In an ever-changing market of music consumers, knowing how and when to record music and release it in a way that will make people care is one of the greatest challenges hip hop artists face. Having the financial resources to create amazing tracks and a smart release plan is a whole other ball game. In the next session in our Decipher: Hip Hop Professional Development Workshops | Release and Revenue Strategies on May 30, we'll look at how hip hop artists, managers, and labels are financing their projects while being strategic with that investment; from building a fan-base that supports artists at the early stages to the big release. Industry pros David "Click" Cox of CLK Creative Works, Krafty Entertainment's Kyle Kraft, DJ MelBoogie, and 902 HipHop's Melissa MacMaster can offer guidance on how emerging artists can access grants and sponsorships, build revenue streams to fund the album, and create successful marketing campaigns to keep fans engaged and reach new listeners.
David “Click” Cox started his career as a member of the MMVA-winning and JUNO-nominated group, The Maximum Definitive, and created reputation for his promotional and marketing efforts working closely with concert promotions company REMG. Soon after, he started his career working with BMG Music Canada and then worked at Universal Music Canada as A&R. During his time with Universal, David founded the Stylus Awards to celebrate the Canadian urban music talents and recognition of DJs. After 8 years with Universal, he created his own entertainment company, CLK Creative Works. Today, CLK is responsible for managing an eclectic roster of highly skilled and experienced artists including SATE, King Reign, DJ Agile, Raz Fresco and NojokeJigsaw. Along with management, David teaches music business at Metalworks and The Remix Project.
Kyle Kraft is the founder of artist career business development company Krafty Entertainment, and a founding partner of music publishing company Battle Axe Music. Prior to diversifying into the whole music business in 2006 he spent over half a decade in the record business as the general manager of independent label Battle Axe Records, overseeing the worldwide marketing of nearly a hundred records - including certified platinum and gold albums. He also spent five years producing hundreds of concerts and club nights, has been involved in the booking and promotion of over 2,000 more concerts on behalf of artists, and has hands-on experience in projects for which he’s aided in securing over $4,000,000 in grants and hundreds of thousands more via crowdfunding. Kyle currently focuses primarily on guiding the business development of artists’ careers, and also contributes his expertise to multiple initiatives supporting artists and the musical community.
Hailing from Toronto, DJ MelBoogie is one of the country’s best-known female DJs. For 25 years, her roots have been deeply embedded in radio, both as a host, and mixshow DJ. She has also hosted several events in the GTA community, including Canadian Music Week, North By North East Indie Showcase, and has been a speaker/panelist at a variety of music industry conferences. Mel has also made several television appearances, including CBC Television, CP24, Much Music, New Music, MTV Canada, Toronto Life, and more. Mel has DJed for and/or opened for some of the most respected performers in the world of entertainment, including Kevin Hart, Major Lazer, Lauryn Hill, Busta Rhymes, and more, and has DJed at special events for many prominent companies and brands. MelBoogie has been the resident DJ for Honey Jam, since it launched in 1995, and is Canada’s first female CORE DJ. In 2008, Mel won the Stylus Female DJ of the Year Award, naming her the top female DJ in Canada, and was the only DJ selected to participate in Luminato’s Mille Femmes Exhibit, dedicated to Toronto’s most inspiring women in the creative arts, presented by L’Oreal. In 2011, she was the only female DJ nominated in three categories, and took home two awards: one for Underground DJ of the Year, and the other for College Radio Show of the Year.
902 HipHop's founder, Melissa MacMaster, has gained valuable business management experience from her previous roles working in Atlantic, Canada's entrepreneurial eco-system, and start-up community for over seven years as a business development officer and cofounding the Global Youth Innovation Network in Benin, West Africa. Transferring her high caliber skill set to the music industry and successfully launching 902Hiphop an artist management and music licensing and sync company. 902HipHop's expertise has created incredible talent and has solidified Halifax as a major player in the Canadian hip hop music industry.
Get to know them better with our little Q+A...
Q: If you could be any movie or TV character, who would you be?
Click: I would be myself on Survivor
Kyle: Ferris Bueller
MelBoogie: Probably Shuri from Black Panther - she's a genius and has dope kicks. On the other hand, reality TV is one of my guilty pleasures. I can feel brain cells dying as I dive into binge watching Love and Hip Hop but I love it because they're all so messy but their clothes are always on point. I'd love to wake up every morning with my lashes and make up done to perfection. But in real life, at least one lash would end up on my forehead, and my make up would be smeared across my pillow... guess I'll just stay in my lane....
Melissa: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in your home city and the best thing to order there?
Click: Beachhill BBQ – Brisket and Ribs
Kyle: Gusto di Quattro in North Vancouver, the Spaghetti Quattro. Classic family recipe.
MelBoogie: La Sani Grill in Scarborough - the butter chicken is the bomb! It's a good representation of the greatness of Scarborough - which is home to folks from West and East Indian/South Asian, Asian, European and South American backgrounds. In addition to the Butter Chicken, they offer an array of Chinese Food, wings, and a butter chicken poutine - that's pretty Canadian!
Melissa: The Wheel and PIZZA (with only tomato, pineapple and extra sauce)
Q: Who/what are your three go-to artists or records right now?
Click: Sorry can’t give you three songs, but here is seven songs I’m digging: Tory Lanez – "BID", Buddy – "Trouble on Central", NojokeJigsaw – "Stressed Out", Sean Leon – "90bpm", Raz Fresco – "Numb", Anders – "I Don’t Want Your Love", Amber Mark – "Love Me Right"
Kyle: Kendrick, Jidenna, Merkules
MelBoogie: J. Cole - KOD, The Sorority - Pledge, Any soca mixes from 2015 onward
Melissa: SZA - Ctrl, The Sorority - The Pledge, Cardi B - Invasion of Privacy
Q: When you were six, what did you say you wanted to be when you grow up?
Kyle: An architect
MelBoogie: I wanted to be a marine biologist for years – well into high school. But then I realized that I wasn't the greatest at math, science, or swimming so I had to come up with another plan...
Melissa: I can't remember when I wassix6 but I know that I wanted to run my own restaurant not because I could cook... I just thought it was cool.
Q: What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your career in music?
Click: Treat people the way you want to be treated and follow your gut!
Kyle: Be ready to pivot.
MelBoogie: 1) The best advice is to persevere because even when you think you're failing, you're learning. 2) The perceived success of others is not an indication of your own failure. 3) In the digital age, there is no clear blueprint to follow to achieve success, and success isn't always monetary—it means different things to different people. 4) Plan your work, so you can work your plan—it's a cheesy saying but it has meaning. 5) And it's unrealistic to expect to know everything—use resources and relationships you have to ask questions, flesh out ideas, and meet new people.
Melissa: When people say “The mentors you need are older than you and you should work hard at getting in the room with some powerful person and it will change your life.” That's not the truth. The people you rise up with are your power base not the person that has already done it.
Don't miss Decipher: Hip Hop Professional Development Workshops | Release and Revenue Strategies on May 30 and head to X-Cues on May 31 for the Decipher Hip Hop Showcase