The Importance of Good Storytelling
Industry vet Fadia Kader discusses how artists can use social media and brand partners to tell their story.
Fadia Kader’s varied career in the music industry has included stints as a stylist, talent booker and manager. Most recently, she’s turned her attention to music partnerships with projects that entail “big idea” thinking around everything from brand/talent matchmaking to event production. In this Co.Lab, Fadia offers advice on how to build a strong social media presence and discusses the importance of finding the right brand partner.
Spotify for Artists: What does your creative path look like? How did you get to where you are now?
Fadia Kader: I actually started in the fashion industry at first. I was a stylist in Atlanta, Georgia. I worked with a bunch of artists, such as Janelle Monáe, as a fashion buyer and stylist. Then somehow, I got involved in music on a different level and I started managing a group in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be a publicist and an agent and show booker. And when venues in Atlanta didn’t want to book my talent, I started booking my own shows. That’s how I got into starting showcases in Atlanta. In fashion, we do a lot of trend forecasting, which I was able to apply to booking artists for my showcases. That’s how I started identifying who I thought had next in music.
When it comes to trend forecasting, are there certain signs or signals that indicate to you that an artist is going to blow up?
Yeah, it’s a combination of aesthetic, marketing, and great, timeless music. But if your brand and aesthetic aren’t strong, it’s hard to get across the line.
Do you think an artist needs to be both a music maker and content creator to succeed in today’s industry landscape?
I think more than anything artists need to be, not only content creators, but great storytellers. Everybody now is a content creator now if they have an iPhone or DSLR. But how can you own your narrative? How can you be a storyteller? How can you position yourself as someone who knows themselves and creates quality content at the same time?
Do you have any tips on how artists should be approaching their social media?
I think the most important thing is just being as authentic as you possibly can be on social and the days of having highly produced content—it’s just not effective anymore. Everyone has a social account. You’re a raindrop in a rainforest right now. So how are you going to make a splash? You have to take your time to really figure that out. Each artist is completely different but it starts with building a thousand fans who commit to you and those thousand fans who will be like your army and keep the momentum going at all times.
You also have experience in brand partnerships. How should emerging artists today be approaching partnerships?
Yeah, after Atlanta I moved to New York, where I worked at Complex where it was my job to identify talent for brand partnerships, campaigns, and events. That turned into me building the first influencer program there. I then left to do brand partnerships at Def Jam where I worked with artists like Big Sean and Alessia Cara. I provide all that context to say, I think it’s really important to know yourself as an artist before you align to a brand. Because once you dive in with a brand, you’re marked. So you have to make sure it’s a brand you want to be associated with long-term.
If you could give artists today one key piece of advice on cultivating their visual identity, what would it be?
Start with knowing exactly who you are. Stick to your story and narrative and own it 100 percent. Build an audience that is going to ride or die for you. And invest in your fans, because they’re the ones that are going to carry you when you’re off-cycle. They’re going to keep the conversation going.
-Spotify For Artists