Today we have a special interview with an Entertainment Public Relations specialist by the name of Kandis Knight! She has amassed a very impressive resume and has highly sought after for her skills! She took the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about the entertainment industry and about her beginnings in the industry! We hope you all enjoy what you are about to read!
1. Most interviews don’t start off like this but, how are you today Kandis?
2. If someone walked up to you on the street and asked, what do you do? What would you say to them?
I assist brands (mostly music, entertainment and fashion) get their game plan together so that they are best mass marketed and publicized. Then I market and publicize them.
3. How long have you been in the entertainment industry?
Roughly fifteen years. I started fresh out of college. I was instantly snatched up by the Director of Marketing for Prince, Sharon Smith-Akinsanya and never looked back. She was like the female Andre Harrell and I was like the young female Puffy. The marketing Firm was called The Rae Mackenzie Group, it was a sleek Euro contemporary office in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis’s Warehouse District. I knew I could do anything. In 2002 I opened my own marketing firm called LuCreative Group and as a hobby I started writing about and cataloging a lot of Rhymesayers artists then many others. I had a column in The Pulse of The Twin Cities and Brent “Siddiq/Stress” Sayers once told me my column was his favorite. As soon as I got Atmosphere in The Source Magazine’s Off the Radar, a lot changed for me. I moved to Atlanta to work for artists signed to Grand Hustle and I wrote for a major magazine there, called Grip Magazine. My journalism work turned into PR because the artists would always come back to ask me for advice or resources. Now with technology, PR people are turning into digital media specialists, I am one of them.
4. How did you begin your career? What inspired you to become what you are today?
I always loved writing and networking and promoting. I looked up to people like Marvette Britto and Don Cody (Moses Media) and followed their careers. I also followed the career of a Hip-Hop journalist, Carlton Wade (The Source Magazine) and I eventually worked for and was mentored by him. I always loved being a leader, someone who could give people a voice.
5. What has been your biggest accomplishment in your time in the entertainment industry?
I would say the best is yet to come. I still feel like I am still learning. Learning how to pick your clients is very important. I have lost a lot of money investing in artists whose personal lives ended their careers. If I had to say something more specific, I would say being able to transfer the skills I learned in the music industry to the fashion and corporate realms and be wildly successful at it.
6. Who are some of your clients, past and present?
Past, I worked for many artists including some on Grand Hustle as their publicist. I’ve done work for artists signed to Nappy Boy, Collipark, Diamond Princess (Trina), Yo Gotti, Lil Boosie, RL (from NEXT). I have watched several artists become stars in front of my eyes. I have also worked closely with Hittmenn Djs, Zone 4, GRIP Magazine, The Greater Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce, The Booking Agency, Southern Dynasty Records and DreamStar Talent (owned by T-Pain and His brother Hakim Najm), PZI Jeans, Mojana LTD (UK). Presently, to keep my phone from jamming, I am the Public Relations Specialist for several magazines, a radio station, several fashion brands, a couple non-profits and of course many artists some are International. Hopefully this month I will be adding a Rhymesayers artist to my roster.
7. What word of advice would you give to an up and coming entertainment professional?
Graduate from college. The edge a good education gives is something most people who have never had it will never understand. Build and maintain solid databases. Always remain genuine, even to the most irrelevant people because you never know who you will pass on your way up the ladder or down it. Also, pick your clients wisely.
8. How can we find out more about you online? Do you have a blog/website?
9. Any final words of wisdom or shout outs?
Just want to Shout out J. Hatch and Jen Marah (HHLO.com) for having me on Get Your Buzz Up. I have met a lot of great people from it.
Do What You Desire…
( Kandis also provided us with her bio so you all can learn a bit more about her! )
Kandis Knight graduated from the prestigious private Catholic Institution and world class business school, University of St. Thomas, A City of Minneapolis Scholar (full academic scholarship) with a degree in Journalism and Marketing. Knight was recruited and molded exclusively by The Rae Mackenzie Group’s CEO and founder, Sharon Smith-Akinsanya. Smith-Akinsanya was instrumental in teaching Knight guerrilla style marketing which was applied to the internet as the technology was still emerging. Smith-Akinsanya, a former long-time VP of Marketing for Prince and Paisley Park Enterprises is a well-respected Midwest marketing guru. Knight flourished under Smith-Akinsanya’s tutelage. Knight assisted The Rae Mackenzie Group to envision, plan and manifest one of the Midwest’s largest women’s annual events, The Gathering, held annually at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event attracted over 50K women the first year of production and raised over 450K+ in corporate sponsorship annually for the event’s seven years of production. In 2006, Knight relocated to Atlanta & was well-received by industry professionals as a New Media marketing expert working with major record labels and magazines, Knight quickly became an industry tastemaker. Knight has worked for some of the top music and entertainment organizations in the country, as well as being the Media Relations expert for several national concert tours. In 2008, Knight accepted the position of Director of Public Relations and Marketing for PZI Jeans International where Knight demonstrated the same marketing techniques used in the music industry translate into other fields such as the fashion industry. Knight took the 7 year-old jeans company into unchartered territory, the brand experienced a quadruple increase in sales with Knight at the marketing helm.
Through her corporation LuCreative Group, Knight also represents various organizations. Knight has served as a publicist for The Greater Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce, The Booking Agency, Southern Dynasty Records and DreamStar Talent. In 2008 Knight became an A & R for Mojona LTD, a European music industry giant working with artists from Lupe Fiasco, Akon to Jay Z.