By Rayme Samuels
Winter Music Conference came and went in a blur. In the middle of things was Sujit Kundu, owner of S.K.A.M. Artist Management and VP of promotions at Motown Universal. Dubbed by BlackBook magazine as “DJ Promoter Extraordinaire,” his roster is a who’s who of major talents like DJ Irie, D Nice, DJ Ross One and DJ Vice. With a trifecta of offices in tastemaker hotspots like Los Angeles, New York and Miami, this company is poised for immeasurable success. We caught up with Kundu who expounds his secrets of success:
You’ve worked your way from an economics and accounting degree to being a major name in music promotions. Do you have any advice for people aspiring to become top DJ’s or work in the music industry?
College for me was more of a life experience than a precursor to a career in music. It’s all about work ethic. If you want be a top DJ or successful in the music industry or any industry, you have got put in the time and work hard. One rule I live by is don’t lie or cheat anyone. If you make a deal honor it, even if you may lose money or it may not be worthwhile anymore, because all you have in this world is your word and reputation. Once that is tainted it’s that much harder to continue to move forward.
Why do you think people are so eager to embrace DJ’s as celebrities these days? What has changed?
DJ’s have always been celebrities. It is just finally coming to the pop culture. Nightclubs are where new music, new fashion, new trends all start from and the DJ has a big say in what is hot and what isn’t. Whenever you have that kind of influence you become somewhat of a celebrity.
You’ve worked with amazing artists and DJ’s- how do you spot pure talent?
Talent is a very interesting word. I feel like the community lets us know when someone is talented. For example, if you’re an artist you will gain notice via heavy internet traffic or single sales via iTunes, if you’re a talented DJ then people want to book you and there is a demand for your services. That is worth more to me than someone saying "I’m dope."
What makes the Miami DJ scene different/special from other parts of the country?
Miami is different because of the ethnic makeup of the city - you have a mix of South American culture mixed with European mixed with American. Here, you can play a Brazilian set of music and kill it - which may not go over as well in, say, San Francisco.
How did you choose the S.K.A.M. artist roster?
The DJ’s had a major hand in choosing the roster. They let me know who is hot and who is not, and if you get the blessing of three or four DJ’s on the roster it’s a good shot you can be on the team.
What can we expect from S.K.A.M. and its roster in the future?
A brand new web site www.skamartist.com and I’m working on making S.K.A.M. DJ’s a household name. I’m trying to take the [DJ] culture to the next level.
Sujit Kundu (center) with some of the S.K.A.M. DJs around him.