INTERVIEW: AMANDA JAKES MILES (CEO OF HIP HOP HEADQUARTERS)
Hi Amanda, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. You are currently based in Atlanta, are you from there originally? If not where are you from and what made you decide to move to Atlanta?
No, I’m originally from a small town outside of Charleston, SC called Goose Creek. I lived there until about 14 when my parents were transferred to Chesapeake, VA. I did college up at Virginia State, joined the Navy at 21 and was stationed in San Diego. Around 2011 I made the choice to move to Atlanta to be where 90% of my family is. Best decision I ever made.
You are the CEO of Hip Hop Headquarters (Triple HQ), what made you decide to start your own Hip Hop platform and what separates yours from the other Hip Hop platforms out there?
I decided to create Hip Hop Headquarters because I was a young publicist back in 2008 and I knew how hard it was to get artists on platforms without any type of co-signs. I wanted to create a place that was open to letting anyone submit. We don’t care who knows you or who co-signed you…we want to hear your music and it give it a chance. I think that is the main thing that separates us from the others. Also we provide feedback and a whole Hip Hop 101 section giving out advice one how artists can improve in so many areas.
You put out a lot of articles on your site giving extremely valuable tips to artists on how to manoeuvre through the music industry and how to carry themselves. Most recently you put out an article on how to approach publications, what is the main thing you look for when an artist approaches you about being featured on your site? What are some things they must always include and what are some no no’s for you?
My main thing is your introduction. If you find me on social media or somehow get my email, its all about how you present yourself to me from the beginning. First impressions are everything to me, especially if you expect me to take you seriously. If you contact me on social media; a simple “My name is (insert rapper name here) and I follow your site TripleHQ and was wondering how about can I go with emailing some of my latest music for review”. But if you jump in my DM’s talking about “Let’s Work” I’m blocking you to oblivion. On the email side, I prefer direct personal emails to me. If you want a premiere through me you should not be emailing me and 700 people the same thing. If it’s just something you want my company to check out, you still better be using BCC on that email or its getting deleted.
What obstacles did you overcome when starting up your own company? And what advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own platform?
I think the frustration of being a woman and the lack of support I had behind me. A lot of people didn’t think I was serious. I put blood sweat and tears into creating my company. A lot of people gave up too soon or got distracted with other things that seems more popping as if Rome was built overnight. Other obstacles would have been how much time I wasted helping other people with their music, companies, brands, etc instead of focusing all my energy on my main path. For people wanting to start their own company, I wouldn’t say just jump into it like most would say. Make sure it makes sense..make sure you have the time, the budget to brand and market your company. Choose only the right people who will bring encouragement, value, and investment into what you’re trying to do.
Atlanta is the hub for talent especially in the Hip Hop scene, who are some of your favourite artists out of Atlanta right now?
Offset, Takeoff, Quavo (yes the Migos..lol), Future, 2 Chainz, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Young Thug, Gucci Mane..I can go on and on but y’all get the gist.
You have also done a number of PR campaigns for established artists such as 2 Chainz, Future and Rick Ross, how did those opportunities come about? In your opinion what are the key elements every successful PR campaign should have?
The Rick Ross campaign came about in 2008-2009 when I was working for his nephew as his publicist. He told Ross how great I was and said they were starting a group and wanted me to help out with social media campaigns. Later that afternoon Rick Ross called my phone about Maybach Music. I worked under a few of the managers for a couple months and then I drifted away (yeah, I know…I was young…should’ve stayed put). I worked on the campaign for 2 Chainz back in 2011 for his mixtape release party and his Birthday Party event. I helped also in the conversion of turning Titty Boi into 2 Chainz. Future, I worked on a Charity Event for him also back in 2011 during the Christmas time. I also was the publicist to Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz.
Some of the key elements for a successful PR campaign include: strategy, a timeframe, knowing your audience, targeted press releases, and assessment.
If an artist reaches out to you requesting a PR campaign what do you already expect them to have in place?
For me, its helpful to have a press kit (even if you need me to spruce it up a bit…at least have something)., A biography, a website, and a BUDGET. I need to know the main details of the campaign and what do you expect in the results, and your time window.
You are also an A&R at Record Union, tell us more about your role there
Mainly just that, we recruit artists almost the same way people would do over at CD Baby or Tunecore. We’re just cheaper than the other two. We give artists one free year of digital distribution on all selected platforms.
As you know we are ‘The Female Hustler’ what is your definition of a ‘Female Hustler’ ?
A female hustler is an independent go-getter of a woman. She does it all. She creates multiple avenues to get to the money and get what she needs done by any means necessary. She rarely takes no for an answer, and if you’re having trouble finding her within the company or brand…she’s probably the BOSS.
Are there any other Female Hustler’s within your industry that inspire you?
Not so much in my direct industry. I have a lot of great female friends who do amazing things daily. But I would say the person who inspires me the most would be my mom. She is one of the strongest women I know, and she keeps me encouraged and motivated. She’s my rock, and always there for me whenever I need to vent about rappers and how they get on my nerves.
What do you have coming up that people should look out for? Any exciting projects you can tell us about?
As of right now, I’m getting together with my TripleHQ team to work on all our ideas for 2018. All I can say is that 2018 will be 100% Hip Hop Headquarters for me. We will be ramping up different areas and expanding into our popular topics on Hip Hop Advice to creating more how to tutorials and Q&A times via our YouTube and Facebook Live so be on the lookout for more on that soon.
Make sure you check out triplehq.com and follow them and Amanda below:
Twitter: @TripleHQ / @Awesomenezz
Instagram: @triplehq / @Aw3somenezz