Angela Kariuki, popularly known to many as Camille Storm, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, music executive and journalist, is bringing East African music to the forefront.
Her story begins when she was 15, obsessed with music, she started writing music reviews; music that she posted on her blog “The Camille Way” in 2011.
Back then, Camille, who studied Computer Science at the university and had a short stint working in IT and market research, had no idea that her passion would turn into a full-time job.
What does it take to put East African music out there? Taking the industry to the next level and starting to compete globally?
Khusoko.com had a sit-down and talked to Angela Kariuki, aka Camille.
She is behind the incredible Camille & Co. and her new distribution service C&C Distro, a record label and boutique creative agency whose goal is to represent groundbreaking African talent, fashion, and art scenes.
She had no idea that her passion would turn into a full-time job. She is creating a space like no other.
Using her connections in the streaming world with platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube Music, she is working to push African music to the world by building a sustainable structure that will benefit these artists in all facets of their careers.
Whether it’s through bylines in publications like The Fader, Boiler Room, and OkayAfrica, the mission has remained the same. Here is what she had to say, and you definitely won’t want to miss any of it!
“Music is the most important thing to me. Music, talent, fashion, and art scenes, all intertwine and when they intertwine, beautiful things happen.”
So even for music and fashion, if it’s all intertwined, I just need to be fashionable and they need to work with other types of artists to bring out the best of their music.”
“In the music world, musicians have to work with a director, a stylist, a graphic designer. So it’s all intertwined. For me, I just felt like as much as I love music, there are so many other talents that could be presented and enabled in Africa to go to the next level.”
Your understanding of the region’s musical landscape combined with the inspiration to form C&C Distro, what are your top three priorities?
I would say right now, or the last couple of months has been creating structures within my company that I didn’t feel like I had before. So, I have been learning how to create systems within the company. Even with the people that I may have hired so that things can be running even when I’m not constantly looking over them. That’s been one of my priorities.
Another priority is making profits. Obviously, I’m always networking, looking for new clients. You know, putting my business out there is creating value.
I want my company, Camille & Co, to be in a position where, you know, they go to consultants for me, not just artists, but for streaming companies, for brands. My plans are just to be one of the most sought after PR companies and consulting companies in East Africa and in Africa.
If anyone wants to venture into music, business, or even if they want to just know a little bit about music, or the entertainment sphere in Africa, they should come to me for consulting.
What do you find as the best form of promotion for your business?
I’m challenging myself to do something that I’ve never done before. Taking risks. When I get results, that in a way is a form of promotion already because the music industry is like word of mouth, people see your results and they’re like, oh, I want to work with her. I want to work with him.
You know, it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re putting up people, you know, they want to trust the person they’re working with.
So if you did a good job for a person, they’re going to go and tell another person that yeah, I worked with her and they brought the results. That is what has been the best promotion for me, just organic.
Do you have a wow moment?
Getting all of my clients featured on platforms like Rolling Stone and The Fader, which are really big, entertainment, publications in the US, are the things that I like.
Working with Rema will always be a top moment for me because I’m also his biggest fan as everyone knows! I’m really passionate about it because I like doing things that other people haven’t been able to do. So those are like wow! Moments for me.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, would you do anything differently and why?
Everything has happened the way it should have… I just want to do the music business. I want to learn everything to do with the music business.
That’s the path that I want to take, whether it is finding a great mentor or going to do a course that is close to something to do with entertainment and music.
I’m learning every day. Especially being an entrepreneur, you’re literally learning from experience.
I believe in myself, in my ability to create. That is what is real. I have to always be in this thought process of, I can achieve great things because I already have.
Breaking boundaries and you’re always trying to up yourself and do things which contribute to that culture and to music.
It’s not for everyone, but I guess that’s why I have to always remind myself, I have the ability to create.
That ability, to make something out of nothing. To do what I’m passionate about and create value in that and make money from that.
What are your top three priorities?
Through Camille & Co. My plans are to be one of the most sought after PR companies and consulting companies in East Africa and in Africa.
If anyone wants to venture into music, business, Africa, or even if they want to just know a little bit about music, the music entertainment sphere in Africa, they should come to me for consulting.
I want my company to be in that position.
Then I have another business, It’s called C&C Distro, a fast and efficient digital music distribution and marketing platform for emerging and established acts in Africa.
My goal is to build a very high value, a high-quality roster of music for the next five years.
What can you say about Kenya’s music industry?
Kenya is really complicated because there’s a lot going on. There are so many different artists, all different kinds of music.
It’s not like Tanzania where they’re in love with their Bongo or Nigerians who are listening to Afrobeats. In Kenya, it is like we embraced everything.
Our artists need to educate themselves more about the music business and start making more educated music. It would make the music scene more competitive and more high-quality stuff being put out.
Unfortunately, right now, a lot of artists, very few really put in the work to try and keep up with what the rest of the continent and the world is doing in music.
Well, by actually building their own capacity, they just need to learn and see how competitive they can be within the same field.
How would you define your personal style? What makes you an incredible lady boss?
I think I love my style right now because I’m going into it. I think my personal style is like wearing a lot of blacks. It makes me feel powerful.
I think it’s a very powerful colour. And when I go to meetings and stuff, wearing all black, I feel like it intimidates people, which is what I want. I love black. I love leather jackets. I love blazers like turtlenecks.
I look sophisticated and powerful and comfortable, but I’m also feminine.
Are you humble?
I think I’m very humbled to a fault. I think for a long time, I never realized the things that I had achieved. So people were looking at me like, oh my God, Camille is so big.
For me, I was like when you’re a visionary, you’re always onto the next thing. You’re never really dwelling so much on, oh, I did this thing. I’ve learned from time to time, just to be easy and tell people, yeah, I did that. Then I go back to work.