Late last year at a show in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood, I spotted a beautiful young woman who was sporting a great big smile the whole night – it was none other than HustleGRL‘s Karla Moy. I debated for a few minutes as to whether or not to go over and introduce myself and tell her how much I admired the work she’s done. As I finally struck up the nerve, I was pleasantly surprised.
“Hey, I’m Sandra from Bad Perm,” I said.
“Hey!” Karla responded as she opened her arms and drew me in for a hug.
In addition to a stellar work ethic that put her name on the map at just 12 years old, the now early 20-something showed me that she also possesses a warm and kind demeanour that makes her an unstoppable force in the world of graphic design, entertainment and branding. Karla’s lengthy resume includes creating and managing former official Drake fan site All Things Fresh, designing a mixtape cover for Lil’ Wayne, being an on-air personality and blogger for MuchMusic, the Leader of The Remix Project Academy‘s Creative Arts Program and go-to girl for a list of clients that includes Def Jam Recordings, OVO, Nike and Necole Bitchie amongst many, many more.
Karla is one of our favourite fun, fearless females and when she spoke with Bad Perm in a brief interview, she discussed nurturing her brand, dealing with criticism and the crucial need to get out there and network.
Bad Perm: The Internet is the biggest game changer for all of the art and entertainment industries. You’ve obviously flourished in it. What are some of the skills that up-and-coming individuals in the entertainment industry need to hone when it comes to their online presence?
Karla Moy: First and foremost they really need to be original. They have to kind of create their own online solutions that they can deliver to their following or their soon-to-be following. When you’re new in the game, you have to possess some sort of original or unique talent. You have to possess a unique craft that you can offer to everyone. As long as you’re unique and you’re fresh and you have something new to bring to the table then you’ll definitely succeed or do well in the field that you want to work in, whether it’s the Internet or not the Internet. It works the same way in every industry.
BP: How have you nurtured and maintained the HustleGrl brand?
KM: I would say mainly with networking, meeting new people, and expanding my reach. You know, as long as you meet new people and then you expand your reach. When you have a new market and new fans and a new following all the time, it works out perfectly. Then you have no reason not to expand.
BP: Complex wrote an article called Ten Industry Heads Who Should Be A&Rs. Hip-hop consumers are very voracious in consuming new music. How did you zero in on new talents like Drake? What gave you that confidence to so passionately push their music?
KM: I love music. I love listening to new music. When I discover or when I hear of a new talent, I don’t like to keep it to myself. I might listen to the artist for like a week and then I’ll share their music with other people. To me it’s just all about sharing. You hear a new talent and you don’t want to keep it to yourself. If you like their music and if you believe in them, you want them to excel. It’s my duty to be that person that will share the music and let the world know about that one particular artist or group. I mean, it ties in with being in A&R because you overlook projects, you discover new talent and you are responsible for finding the next big thing.
BP: Lately there’s been talk, mainly within Twitter, in the Toronto sphere about the difference between people who push hip-hop culture because they genuinely love it and people who exploit it for their own benefit. With running All Things Fresh and helping Funk Master Flex and Lil’ Wayne launch their sites, how do you deal with the all the varying opinions, mainly the negative ones, that are thrown at you online?
KM: Honestly, I don’t really pay attention to it because I don’t learn from it, I don’t gain from it. To me, it’s irrelevant. If I can learn from that negative feedback or those negative comments then I guess that’s fine. For the most part when people make those comments, they make it to be malicious and they don’t really want to give constructive criticism. They don’t have a reason to say, “Oh, she’s hopping on the bandwagon,” or whatever comments they’ll be making. If I can learn from them, then it’s cool. I don’t mind hearing what people have to say but if you’re just doing it to be malicious, then I pay no mind.
BP: What’s some of the parting advice you want to give, specifically our female readers, who have a goal of getting into this entertainment industry bubble, sort of behind the scenes, whether it be doing A&R, music or design?
KM: My advice to them is to get out there. A lot of people think they can network just on the Internet but you actually have to go out to events and meet these people face-to-face and put a face to your name. When people see you out working and networking, it shows that you’re serious about what you want to do and you actually care but if you’re hiding behind a computer screen, you’re not really stamping your presence. If you really want to get into this music industry or entertainment industry, or whatever industry you want to get into but mainly the entertainment industry, you really have to get out there in person.
Interview by Sandra Stanisa, words by Mehek S
*image has been taken from www.hustlegrl.com