MAJOR FLEX: Naadia
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
Since graduating from London College Of Fashion ten years ago, Naadia has quickly become one of the most prolific and interesting people working in the music industry today. With a background that includes festival promotion, artist management, label boss, PR manager and many more, she has been one of the key players working behind some of the industries biggest names.
Now heading up the management, booking and PR agency Who's Got Game, Naadia is continuing to kill it as one of the industry's hardest working and devout individuals, so we thought why not give her a call and find out more about where she has come from, where she is now, and what she has planned for the future.
Hi Naadia, how are you today?
I’m well thank you. Hope you guys are too.
What made you decide to start Who’s Got Game?
My then- business partner and I felt that there was so much talent around us that needed more exposure. I came from a communications background so it was an easy marriage of our skill sets. I was an unemployed graduate with nowhere to go lol. So it seemed like a great idea. We’d already been working in events which naturally brought us a pool of talent. We also thought artists should spend time with music not with the peripherals so wanted to alleviate that pressure for them.
You have already done so much in a short space of time, but what has been your proudest moment?
Aaah thanks. I always feel that it isn’t enough! Proud moments include being flown to Austria for my artist Sylvia Stone to perform at an apres ski party in front of Arnie supporting Gloria Gaynor only to land back in the U.K. and run straight to a gig ( literally from plane to soundcheck) supporting Terri Walker, Shakka and a load of soul heavyweights. That week ended with my artist Mr Bonnie Blazer opening for Logic, Akala, Black The Ripper (RIP) and TY (RIP) which was the equivalent of being at Disneyland for me! I loved that week! Watching Natty play big stages was always a little eye wetting for me! And putting on his by the fan for the fan Candlelit Tours was a great achievement and endless spreadsheets lol. I’m super proud of my current artist Mrisi - watching him and his band tear up the stage at Ronnie Scott’s was pretty special and his latest single West Baby premiering on GRM and Complex really made me proud. But the proudest... I think it’s yet to come.
As someone who has worked both independently and as part of an agency, what would you say are the pros and cons of each?
I worked in-house at Natty’s label Vibes and Pressure assisting and managing the release of his second album Release The Fear. It was great exposure and as it’s a “roots” label I was working alongside artists and colleagues I wouldn’t often get the chance to. Of course someone else is funding the operation - that’s a pro. Someone else is also in charge which can be both a pro and an con. You get to learn a lot when you’re outside of your own echo chamber. When it’s your own agency you need to make the maths make sense but also you get to make decisions and the final one is often your own - for me that’s a pro for sure. Working with someone who has a lot of experience like Natty expedited my own knowledge and practise style.
You have also had your fair share of darker moments in the industry, do you have any advice for others on how to avoid or deal with disappointment?
Yes I have. Between the Weinsteins and the Britneys I have seen, experienced and heard about some super dark stuff! Create a strong support system inside and outside the industry. Remember people can be fragile so err on the side of caution if you have a certain sense of humour. Get up, try again. Get a mentor early on - something I’m still working on (holla!!). If you feel awkward, leave. Learn than people are human and as humans we all are vulnerable- even the sharks - and that vulnerability doesn’t always show itself in the same way. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to start from scratch again and again. Run your own race. Some people are just pricks, accept it and move on. Respect the process and have a side hustle to keep you going through the hard times. Remember it’s about music and art always and that in itself is beauty.
But aside from the past, what is going on for you right now? What projects are you working on?
I’m working with Mrisi solely at the moment. An EP with Yazmyn Hendrix is on the cooker and Borders, his new single will be out early Autumn. We’re working with new creatives on that which is always fun - I love the audio visual creative elements . I have started conversations with a few other musicians who have piqued my interest and hopefully some new signings before 2021.
And finally, where are you hoping to see yourself in five years time?
Music wise - bigger roster, bigger revenue streams, beautiful music, videos and shows, happy artists. . Reducing my hours on my “other” job would be cool. And I hope to see myself with a few bits in frames!