Featured image credit: Sabrina FV Holder
Truth be told, when everybody pays homage and gives credit to the artists that grace your television (or any other device in 2018), I can’t help but look behind the curtains — said artists wouldn’t be able to function without their team of managers, planners, fixers and organizers bringing the entire brand together.
In my opinion, no part of that ecosystem is more important than public relations: these are the individuals that stand between whatever product you’re pushing and the masses you want to sell it to. They are the ones building those relationships with the public, and making sure your image is what it needs to be to succeed…and Quinelle “Coach Q” Holder knows this position well.
Whether or not you’re familiar with the name, you’re definitely familiar with his clients: the Haitian-American publicist and journalist has already collaborated with Desiigner on his now-iconic single “Panda.” Through his own firm Medium PR, he’s also worked alongside Karen Civil, Miss Info, the A3C Festival and much more. And he’s only getting started, currently part of the ever-growing All Def Media family.
I was able to connect with Q Holder recently, and he spoke on how he got into this business, the evolution of PR and his current (and future) contributions to the culture. The man is working.
RESPECT.: Let’s get right into it: how did you get into the business, and how did you wind up running your own PR company?
I originally got into the industry by way of urban fashion — streetwear specifically. I started helping one of my childhood friends run his brand back in 2009. To help promote the line, I started a fashion lifestyle blog called ‘The Red Tag Society’ (my inspiration came from Levi Jeans). Before I knew it, I wasn’t blogging because I was trying to sell T-shirts; I was writing because I’d developed a passion for documenting the culture. Soon after, I started interning with The FADER Magazine’s parent company Cornerstone Agency and started contributing to Philly’s staple Rap website HipHopSince1987. From there, I began to develop my journalism bone and went on sharpening my skills at D Dot Omen, Artistic Manifesto, SoJones, A3C, Karen Civil and eventually landed the role of Music Editor at New Music Cartel’s own MissInfo TV. As important as being a media personality was at the time, I wanted to do more. Enter “Q The Publicist.”
Did you have any major inspirations that led you to this point?
Wanting a better life for myself and my family. I always knew I was different from everybody else, even the name I was given. I was destined to stand out.
Given your time in PR and other facets of the music and entertainment industry, what would you say is still the same? What are the biggest changes that you’ve had to adapt to?
The one thing that will always be the same is relationships and reputation reign supreme. Keep those two in good standing and you can navigate nearly anything. As far as what changed — streaming has completely replaced blogging and other former artist discovery platforms.
What would you say are your biggest challenges as far as attaining success in this industry?
My biggest challenges are finding “truly” like-minded people to help me build my empire and balancing my family life. The reason why I started my own company was to play by my rules. At times, it’s easy to get buried in work when no clear boundaries are set. At the end of the day, if my wife and soon-to-be-born baby aren’t getting the proper love and attention, none of the stresses that come with this would be worth it.
What other aspects of the music and entertainment industry have you delved into? What would you say are your biggest accomplishments thus far?
I’ve done almost everything there is to do at such a young age (I just turned 28). From grass roots promotion, to artist/tour management, show booking, setting up listening sessions, mentorship and I’ve even dabbled in philanthropy. There was a time when I’d say helping artists go Platinum, get Grammy-nominated or top the Billboard charts are some of my greatness accomplishments; but in hindsight, creating and maintaining Medium PR Agency, LLC while being able to provide for my family is what I’m most proud of.
We see that your wife — photographer Sabrina Holder — is also doing big things, including as a part of Medium PR. How is it working together? Do you two have any special projects in the works?
I love working with my wife. Above anything, she’s my best friend and an amazing business woman. We actually have a podcast in the works titled #MeetTheHolders. Shopping it to a few networks now.
Congrats on the move to All Def Media! Tell us about your plans for your latest venture.
Having the opportunity to work with Russell Simmons’ brainchild company is still mind blowing. I’ve been following the brand since the very start, so it’s super surreal. I was brought on board to help with publicity for their original content series and help book talent.
What are you currently working on? What can we expect from you and your entities in the future?
At the moment, my priority projects are the Best Life R&B Festival in September, featuring Ella Mai and H.E.R., raising awareness for Mims’ blockchain/cryto currency based app Cre8tor, and our next installment of our education panel So You Want To Be A Rapper.
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