Interview with Qi Dada Ras of Riders Against the Storm

So first tell me more about what you are doing currently and what inspired you to do music?

 

There are a lot of great things on the horizon for both of my endeavors, Riders Against the Storm (RASHIPHOP.COM) and Know Openings Spiritual Consulting (KNOWOPENINGS.COM). RAS is embarking on new music, and expanding it’s reach. We are still closing contracts with one company but it should be a fun one once we get to announce it. Our new single “Booty Sweat” now available at RASHIPHOP.BANDCAMP.COM. We are partnering with Ballet Afrique Contemporary Dance Company and a portion of the revenue will go to support the all black ballet company! So go there now and get funky for a purpose!Knowopenings.com is upgrading all of it’s services for Empowerment Consulting, workshops and Keynotes. I am currently also working on a presenting a tonic to diminish the symptoms of menstrual cycles! Be on the look out for all of it!

Being an independent artist must take a lot of planning, perseverance and organization? Would you consider yourself to be a strong believer in having a business plan? Did you use one for your your group or other business endeavors?

I am in a strong believer in having a PLAN, a formal business plan may not be that crucial. You have to know what it is you are seeking first. It wasn’t essential that we had a business plan 4 yrs ago when we first embarked. However, it is important now that we have to be concerned with taxes, doing works for hire and hiring people.

We need more in place because we have more to manage now. However, if you are just building your name and credibility it is more important to ask questions and learn before jumping into contracts or large formal plans.

Do you think business plans are necessary for musicians and art entrepreneurs?

They are important. A business plan needs to be a living document. It has to change as your business develops. If opening an art studio and having to manage overhead and growth is your goal, it is important to have something formal in place. However, if you are just starting out hustling coffee shop to coffee shop it would more valuable to be sure all those shows are amounting to your growth. The 50 bucks you made isn’t going to make or break your business plan much.

What are some of the challenges you’ve had as an independent artist?

The challenges are standard for any entrepreneur: building momentum, believing in yourself and keeping yourself relevant long enough to blast off. All outside static can be silenced. Overcoming yourself is the most pertinent practice. Invest in what you need in order to develop your most valuable player, YOU.

Being that you are an artist and entrepreneur what words of advice would you give to people that want to pursue music or start a business?

People are going to think you are crazy, it’s okay, you are! Most importantly STUDY. Getting your degree is great but by the time you graduate most of that information might not be valid. Continue to ask questions in pursuit of mastery. I am a Life Coach for that very purpose. We get in our own way and many people need direction on how get them on track with what gives them the most power and impact.

Interview by Kymberly Johnson, student in Developing an Arts Venture Plan-Arts Entrepreneurship at Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.

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