10 Questions with ... Sujit Kundu
July 23, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2003-2005 MCA/Geffen - West Coast Regional Crossover Promotions
- 2006-2007 Universal Records - National Director Rhythm Crossover Promotions
- 2007-2009 Universal Motown - VP/Rhythm Crossover Promotions
- 2009-2011 Universal Motown - SVP/Rhythm Crossover and Video Promotions
- At the same time - President of Skam Artist in - since 2001
1. You spend a lot of time in both Los Angeles and New York. Do you have a preference?
Yes...I do..and I love NYC considerably more than LA. I try to spend as much time in NY as possible..but Skam Artist is based in LA, so I have to spend a considerable amount of time in LA managing the staff. Days just seem more productive to me, I seem to wake up earlier, stay up later...and still have energy to go out ..ie the City that never sleeps - Also it's considerable more convenient for a single person in terms of food, convenience to get things at a much quicker pace - you walk outside and can get just about anything - whereas in California - you have to get in your car and drive and spend much more time in traffic and parking!
2. What's it going to take to get you back to doing promotion at a label?
Never say never, but I don't think in my near future. First off, would have to make sense financially and be a step forward responsibility wise from Motown. I wouldn't want to go back to the same gig. Also would need to be a label such a Motown that had the vision to allow me to maintain my agency while under their employment. At the end of the day, if all else fails I can still control my own destiny at Skam. I would have to really believe in the vision of the company, and the artists that they had, and think that we could make history!
3. When did you start to get the sense that Skam Artist would develop into the big, successful company it has become?
Appreciate you saying its successful, but I consider it a work in progress and still very much a young company. I def knew I was on to something when Lil Jon called me and wanted me to represent him. I was like whoa, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri, Nick Cannon, Vice...we're on to something here!
4. You've told me that you were pretty much expected to become a doctor or lawyer. How is your family with your decision to take things in a much different direction, vocationally?
All good Indian boys are supposed to be doctors, lawyers, engineers...lol... I even tried to follow that path. I was pre med for about 1 year at UCSB. I just didn't have the passion for college like that, preferred spending my nights in nightclubs and my days promoting parties and making money. My parents are very much cool with my career path. Fortunately, I haven't ever asked for money, and occasionally show them pictures with talent that they would know..and they enjoy seeing that. On a recent trip to India with Pitbull, we ended up in my hometown of Kolkutta and I ended up on the front page of the Indian Times. I showed that to my folks and they were very happy!.
5. At a party attended by the entire Skam Artist roster, who would be best dressed? Who might be worst dressed?
Every year at my birthday, I def ask everyone to dress up and wear suits, etc. It's always fun to see djs who typically don't dress up..dress up! I gotta say last year Chicago's Bad Boy Bill came with it...worst dressed would probably be me...I don't have much fashion sense. I usually cheat and ask someone for help.
6. Looking back a little, what's probably the highlight of your major label promotion career, to date?
This is an easy one. The day Lil Wayne sold 1 million albums in the 1st week was by far the highlight - Lollipop went #1 - and Lil Wayne who was already on his way to being an Icon in hip hop, became an icon in pop culture.
7. Ever piss off Nicki Minaj?
I was always very good with all of the acts I dealt with, had great relationships with them cause I always was upfront and honest w them and most importantly always accessible and available. I did upset Nicki one time, we were at Power 106 (not sure they know this) but she was doing an interview and we were well within the schedule that her team had given me, but the interview was recorded and was def long. When we left and were in the elevator - she was like, "Sujit, what was that? That interview was about 10 mins too long. You out of everyone should know better and have said we had to go." I can't lie. It def was a little long but she looked like she was having a good time so I let it go but she def let me have it!
8. Best way for an up-n-coming DJ to get your attention?
There are a couple ways -
- Get the djs on Skam to come speak on your behalf - if you can get 3 or 4 of the djs to come to bat for you, you'll probably get on because they won't really do it unless they really want you on the team.
- Have a successful business, that you are looking to take to the next level- what most djs believe is that if they are on an agency, all their problems will be solved. That's not the case. You need to have demand and put yourself in a position to win..then we can help get you to the next level
- Also - you need to be making $$. 15% of $500 is $75. We can't run an agency off commissions like that. You need to think about how you will make the agency money. If you can show us that, or if you have a strong residency, we will invest our resources into getting you to the next level.
9. After a long day in the office what do you do to relax?
TV - no question - I watch lots of TV - movies on demand every weekend!
10. You've always got so much going on. In addition to running Skam Artist, what are you up to?
I've also started Skam division, which manages acts (Frankie J, Bad Boy Bill, Richard Vission), and tour manages (previous clients include Pitbull, Afrojack)- also in terms of Skam - we have started a talent division - first client is Brody Jenner, and we started to diversify the agency to included acts such as Luciana, Justice Crew, and Maddi Jane.
I love playing word association. What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say, "Birthday"?
You spend quite a bit of time in airports and hotels. Do you have a few favorite hotels? What are a few hotel essentials for you?
- I like Starwood hotels, because I like the frequent stayer program.
- Internet is big - but I have the wi fi card in my bag if we have issues.
- Water pressure in the shower is important.
- 24 hour room service
- Comfortable bed
- In all honesty, I'm not that picky when it comes to hotels. As long as it's somewhat clean and safe.