School is over and reading a book is the last thing students want to be doing during summer vacation. But lying on the beach with this read will produce more than just a tan; this guide moves undergrads looking for a career in the entertainment business toward the path to success.
Hailed as a “mentorship in a bottle,” Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [Entertainment] Business, written by Thembisa S. Mshaka, combines personal reflections and business advice from countless DJs, record label executives, and producers, including Beyoncé’s publicist Yvette Noel-Schure and Chris Brown’s manager Tina Davis.
Thembisa, a former Sony Music copywriter whose campaigns contributed to album sales for Lauryn Hill, Nas, and Wu-Tang, has created a guidebook to learning the inner workings of the entertainment industry, while showcasing true stories of struggle, sexism, and success. Currently the copy director for BET Networks, the author shares a few gems with Rap-Up.com on how recent graduates can handle their entertainment business.
On Today’s Industry:
“Expect the unexpected. This is a completely new day. The entertainment business is undergoing a seismic shift. Young people are coming into it at a uniquely uncertain time. They will have to work harder than they thought and it will present an unprecedented level of opportunity for them. Most importantly, they must spend time developing as artists or professionals.”
“Pay your dues. You have to start from the beginning. For those who can’t carry a tune, have two left feet, and [are] not an on-camera person, the beginning is still an internship or apprenticeship. Work with someone who is doing what you want to do. Get a sense of what it will take to be successful in the business. Put Your Dreams First may help people think twice about getting a mentor sooner. Research and persistence are key.”
“Cathy Hughes [founder of Radio One] was a great example of tackling the business as a young woman. She talked about challenges she faced when she was a teenager in high school and became pregnant with her son in the 1960s. She had the baby and went on to college, often bringing her son to classes. Her son currently serves as CEO of Radio One.”
Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [Entertainment] Business (Grand Central Publishing) is available now at bookstores everywhere.