Highlighting Key People In Hip-Hop

Sonia France
Sonia France knows more than a thing or two about the business of hip-hop. From her early days as an assistant at Violator Records to her current role as PR to several artists including former Roc-A-Fella stars and also, Lil Kim, this industry maven has found her calling in working behind-the-scenes. Before becoming hands-on with labels and artists, France was an artist herself. She sung background vocals for Melanie Smallwood but quickly realized the spotlight wasn’t for her. After meeting Brian Jones, the general manager of Violator Records, France began her path in the industry. Currently in the position of PR for the Roc-A-Fella Reunion and for Lil Kim’s upcoming endeavors, France is looking forward to launching her own multi-service company in the near future. Along with PR, she’s also managing several up and coming artists and still acts as an assistant to AZ and DJ Absolut. Read on and find out how this budding industry specialist keeps on her path. Take notes.


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What inspire you to go the music route?

I had a lot of people around me motivating me to push myself further. They all knew my track record when it came to getting things done. Plus, with me knowing so many people, it worked out.

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When did you realize PR was your calling?

Honestly, the PR path started last year when I was working with Lil Kim. The PR person she had was pushing me towards it because he knows that I wear many hats. He just kept telling me, “You could do it. You could do it.” Even though I didn’t know too much about PR, it worked out well. Before PR, I was doing assistant work and management. I’ve had my hands in everything for years. But, mainly management is my main thing along with being an assistant. I manage a few up and coming artists and do assistant work with DJ Absolut and AZ.

How did you land those positions as the assistant to the GM of Violator and to Terry Walker at Motown?

I met Brian Jones through Tweet, one of the artists from the r&b group “Next.” After all of our years working together, I am still his right hand person. Anything he needs done, I’m there and vice versa. With Terry, I was working as a receptionist. He wanted me to work under him because he knew my knowledge of the industry. A young lady named Katie that was working at Atlantic Records introduced me to AZ. I started making little things happen with phone calls. He like what I brought to the table and kept me onboard as his assistant.

What’s a day in your life like?

It consists of being on the phone all day.  I make phone calls all day, everyday. I’m also sending e-mails trying to make things happen. For an example, Lil Kim has a new video that we’d like aired on BET’s 106 & Park. With that comes a lot of back and forth with the company. It’s a process. When we have events such as the Roc-A-Fella Reunion, I try to speak to my artists everyday to make sure everything is in place and running smoothly.

What’s the key to successful placements?

The key to successful placements is working hard. Like with Kim’s new video, the steps I took to get it played was to call the production team over at BET, send the video and wait for approval. Since I’ve already built those relationships with the staff at BET so it wasn’t too hard with that one. But whether you’re new or seasoned, you can’t stop no matter how often you may hear the words “No.” Just keep going until you get the results you’re working for and stay focused on the goal.

What’s next for you?

Well, I’m still working with Lil Kim. There’s also AZ’s album so I should be traveling with him soon. I’m still working with the Roc-A-Fella team. I’m also helping with the careers of two up and coming artists, Baggy and Latiqua Vereen.

 

Follow Sonia France on Twitter: @vpsonia718

 

-Danitha Jones (@LifeLikeJones)

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