Entertainment Manager, Karen Douglas, talks about how her work is paying off and shares some advice for new artists.

Karen “KD” Douglas knows the true meaning of the “gettin it out the mud.” Now a music and media mogul in her own right, Douglas, affectionately known as KD, knows the value of rolling up your sleeves and putting in work to make your presence known in the industry. Having started as an intern with only a hunger for knowledge, she has put in the time and parlayed her sweat equity into an impressive career in management. Having been a part of the management team for hip-hop legend, Trina, KD knows a thing or two about what it takes to create success in the music industry. KD talks with us about her road to success and what it took to get here.

Give a little background on how you got started in the entertainment industry.

I guess the brief answer goes back to all the friends that I had in the industry. I knew people that were in the industry, and I always knew people that were friends with Trick Daddy and Uncle Luke and Trina. Once I was out of high school, and I knew that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry, I put myself in those spaces a lot and it really kind of came together. I had a really good friend that was also friends with Trina’s mom and over time we built a rapport and I was already interning at the label, but I always had some friends that were somewhat in the industry.

Did you always know that you wanted to be doing something in the entertainment industry?

I always knew that I was passionate about it but I did not know that I would be doing something in the industry. My first love is art, and my partner and I started a graphics design business very early on, and we did a lot of work with some of the artists in the area. I think that kind of threw me in a little deeper and I ended up doing a lot of stuff directly for Trina and for Slip n’ Slide and then I knew that I didn’t want to do graphic design anymore. From then it just flowed and it kind of worked out.

You have been a part of legendary female hip-hop artist Trina’s management team for quite some time now. Tell us about how that partnership started and how it has evolved since you first started.

In the beginning, it was more of me being more of an intern or assistant and over a period of time proving myself and what I did have to offer and my drive and wanting to soak up the game. Her manager at the time brought me in and taught me a lot, and her other road manager, I learned a lot from them. I was able to grow in my position and eventually come on as management. After being on the road for a while, I began working more on her day-to-day. Now, we are more like family and we talk everyday. We are in a fun space right now. There have been a lot of things that have happened in the last few years and she has gone through some things and we have worked through those things together as a team, and now I feel that we are in one of the best spaces because we have learned so much about each other. Even though she has already accomplished so much, we are in a place now where we are ready to do even more and work on even bigger business ventures. We have definitely grown into more like family over our time together.

Things are so different now compared to how they were when you were putting your work to get to where you are. What differences do you see in the industry now versus when you first got started?

I know that we are in this digital and social media era and it makes it feel like things are instant, and everybody wants their instant gratification. I don’t want to sound like what some may call old school but, yeah, I had to get out there and get my feet wet and go and do internships in different places. I have learned a lot from being out there and there are some situations where I did not know any better, but did get out there and put in the work and I learned a lot that way. I feel like when you get out there and put in the work, you appreciate it a lot more. I love the grind. I don’t want to work as hard as I did back in those days but when you are just coming in, you have to want it. There are so many people out there that really want it so you have to put in the work.

What knowledge can you give  to others that are coming up in the music game into the world that you are in now?

I have so many stories and gems. I was blessed to be a part of this mentorship program that allowed me to share some of those gems. I did not have that coming into the game at first. I would see people that I would admire from afar but there was no social media. There was no ability to send someone a DM. Now, knowing what I know, it makes me feel blessed to be able to be that for someone else, whether it is a part of a panel or just answering a question through a DM, I am always willing to share that knowledge.

Tell us more about your brand, Noire 9.

My first love was always art and I am always looking for an outlet for my creativity. I am looking to do more with my designs and it has been such a great creative outlet for me. I did recently have a pop up shop that did really well and Trina came out and showed her support and that was really dope. I would like to do more merchandise and expand but I would like to grow more into having a team that works with me on that so that there are always fresh ideas and content coming out but for a while that was my bread and butter for a while and I really want to do more with that.

Leave one good gem for someone that is looking to come into the industry today.

I would ask this question, “if this is something that you would not make money off of, would you still do it”? If the answer is no, then you may need to think about whether or not this is something you really want to do. I know that we are in this space where there are these wild sensations and they happen overnight but it may not always be like that. Of course, we all want to male money, but if you couldn’t, would you still do this? There are so many people out there that are just passionate about what they do and even when things are down sometimes, they still have that same passion for what they do. My advice would be to ask yourself that question. Also, something that may seem small, show up and be on time. This is a sign of respect, especially as a new artist. Even if you are not the most qualified, being early and on time shows that you are hungry and you really want this. I remember my mom gave that piece of advice for my first interview. She said always show up early. Sometimes the ones that don’t make are the ones that are not as hungry, even if they are really talented. 

KD says that she is looking forward to sharing more with up and coming artists so that she can be a resource that she wishes she had when she first started out. She is excited about the upcoming release of her ebook where gives some of her advice to up and coming artists. She is also working on bringing new life to her clothing and merchandise brand, Noire 9, as well as some exciting new ventures with “The Baddest,” Trina. 

Keep Up with Karen “KD” Douglas: @mskd2u