Â Sondra, DJ MIA, & Apl.de.ap In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
President/CEO at Premiere Artists Group, Studied Law at UCLA, Lives in Shanghai, China, Knows English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, From Forest Hills, New York
(Editors Note – February 22, 2011)
Moving forward with the continuation of our on going mission which is to build bridges as opposed to walls and make the most effective use of the connection abilities provided by the International Network (Internet), we have brought in one of the worlds foremost experts in global relations in the information age to shed some light. Sondra has saw fit to swing by and bless us with some of her personal expertise and insight, to the extent that we will simply cut to the chase and just jump right into the discussion, so bon apatite’!
PH: In your own words, what is the mission of your company Premiere Artists Group and your overall vision?
SC: The mission of Premiere is three-fold; 1. to protect the artists interests; 2.to provide professional services to the talent buyer; and 3. to push the envelope, bringing a combination of originators and cutting edge talent to the masses.
PH: What led to the creation of your company?
SC: Meeting a DJ that complained a promoter didnâ€™t pay him after spinning all night for a packed venue. Sound familiar? I created a simple contract for the artist and the rest is historyâ€¦people saw him getting paid, starting asking questions and he referred my services to others and a booking agency was born.
PH: How did you arrive in Shanghai China to become a resident?
SC: In 2006 I flew to Shanghai for a meeting with a club owner and to TM one of my artists, Qbert, during his tour of Asia. I instantly fell in love with Shanghai and began paving the way to open an office here. Five years laterâ€¦here I am and still loving every minute of it.
PH: What are some of the primary challenges that you face as a foreigner residing living in China?
SC: Language. Putonghua is not an easy language to learn and you need to speak it if you’re going to live here. I’m constantly working on my language skills. Others that have moved here think the cityâ€™s challenges are that itâ€™s very big (22 million people), fast-paced, noisy and polluted. I grew up in New York City, so these things donâ€™t get to me.
PH: From an insiders perspective, what would you say is the inside scoop regarding trade relations with China as an emerging world economic superpower?
SC: That is the BIG question and one thatâ€™s asked a lot. I think itâ€™s important to recognize that China has a remarkable history that spans thousands of years and are a very proud people. Western companies would do well to study that history and learn to adapt their business model to Chinese culture instead of trying to conduct business â€˜western styleâ€™ in China. In my opinion, the companies that seek to trade with China and follow this formula will reap the greatest rewards.
PH: What in your opinion can be done to make trade relations better?
SC: At the end of the day, everyone knows that China is a major player in the global economy. China is a nation of over 1.3 billion consumers with an quickly expanding Chinese middle and upper class. Again, I would have to say that learning how to relate to the Chinese in a way they are familiar with will be the game changer and better foreign trade relations.
PH: As an ambassador of urban culture in China, what do you believe is most attractive about Urban Culture to the citizens of China?
SC: Ambassador of Urban Culture…I think Iâ€™ll change the title on my name card to thatâ€¦seriously though, the Chinese youth are aware of whatâ€™s going on in the world around them and it is apparent on the streets and clubs of China. Urban music culture has permeated the market via the Internet where they view music videos and download the latest commercial hip hop tunes. Girls think dressing â€˜hip hopâ€™ is sexy and the boys think itâ€™s cool. All of it is still in its infancy, but for me itâ€™s so cool to see a Chinese b-boy with dreads show up at the club and blow-up on the dance floor to a Premo beat.
PH: In your expert opinion, do you believe that the people in the Shanghai scene and other places such as Macau would be receptive towards what is offered at PimpHop.com Lifestyle Magazine?
SC: Iâ€™m sure they would if it was a bi-lingual publication.
PH: I came across your company through your name being on an email list that adds friends on Facebook. How does Facebook and other social media websites assist you in your endeavors?
SC: Yes, Facebook is a tool for promoting events, contacting talent buyers and staying on top of gigs worldwide. Itâ€™s a great medium for talent buyers to contact booking agents and also book talent through the artists website which in turn links them directly into our companyâ€™s page without them having to Google it.
PH: What improvements do you believe could be made on your favorite social media sites to provide you with a better experience?
SC:Spam filters would be a start. I have over 400 events clogging up my FaceBook right now and Iâ€™ve given up on my MySpace. I really like LinkedIn as well.
PH: This is the open mic question where you get to answer the questions and speak on matters that i neglected to bring up, so if you were interviewing yourself, what points of interest would you not fail to let our viewers know about?
SC: Censorship in Chinaâ€¦dealing with censors and demands of the government officials for live performances is one of the many important reasons why there is no Chuck D, Eminem or Jay-Z for that matter in China. With that being said, I think the most powerful form of censorship here is self-censorship. Consider this, would you record a track that no one will hear, support and could potentially get you in trouble? I believe the Hip Hop artists in China would be wise to avoid traveling down that path until the scene has matured a bit more, although I look forward to the future and seeing how the culture of Hip Hop continues to unfoldÂ in Chinaâ€¦ Itâ€™s definitely an exciting time to be here.
That’s a wrapâ€¦è°¢è°¢ ??
For updates from Sondra regards news and events including the Pete Rock debut show in Shanghai, contact her on Facebook, or at her
On with the show!