Haiti rapper Princess Eud signed a deal with music producer and record label mogul Steven Machat late last month. This deal, which also includes management representation, is viewed by many as the breakthrough the singer-rapper and fledgling fashion mogul was looking for to bring her career up to the next echelon. Here are five thoughts that I have on this deal.
1. So this is a record/distribution/management pact? So it is!
Steven Machat has quite a reputation in the music business world as an artist marketer, and as someone who has built, renovated many an artists’ careers. He’s worked with, among others, Bobby Brown and The Rolling Stones. He even wrote a music industry guide entitled Gods, Gangsters and Honor. It The fact that he’s been working in the music business since for over three decades, and has witnesses so many shifts and changes in the music industry makes him an asset to Princess Eud’s team.
An artist should worry mainly about music. Having Machat’s firm guide her will take quite a bit off her shoulders. He has had experience in managing world artists like Cameroon’s Manu Dibango, and will surely increase Princess Eud’s reach on the music market.
As far as this being a management and a record-deal…It’s my view that management and record label should be separate. Record/distribution label and artist management should not be carried out by the same entity.
2. Princess Eud’s new deal is a sign of the times.
There’s this shift that’s been going on in books, movies and now music. I mean it’s not really a shift, as there is nothing new under the sun. But there is this attempt by the mainstream lately to draw artists, films, and books from small niche markets and give them wide appeal. In the cinema world, Disney’s release of Queen of Katwe, an underdog chess player story with Lupita Ny’ongo playing one of the leads. The story takes place in Uganda. In the literary world, there is the Diverse Books movement to portray characters of color. Books by African authors are no longer seen as token books or oh-yeah-let’s-take-a-chance-on-this-one books on publishers’ list, but as “lead books” for publisher’s prime titles list. And in music, record labels—both mainstream and independent—are signing artists who wouldn’t have been an afterthought even—years before. This would be either because they wouldn’t know how to market them, or they were convinced that they wouldn’t have mass appeal. But hey, it’s a new day, and thankfully unique artists like Princess Eud are savoring the fruit of this shift.
3. Princess Eud’s deal should serve as a reminder.
Yes, siree…a reminder to all artists and creatives no matter who they are, or where they are or what field they’re in…to be bold. Don’t be afraid of being original. And don’t sit there and wait for people to give things to you. The artist had been guiding herself, marketing herself and producing herself by herself all this time. She’s obviously well-known in her home country. Princess Eud’s story should be a reminder to everyone—regardless of their fields—how essential it is to put in the work, to take the creative shovel and dig, and build. We live in age where the record labels that are still in existence are looking for artists who’ve already built a platform and have a solid fan base—not someone who has to be built up from scratch. Do like Princess Eud, folks. Work, work, work creatives!
4. The work is done, but there’s more to be done.
Princess Eud ought to be marketed as a Pan-Caribbean, Pan-African Lauryn Hill, and the Machat team should book performances for her all over Africa and the Caribbean, not to mention Europe, where there is an increase number of multicultural families and demand for something different. She should be placed on the festival circuit in Asia. To my knowledge, other than mainstream acts, there doesn’t seem to be a great formal musical exchange between that continent and the Caribbean. Emphasis on the word “formal”.
While I am not privy to the explicit terms of this deal, I hope it includes Princess Eud licensing her songs to ancillary markets like motion pictures and gaming, and streaming shows.
Above: Princess Eud alongside her musical cohort Ded Kra-Z.
5. Let this deal be the doing and not the undoing of this artist.
What got this rapper noticed by Steven Machat’s organization was her down-to-earth image and empowering music. It’s crucial that these two traits remain part of the Princess Eud package. Of course, that isn’t to say that Princess Eud shouldn’t be a tidbit flexible when it comes to song choice and other aspects of production and image.
This deal will really widen her musical horizon, and with deals like this, it will afford her more opportunities to truly penetrate the world music market. And let’s not mention collaborations…especially with other female world artists (Zap Mama, Lira, and Lauryn Hill come to mind).
With new markets to be conquered, there’ll be new pressures, new temptations, and new challenges. What’s that saying? Oh yeah…what’s the point of conquering the whole world, but losing your soul in the process. May Princess Eud’s head continue to remain firm and tight on her shoulders, and may she never lose sight of the things that really matter.
It’s total Eudomination. World get ready.