Mean Girlz Media is a hugely successful music promotion company which is all run by ladies! As you all know, I strongly agree with more women in the music industry so I was buzzing when I heard about these girls. I was even more over the moon when they tweeted me showing interest in my work too! They are based in St.Louis America, but after few exchanges of emails I decided to fly over there and chat to them - Just kidding - I am not made of money! So I did a lil' Skype interview with ShaeRai and Karyn who run the company. I found out who they have worked with, how they do it and what it feels like for them being females in the industry. And boy we had a good giggle! A pleasure to talk with. Here is how it went down....
How did Mean Girlz Media come about?
ShaeRai: Mean Girlz Media pretty much started out as a crew of girls. People already knew me and Karyn worked a lot in the entertainment industry. Karyn was known as a blogger (and also dj's partime as DJ RNS), I was known for doing promotions. It was like ‘Whenever there is a celebrity in town, ShaeRai is gonna be around’ so it started out as a joke amongst our friends. There was a singer in the crew, a rapper in the crew and everybody in the club used to say 'Y’all look mean'! So we were like ‘Ok, we’re the mean girlz crew’. That’s how Mean Girlz was originally born - as a joke. We thought ‘Well everybody says we look mean so fine, we’re the Mean Girlz’!
Karyn: And we really like to tell people the truth so they say ‘You’re mean’ when we’re just teling the truth.
OK, in a harsh way or a constructive criticism way?
ShaeRai: Well it depends how people take it. Usually it’s constructive criticism but some people take it as being mean but I think 'I’m just telling you the truth so nobody else hurts your feelings, but OK'!
Who have you worked with?
ShaeRai: As Mean Girlz media, a lot of local artists! But our resume between the both of us is ten plus years so we have done stuff for Trey songz, Pharrell, Fall out boy, Gym Class Heroes, Bobby V, Mike Jones, the list is ridiculous because it has been so many years. I even forget some people I worked with and then I find pictures and think 'Oh yeah. I forgot I did that'! The latest project we did was for Shorty da Prince. Who is in BET's 106 And Park here in America. He is one of the new hosts. Shorty is from St.Louis, we have known him from way back in the day from when he was just an artist going to clubs and being on radio. So yeah - shout out to Shorty!
So when you work with these artists, what do you do?
ShaeRai: Promotions, PR work, putting them in right spot and right direction. Help them get the overall look. They’ll have an idea and we’ll build on that idea and just try and get it rolling for them.
Do you go to them or do they come to you?
ShaeRai: Usually they find us
Karyn: But that’s the way we prefer it.
ShaeRai: I mean, we paid our dues in the industry because we did go after so many people at one point in time saying ‘Hey do you need help with this? Let me do this’ so then when people saw what we were doing, everybody else was like ‘Yo, when I do my next project I need to call y’all’ or ‘I'm about to drop this new album. What are you doing, can we meet next week?’ and its like ‘I aint doing nothing! What’s good'!
So the hard work pays off?
ShaeRai: Yes and I feel like for one, being a female in the industry. That’s the biggest thing. Nobody ever takes you seriously. They think you are a groupie and your trying to get in with these people. The mentor I had here, a lot of people used to see me with him all the time and the first thig they'd say is ‘Oh you’re his girlfriend’ and I’d be like ‘No he has a girlfriend and that’s not me’. But when people saw how hard I worked they realised ‘Wow no, she really does this for real’ and they see me and Karyn out and realise we really go hard, we do this by ourselves with nobody else but we're smashing everybody else! We can do no work here for months and then come out months later and smash it out for someone who has been working all year round!
With being female, sometimes people don’t want to take you seriously upfront. They think 'she is going to be emotional' or you've got some type of motive but it is like ’No, this is what I love. This is what I do. Music’
Karyn: I am kinda inspired by everything. Sometimes I am just riding in the car and then I get an idea! But the first song I ever remember knowing all the words to was Do or Die by Po Pimp! I can say that when I was younger I understood the level of how hard it is. I used to listen to Mc Lyte and she had the Ruff Neck video and I was like ‘They have female rappers?’ I mean, I am not a rapper but it's something to be looking up to!
ShaeRai: The first song I remember knowing all the rap words to was by Da Brat Funkdafied! I ain’t even gonna front. I knew it backwards, forwards, Jermaine DuPri’s part, everybody’s part! I thought Da Brat was the dopest person. At the time, I didn’t realise she was from the Midwest! I didn’t even know the Midwest was bigger than St.Louis! I was like ‘Wow! She is from Chicago, that’s not far! My Aunty lives there'!
That’s when I started researching and learning different things about people like Russell Simmons - who he is outside the businessman. And others, like Mona Scott-Young who I am obsessed with right now!
So one person would lead you to be inspired by another person and so on?
ShaeRai: Yes! Cause people like Mona Scott, Chris Lighty and Russell Simmons had more of an impact than the artists themselves. Because the artists took a little bit of Russell or a little bit of Mona etc. You know, Missy Elliott has a little bit of Mona in her (she manages Missy) so it’s like ‘I can make a bigger impact without anybody even knowing who I am!’
Karyn: Yeah we really want to be people that nobody knows but just be really rich!
You mean you like to be in the background but make big movements?
ShaeRai: Yes!! But the important people know who we are!!
Karyn: There is a phrase: ‘Important, not famous’. No limelight- I like to be able to go out in my sweat pants and nobody say anything!’
ShaeRai: It’s like, when you get to that level of fame you really don’t know who is there and who is not and it taints your personality. Not everybody gets tainted. Like, from that call we did with Missy Elliott last week on the Nerve Dj call, I can tell that she hasn’t been tainted by the industry. I can tell she kept a lot of her real friends around her from the time when she was struggling, to now. Her same crew is around her and it keeps her a grounded person. And I feel like a lot of people lose sight of just being able to connect to real people. Instead of having fake people around you saying ‘You're the greatest’ when that last album you did sucked ass!
What are the main aims and dreams for your company?
ShaeRai: Biggest thing is for Mean Girlz Media to be a taste-maker in the industry and for people to realise that whoever we like, we see their grind and we want to work for the underdogs. We want to be known as helping the people out there who you never expect, get up there and get out there. The taste-makers, the forefronts, be known for really dope management. Bring people out there and help them make it.
Karyn: We want to help people get there and then let them go and then we’ll start over. We don’t want to be riding the same horse for 10 years.
So there you have it! Go check out these girls as I love what they are doing! They also advised y'all (yes i've picked up the accent, saying y'all hehe) to check out www.midwestmixtapes.com to see who is out there in Midwest America. Check out Mean Girlz Radio and follow Mean Girlz on twitter!
Written By Sazrah
Sazrah is a UK music producer who has composed music for BBC 1xtra, Film, Catwalk and famous artists. Her blogs are about upcoming artists, music industry tips and general chit chat!