Kristina is a young creative A&R representative and Artist Developer that has been buzzing in the Atlanta streets for some time now. She has been managing and working with a number of artists by the name of LightSkin Keisha, Landstrip Chip and Eearz.
Her career kicked off with the help of influencer, Jon. J, who was Rich Kidz’s former manager. He jumpstarted her career. When interning with Quality Control, Coach K was a major influence to get her into what she had wanted to do. We caught up with the young influencer and discussed what an A&R is looking for, what challenges she has faced, and more.
- Who were your influences and inspired you to become an A&R?
My first group inspired me in 2011 back in high school at the talent show. The group was called Rich Kidz. They were hype back then and I got in contact with their management, Jon. J., on Facebook. I was always trying to find work to do for them even though I was far away. I was promoting them by making flyers, social media and handing out hard copies at high school parties etc.
I gave it a shot by taking a step and getting into the workload with them. There was a talent show at my school, and I ended up booking them. After that, it was easy for me to put them on shows for exposure. I had curated a high school tour around the Atlanta area in where people loved the Rich Kidz back then. The managers inspired me to do management and take a part in the music business. Later the group got signed to Columbia Records. Since then I love to be in the entertainment field by pursuing the job I love to do everyday. I try to get my foot in the door and experience everything first hand by stepping out on faith and doing it. (Heavily influenced by Jon J. Rich Kidz former Management for giving me my first start, Coach K from QC, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Kei Henderson Founder of SinceThe80’s, and a lot more.)
- Tell us an experience about finding a good artist who has built their craft from the ground up?
I found CosaNostra Kidd, Skoolys younger cousin, a few years back. He had hit me up and was wanting to know my take on the song. The artist had a buzz, and I immediately had to work with him. He was the first artist I did management for. He ended up gaining a fanbase, by doing single and album release parties in the Atlanta area. He had calls from other cities from producers and executives about his talent.
He grew a fan base in the southeast region and later it spread out from Texas to New York. We had content from videos, features, photoshoots that was able to work with him “Slick”, “I’m Tellin Ya” was a hit single. His fanbase was underground but had a buzz from the streets. He had the potential and took a risk and put out a few tapes with me that all did great.
Other artist that I played a big part with during the early stages of their career through artist development recently would be Landstrip Chip who’s currently apart of the DefJam label and LightSkin Keisha who has landed a spot at Hitco.
- What is the typical day of an A&R?
As I start my day, I go into my inbox in my email for beat packs and music submissions. Social media is the real deal and many artists, themselves, and producers have sent me clicks or links of new music thru there. I am constantly looking through social media platforms for songwriters, artist and dope producers. If I like the music, I would reach out and then pair them with the producer / artist I am working with at the time. When looking at the profiles and hearing music or beats samples that I like I keep a note on them. I pitch to the labels both independent and major that I keep a close relationship with for producers, new artist and songwriters.
I also strongly encourage anyone who’s into the Artist Development stage with any artist to create a 30-day plan that keeps track of each week of what we have the artist do and be involved in as we go. Being consistent is a big part of the game when trying to get to reach the next level or their career.
- What can you say in this day and age of artist development for the hip-hop era. Do you think artists are setting a trend or being outside of the norm?
Unnormal is the new trend. I am looking for artists who can be themselves without changing the hair color, style and etc. I love the creativity and ideas of when they are being themselves. When selling yourself, you always gotta let that creativity influence with your lyrics, sound alone with the way they may dress or carry themselves.
- What are you looking for in an artist when searching for the next best talent?
Good music, consistency and longevity is what I look for in anyone I work with in this industry. Every artist I have worked with has had to build an certain relationship with me. Management should always take time to get to know the person they are doing business with or it won’t work. When they may want advice you have to get to that level with them and encourage them to keep doing their best. It depends on their personal to business side. I blemish the whole effect to get that job done by finding creativity and showing genuine love for who wants to do this music thing. Something happens then they don’t want to do it anymore. You have to really want to do what you say. We have to be a pair and work as a team.
- By being in the industry at a young age, what can you say is your most challenging core you learned from then to now?
Back then in high school and going to college, there were hard times of balancing by being intrigued with the music business by going to shows and having to miss class by being back at the dorms late that night. I was risking my time on campus to do what I love. At a young age, people would introduce influencers to me. They will introduce you to people and might not get that connect by interning with particular label. It should change by being able to stay in contact with those same connects to do another label internship in the future. When I was doing booking on the side for an artist, a few years ago a guy was asking me what my instagram name constantly while trying to handle business and having a show solidified. He wanted to know who I was while doing big bookings in his city. I wouldn’t ask for help when I was younger because I was trying to do everything on my own and build the experience along the way. Since I’m older, I now know that personal connection is important.
- What do you do as far as your career?
I am into Artist Development and A&R management. I do marketing on the side by creating a marketing/promotion plan for artist firing the release of their project. With the right budget I make sure to get the artist or producer to the next level of their career by connecting them with the right resources to expand their brand. As for the A&R side, finding new talent in artist, producers and songwriters and connecting them with each other or labels to work or build relationships. Artist MSA PG from the SW side of Atlanta, artist MacNel from Boston, Producers D.Hill, Tasha Catour, DunDeal, BeatMonster Marc, and HundredBandKilo from Yung Lan’s camp to name a few. I plan to continue to be very consistent in what I do and persistent to reach the next level of my career to become one of the greatest in this industry out of my city.