anybody believing they can be a record executive, but what is the reality of someone of your stature working in this business? People really think it’s what it looks like on TV, but a lot of hard work and dedication that comes with this. You are dealing with new artists, older artists, lawyers, managers, and companies, day in and day out, so it takes a lot of work.
When you first broke into the industry, who were some of the artists you worked with? Oh man. Mase and them were some of the first ones, I met them in the studio. But, I didn’t really consider myself in the business, so I don’t know if that should count.
So many critics of the music industry have called this era in hip hop a new golden era, what do you think about this? I don’t know if I would say that, it’s a new era and the internet plays a major part now. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is here now and they didn’t have that back then, so I don’t know if I would call that “golden.”
How important do you think it is to make a major mark on a company where you are the “new kid” at? It’s very important. This is how you set the tone when you’re the new kid on the block at any company. How you start is how you end and these companies, so it’s important to come in and make a statement. Working for a record label is serious business, so you have to come correct.
Can you give us a rundown of what the typical day is like for you? There is no rundown, I just go into the whirlwind because you’re thrown into something different each day. It can be label politics one day and then working on creative projects the next. I just go in ready for the challenge.
Let’s say you’re interested in signing an artist, what type of process do you go through before making that deal? It depends on the artist, but it all comes down to if they have a good buzz and how they are moving. I definitely want to make sure the artist can perform well and if they can sell. It’s important to watch them perform and then be able to answer “yes” to the question “would I want to pay to see them perform.” If not, usually I’m not interested.
In an industry where things can get very superficial, what keeps you grounded? I never let the industry change me. I am myself and that will never change. Don’t let people giving you attention change the way you act, that could lead to everything being over with.
How can we all connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Twitter and Instagram is @ShawnHoliday. Facebook is Shawn Tubby Holiday.