Kia Shine: Starving Artistry?

OK, so to be a success in today’s musical climate, you need to exude a lot more than talent. Not saying you need a Masters in Business or even a degree, but being about your “business” has never been more critical.

Tennessee Titan, Nakia Shine Coleman, has paid his dues moving 200,000 units independently. Securing spins and attaining hometown attention, he knew when he was picked up by Universal, he wasn’t going to be able to sit back and watch a major take control on his career. He had to hold the reigns tighter.

He might have been deemed a one hit wonder by some after the success of “Krispy,” but he has only just cleared the first hurdle. Talking numbers, responsibility and the manifestation of the digital age, Kia Shine proves to us here at Ballerstatus.com what a real hustle is about.

BallerStatus.com: How is the album moving?

Kia Shine: It’s doing real good. Let me say this, there is always more work that can be done and with my album I would have liked to have seen more of a street presence, a stronger television buzz and I would have liked my video to have made the “106 & Park” countdown. As all these things are going to affect the amount of units you sell. But as far as the actual feedback from the people, as far as the shows and the promoters or whatever and financially, it has been a windfall for me.

BallerStatus.com: Do you find there is a lot of pressure on you when it comes down to first week sales?

Kia Shine: Well to me, if you look at first week sales, the way my thing was set out I never had the opportunity to do a good first week man. They were originally going to put my album out June 19th when we had had our first spin on BET on June 3rd, which I thought was really rushed. At the same time, I am not going to sit here and complain as the album is in the stores, the majority of my promotion is going on while my album is actually in stores. I have had the opportunity of shooting a video while the album is in stores. Look at Robin Thicke, he had a song out and did an ok first week, but he kept working his album and it eventually went platinum. I just think if you continuously push your record, it is not about one single, it is about having an album with more singles on it that you can promote and from there, you keep pushing the album.

That is what I am doing. I plan on this being a consistent thing and there are other things going on with my career that will help push the record as well, you know, such as television and things. I feel like if I was to have had a perfect set up where I was on the radio and on “106 & Park” and the Top Ten Countdown, people liked the single, it was a success, but had we had a remix or a video, it would have been more successful.

But it is a constant grind with the label when they have other artists; you have to make yourself a priority. It is always the same grind even if you move serious units.

BallerStatus.com: When you grind like that, are you more receptive to the numbers after working so hard?

Kia Shine: That is what I have going for me. People respect my grind. I can name ten things going on with my project that had nothing to do with Universal; it was down to my team making it happen. I feel like I am independent with a major deal.

BallerStatus.com: But isn’t that the way of the industry now? Major labels might give you the deal, but it doesn’t mean they are going to work for you.

Kia Shine: Exactly. They will give you the opportunity, all they do is give you some money and you invest it in yourself.

BallerStatus.com: It’s like the stock exchange, everyone has a value.

Kia Shine: They are not worried about sales no more. They are worried about ringtones, singles and digital sales. People aren’t going to the stores no more. That is a thing of the past. People go on iTunes and buy records and people go to buy a single. People are making the money of those, not off CD sales.

BallerStatus.com: You obviously have good business acumen, how do you feel about companies like iTunes monopolizing on singles as opposed to albums?

Kia Shine: I think it puts more pressure on an artist to put together an album that has more than one single, because the consumer can go and buy one single now and be done. Then why go to the store when you can go to iTunes where my album is on sale for $7.99? Why would I go to Best Buy and pay $12.99? As far as first week sales, they don’t take into account digital sales. My project has been doing very well as we have made a lot of revenue off singles and a lot of revenue off ringtones. But the thing is my ringtone deal is separate from my record deal; meaning if my record don’t recoup, I am still going to get paid the money from my ringtones as it is not cross collateralized. For me financially, I am not trying to be a starving artist. I have to eat and I am going to make sure I structure my deals where I eat regardless.

BallerStatus.com: You see some artists get serious build up. For example Swizz Beatz, he had a couple of videos out and a cameo before his album dropped. Do you think that comes down to the name?

Kia Shine: Definitely. He is a world wide producer. He is going to get more shine than Kia Shine would even though Kia Shine sold 200,000 records independently. When you do major sh** you get more. Eve dropped “Tambourine” and she hasn’t dropped her album yet. You just can’t come with one video and drop an album.

BallerStatus.com: With that being said, is there where artists nowadays really need to step up there sh** and prove that they are worthy of putting out three videos before they drop an album? Why should only established artists have that pleasure?

Kia Shine: Yeah I think it is just a digital day and age. I think you have to come across more to the consumer. You have to hit them with a couple of videos, so that they know the album is out and that it is more than one song banging on the record. If Kia Shine has one video and that is “Krispy,” you need another video to show the people that you really have some good music and then you drop the album. I am still new to people and I just think that the marketing just wasn’t done properly, but at the same time, it is a blessing because I have a record in stores.

BallerStatus.com: But you know where the faults are and how you can do things differently next time. Do you think this is why we don’t see a lot of artists after one album, because they can’t recognize where the problems are?

Kia Shine: I am not tripping man, as I have made records way before this and I am going to continue what I am doing. I know what I am doing is different. It might take people a bit of time to catch on to that, but for those that know, they are all the way in. It is not about what you sell in your first week.

BallerStatus.com: Well look at how long it took Chamillionaire to go platinum?

Kia Shine: It is really about how you look at the situation you are in and making the best of it.

BallerStatus.com: Is it about not settling for second best?

Kia Shine: Exactly no one else is going to push you.

BallerStatus.com: How hard was it for you to get a deal?

Kia Shine: Well I had moved 200,000 records independently, three independent released singles and there was a lot of work to get a situation.

BallerStatus.com: Why was it so hard to get a deal, with such excessive sales?

Kia Shine: Because first of all, Southern artists have to go through a lot more to get a deal.

BallerStatus.com: You think so? Why?

Kia Shine: Well you have dudes in New York that have street deals, because they are cool with this dude, but down South we have to put our own single out and get BDS and you have to go through more pre-requisites to get a deal. Even if a South dude is talented, he still won’t get a deal as a dude in New York will get a deal faster as he is hotter on the mixtape scene or whatever. Southern artists have to get their spins going and getting the buzz going, but that is what it has always been about. We are built to be entrepreneurs.

BallerStatus.com: It is interesting that you say that as I know there are New York dudes that say that everyone from down South is getting put on and they aren’t.

Kia Shine: Well yeah because right now, the way labels are doing it, is that the New York dudes who were hot on the mixtape scene have to step it up because the south has changed things up. The labels aren’t making hit records, they are chasing them. If you have a hot record in Jackson, Mississippi, and you got spins and word is starting to spread, they are going to chase that record. They are not about making them, they are about chasing them.

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