If you are trying to make your way in the world of journalism with little to no experience, it may be a long, tough road ahead of you. It may be even tougher if you are assigned an entertainment or music section every week or every month and you simply do not know how to get in touch with the famous people you are supposed to interview. If you are currently stuck on column assignments involving hip hop artists, here are a few tips that will help you get interviews with hip hop artists and help you make some meaningful connections to get to the next interview more easily.
Talk to the Hip Hop Artist's "People"
In show business, the phrase "get my people to talk to your people" generally means that those who represent the famous (i.e., talent agents) will talk to each other to set up interviews, lunches, etc. You do not have "people" of your own, but you can certainly talk to the agents that handle hip hop talents. If your boss does not expect a specific story about this or that musician, then you may be able to talk to a talent agent who represents numerous hip hop stars and arrange for whatever interviews you can get, leaving you with plenty of notes to write articles for a couple of weeks or a couple of months. If you have to write about a specific musician, you are going to have to go directly to the talent agent that represents that musician and persistently ask for an interview.
Get a Backstage Pass and Do a Post- or Pre-Show Interview
If you can get your boss to spring for concert tickets and a backstage pass, you can do a pre- or post-show interview with hip hop artists when they come into town to perform. Most of these artists will not mind giving you a quick ten minutes of their time as they wind up for their shows or wind down and begin the backstage party later. Just be careful not to act like crazed paparazzi or you could get booted out, regardless of your backstage pass access.
Talk to Their Record Label Company
Hip hop artists sign with record label companies, just like any other musician. If cannot get an interview via the talent agent or the backstage pass approach, try going to the artist's record label company. Be sure you know who you want to speak to, the music you want to talk about, and your personal (and positive!) take on the music you want to discuss with the artist in question. The record label may be willing to help by providing a time and date when the artist may be in the recording studio next and -- for a price -- give you a few minutes to interview the artist.