Shanti Das, The Hip-Hop Professional Shares the Joys of Entrepreneurship
(AllHipHop Features) launched in 2009 that serves as an entertainment concierge service providing independent marketing & strategy for music acts, talent booking for private & corporate events, brand influencer marketing and special event assistance. Her extensive 25-year music industry career (intern to Executive Vice President) includes positions at Capital Records, LaFace Records, Columbia Records, Sony Music and Universal Motown where she worked directly with some of music’s top talent like Outkast, Usher, TLC, Vivian Green, Toni Braxton, Prince, Erykah Badu and more.
An advocate for many social issues, Das has started several successful initiatives and events including No Reservations Needed, an annual feeding with the Atlanta Mission for homeless community and Silence the Shame, a mental health initiative to peel back the layers of shame and stigma. In the past 6 years, she combined her passion and talent for business, community, and culture, rebranding herself as the Hip-Hop Professional®– someone that is skilled in a particular profession performs at the highest level, gives back to the community and has a love for hip-hop culture. Das is dedicated to becoming a global thought leader and inspiring the professional development of young adults. A highly sought-after speaker, she serves as a role model and mentor to many students at various colleges across the country via her successful College Chat Room Tour.
Das is the author of “The Hip‐Hop Professional 2.0: A Woman’s Guide to Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Entertainment Business;” “The 1-2-3s of Networking,” a pocket guide of 30 invaluable networking tips to expand your professional contact base; The 1,2,3s of Entrepreneurship,” a pocket guide with tips from successful entrepreneurs and experts to help positively impact your business and The 1,2,3s of Self-Publishing A Book, a pocket guide of 30 tips to jumpstart your career as an author.
Ms. Das spoke with AllHipHop briefly about her journey as a music industry marketing executive and making her mark as a powerful woman in the business.
AllHipHop: Please, explain what your job entails:
Shanti Das: I worked at record companies for almost 20 years shaping the careers of Outkast, Usher, Lyfe Jennings and many more. Took a leap of faith to become my own boss. I am currently Founder of Press Reset Entertainment. The company does consulting for music artists such as Jeezy, Demetria McKinney, Johnny Gill and others. We also do celebrity procurement for events in Atlanta. In addition, we co-founded and produce an event in Atlanta called ATL Live on the Park. It is one of the biggest music showcases in the business for the past 7 years. Aside from music I am a national speaker under the Hip-Hop Professional® brand and have spoken at countless college/universities, SXSW, A3C, EssenceFest, etc! I speak of music, professional development, empowerment, networking, and more. I am also a philanthropist and I have started several key initiatives for youth empowerment, mental health, and homelessness.
AllHipHop: What’s the most enjoyable part of the job and your duties?
Shanti Das: The most enjoyable part of my job now is being an entrepreneur and having the autonomy to work on various projects/initiatives at the same time. I love that I can still do music but also focus on my other passions such as community work and leadership.
AllHipHop: What is the hardest part?
Shanti Das: The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is the ups and downs of client work. You have good months and bad months. That’s why it is important to have several revenue streams. Sometimes I have contemplated getting a job again (working for a major company) but then I remember how Faithful God has been to me throughout this journey (this Leap of FAITH) and I tell myself to never look back!
AllHipHop: Can you describe a moment of adversity personal and in your career?
Shanti Das: One moment of adversity for me personally was going through my depression. I Finally saw a doctor got the help I needed. That’s what prompted me to start “Silence the Shame,” an initiative to peel back the layers of shame and stigma around mental health (shout out to Nick Cannon, Jeezy and Andra Day for their support). In our community, we are afraid to talk about it or to get help, which is so sad. Professionally I can recall the moments of feeling some type of way about my compensation vs. my male counterparts. Since this is a piece for Women’s History Month, let me tell my ladies to ALWAYS know your value and don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. Often times, you will not get what you deserve if you do not ask for it!
AllHipHop: What keeps you from giving up?
Shanti Das: GOD, period. He is my rock and my best friend. I pray often and try to keep a level head about success and life. God wants us to remain humble and to also not forget about others. I really enjoy mentoring to young adults and helping others to succeed. Also, I have some good people in my corner that are always providing support and vice versa. U gotta have the right circle of friends/colleagues in your circle of trust…not everyone wants to see you get that W. As Drake says, “I got fake friends showing fake love to me straight up to my face.” Be mindful of the circle you keep and pray for the haters!
AllHipHop: How did family play a role in your journey through this industry? (parents, siblings, significant other, children, etc.)
Shanti Das: I am not married nor do I have kids. I do however have an amazing family. My sister is the rock of our family and was always there for me when times got tough in the music biz. My mom was a very loving parent and taught me to embrace my spirituality (she now has Alzheimer’s so I’m glad to be able to see her more often). My brother helped provide a balance through sports, that’s how I got to be a sporty junky. Understanding and embracing sports was a good balance for me with music and also allowed me to get into certain rooms of opportunity with my artists. Lastly, my nieces and nephews are like my kids and they are a huge part of my life. They help to keep me grounded.
AllHipHop: Who inspired you to become a leader or boss?
Shanti Das: My sister and mom were big inspirations for me. We had a lot to handle emotionally with my dad passing at a young age. So I started young wanting to be successful. Professionally L.A. Reid was a great leader while working at LaFace and Arista, he taught me to always strive to be the absolute best!
AllHipHop: How do you balance work and personal life?
Shanti Das: I wake up thanking God for the gift of life. I then allow HIM to order my steps and to light my path for the day/week. That balance also comes with my family and close friends, so I make a conscious effort to make time for them. In addition, I make sure to incorporate time outside in the sunshine and exercise for good mental and physical health. This all leads to a productive professional life!
AllHipHop: What do you do for fun?
Shanti Das: I LOVE watching professional football (Falcons – yea still not over Super Bowl ’17), movies, traveling the world, listening to good music, reading self-help books, and eating crab legs.
AllHipHop: What are some things you’ve had to deal with that a man wouldn’t?
Shanti Das: I feel like women have to deal with far more in the workplace than men, such as inequality with pay, sexist comments/remarks/gestures, and favoritism. I see a lot of grown men that take care of their “boys.” And sometimes, not all the time, women are so busy being in competition with one another they miss the ability to lift as they climb. There are though MANY awesome ladies out there looking out for others and I salute those that do uplift one another! For the men who still treat women less than equal… I feel sorry for u.
AllHipHop: Final words?
Shanti Das: My final words are “keep God first, love yourself, your family, give more than you receive, and smile often!”
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou