By Tamara Palmer
21-year-old multimedia artist Kreayshawn (Natassia Zolot) announced today that she’s signed a recording contract with Columbia Records, part of Sony Music Entertainment. The deal means the East Oakland-raised artist, who has a surprise viral video hit over the past few weeks with her rap song “Gucci Gucci,” will now be label mates with such stars as Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, AC/DC, and Adele. Previous rumors suggested she would land at Sony proper for a one million dollar deal were not entirely correct; Kreayshawn is not commenting on the specific terms of her contract.
Columbia will release “Gucci Gucci” as an official single on June 14 and will release her debut album later in 2011. The label will also be a place where Kreayshawn’s video directing skills, honed on the Bay Area streets for rap artists such as Lil B, can flourish.
“My passion is just being creative in general,” she says via phone from Los Angeles, her current home. “I’ve been making music and doing video since I was nine-years-old. It wasn’t like one came before the other and one got me into the other, it’s a joint process.”
The path to signing a recording contract so seemingly quickly was not as haphazard or random as it might appear for Kreayshawn, who started having conversations with record labels after the video for her song “Bumpin Bumpin,” an electro-flavored track that name-checks several San Francisco nightclubs, exceeded 150,000 views in under five months after being posted last August.
“My manager has already had artists who’ve signed before so he already had previous relationships with the people we met up with,” she reveals. “He already knew what everyone was about so we definitely knew what we were getting ourselves into and we got a good deal. We have a great lawyer and a great manager so we got a lot of creative control in the process. A lot of what was said was just about being all-around creative and I think that’s why [the label is] excited because they know it’s going to be an endless thing.”
When rumors of a million dollar contract surfaced on May 31, Kreayshawn got an avalanche of people hitting her up for money. Seemingly savvy on the music industry already, she understands that, whatever the terms of her deal, she has to be really smart about money from here on out.
“You don’t even get half of it right away and then you got all these things to pay off and then you gotta upgrade your whole lifestyle yourself,” she explains, conscious of how much risk is ahead. “You never know, I could be calling you back for some money, like, ‘Remember that interview we did? Can I get a job?’”
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