We all know them either personally or from what we’ve seen of their work. They keep their hands in multiple projects, never appearing to suffer from the slightest bit of exhaustion. Ambition serves as their never-ending fuel to achieve.
Karlie Hustle is no different. If her name doesn’t make it obvious, her work ethic will speak volumes loud enough that you can’t ignore her effort.
She is a consultant for emerging artists, star of her own YouTube series, an event producer, Director of Brand Relations for 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records, and I could go on but her resume would make this run on sentence even worse.
Karlie is a true Jane of all trades, as she cleverly put it in our interview.
She always knew she wanted to be in the music industry, a gut feeling that kept her as close to music as possible. In the early days of her career, she worked at a record shop and remained in the local Hip Hop scene back in Portland, OR.
The catalyst that would catapult her career was a charity event called “Hip-Hop in the Park” where she met Ebro Darden (Hot 97).
He gave Karlie her first shot on a street team, and the rest was history. Karlie would go on to not only land a position at Hot 97, but also build herself into a brand.
A hustle does not only require effort, it requires planning, patience and execution. These are components that Karlie Hustle knows all too well.
Q : Describe the experience as Music Director and Assistant Program Director at Hot 97? Did you take any particular lessons from your time there?
A : I learned a ton working at Hot 97. I gained a heap of professional confidence and sharpened my multi-tasking skills. One of the main strengths I gleaned from the experience was how to prioritize.
I learned to not be overwhelmed by the volume of tasks at hand, and instead, order them according to urgency without guilt or second-guessing.
Q : What triggered your need to start the K. Hustle Brand and what were some of the obstacles you faced in getting it off of the ground?
A: I always wanted to start my own business, but when I met my boyfriend, I saw that I could actually do it. He has his own business with a couple of friends, and gave me a blueprint to follow so I could do it myself.
The biggest challenge is patience through the research and development stages, particularly when dealing with outside manufacturers who are making your vision come to life.
Q : What made you start your line of bow ties and how would you rate the success of it so far?
A: The bow tie was my first offering under the Hustle brand. It really was the catalyst I needed to start the company. I was wearing a lot of bow ties and button ups and just decided I wanted to drop my own version.
The Hustle Bow tie was created as an ode to the unsung heroes behind the scenes who may not be visible, but are the real reason that stars are able to shine. I’d say it’s been very successful as both a branding piece, and as an item that has generated income for the Hustle brand that I can put into other product releases.
Q: What is Groove Candy? How did you get started producing that event?
A : Groove Candy is a 90s dance party I started with DJ M2 in Phoenix, AZ back in 2006. We wanted to go to a party that played the kind of music we loved, but it didn’t exist, so we started one ourselves.
It ran for a number of years as a weekly, and M2 still does one-offs here and there. Now, I’m bringing the party to NYC monthly as an after-work event. It’s a blast and everyone is home by midnight.
Q : Hustle and Grow has been an avenue for you to connect with the people and provide tips for various aspects of life. What was your reason for starting the series in the first place?
A : Yvette Davila (formerly of Def Jam, and now of CPXi) approached me about crafting a daily video advice column. The concept is a work in progress, and we are continually fleshing out ways to enhance the content and provide the viewer with something smart and funny to check in with every weekday on hiphopmyway.com. I’m having a ton of fun with it.
Q: What is the creative process like for you in coming up with topics and scripts for your webisodes and designing your bow ties?
A: I like to talk things through verbally, as well as write them down. Talking about my ideas orally helps me on the creative side, but writing them down is what holds me accountable to get them done.
I keep a “doing list”, which I talk about in my “How to Quit Your Job” YouTube series. There has to be a balance of creativity and accountability, and working for myself means I have to find a way to possess both qualities equally.
Q : You wear so many hats you must be running a million miles a minute every day. Describe a day in the life of Karlie Hustle.
A : I try to work smarter, not harder. I’ve really had to give myself the permission to take breaks and do leisurely things without feeling guilty about it.
The work will always be there, that’s one thing I do know. I love to attack emails first thing in the morning and organize my day from there.
A lot of really successful people have a routine they follow daily for the first hour of the day, so I’m working on finding one that works for me. I also make going to the gym a priority.
Q : Recently, you’ve signed on for a new position with 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records as the Director of Brand Relations. How did the opportunity come about? What does this role mean for you and your career?
A : 9th called me at the top of the year and, to be honest, I wasn’t totally surprised. What I’ve always stood for in my career is very much aligned with Jamla’s vision.
I’ve had a relationship with 9th and Rapsody for some years now. As an early supporter of Rap, we all became fast allies and stayed in touch regularly.
When I left Hot 97, 9th saw an opportunity to take my relationship with Jamla in a more formal direction. Essentially, we’ll be pooling our resources and relationships to increase visibility for the label and the talent on it. I’m humbled to be working with such amazing artists and human beings.
Q : When it’s all said and done what is the legacy you are working to leave behind?
A : I want to be known as someone who does amazing, culturally relevant work.