Pay Kolmüs

Dutch music industry professional Pay Kolmüs has been interviewing hip-hop musicians for over a decade. From interviewing Nas, Rakim to Montell Jordan, Pay has paved her way into the music industry as a self-made boss lady and now runs her own artist consultant company.

We chat to Pay about why she thinks using the term ‘female’ in the music industry is a derogatory term, her advice for women wanting to enter the industry, and why she always wanted to interview Prince. 

How did you get started in the music industry?

My dad is a musician so I have always been around music. I played instruments when I was younger. Though I didn’t pursue being an artist myself, I started doing radio by telling this DJ who I knew from around the way, that he needed to have me as part of his radio talk show. I was part of the show for a few years, during that time I noticed that the station didn’t have an “old school” show, so I said they needed one. They told me to present a concept, I did and got my own show. I started doing interviews with artists for the show and that’s when others started asking me to do interviews for their media outlets. I guess that’s how I “rolled” into the music industry.

What was your most memorable interview?

That’s a tough question, I have done so many interviews, with so many different artists. I can’t just mention one memorable one. One that I definitely cherish and was completely different from any I have done, is with Charlie Murphy, though not a musical artist, very memorable. Rakim was definitely memorable as he rarely gives out interviews and doesn’t travel much, let alone coming to Europe because he doesn’t fly. So that was great. Ice Cube is memorable to me because I hustled so hard to get that interview, as I had no hook-ups whatsoever, to get to him. I still got the interview, after figuring out how to get to him. Nas was interesting for several reasons. Montell Jordan was amazing. Like I said, almost every interview I have done has a memorable moment. My interviews are never just “an interview,” there’s always something happening that makes it weird and interesting, thus memorable. One of the greatest interviews I have done is the one with Rob Stone, the founder of The Fader/Cornerstone, unfortunately, it was not recorded as it was a live-on-stage interview.

What’re your thoughts on using the term female in the music industry?

You mean “women.” Females is such a derogatory word when referring to women. Especially in a male-dominated industry, such as hip-hop, I refrain from using those type of terms.

What advice would you give women wanting to enter the industry?

As cliché as it may sound, just follow your passion. If this is what you love to do, no matter what aspect of the industry it may be (journalist, manager, promoter, artist, etc), stick to it. Stay true to yourself, always treat others with respect, and above all, remain professional, no matter what. It’s easy to get carried away with the “Hollywood environment” or get slandered and gossiped about as a woman, but when you always stay humble, respectful and professional, those who respect that and appreciate that, will always have a good rapport with you. That’s how you build good credit and a reliable name in the industry.

Have you had any awkward encounters since being in the industry?

So, very many. I have been in this industry for almost 20 years now (19 to be exact). From bloopers and honest mistakes to awkward encounters with artists who don’t respect you for your profession, but also having to deal with a lot of negative gossip, which leads to difficult situations. It takes experience to learn how to deal with those things.

Who would you like to interview if you could?

Alive: Dr. Dre. He has always been one of my bucket list people to meet. Ever since NWA and him going solo, I have had such a fascination for him and his work. I take to producers more than to artists, probably because of my dad being a musician and knowing the art of creating music, songs. There are a lot more folks I would like to interview, such as Russell Simmons, for his business mind and so on.

Dead: Prince. He was on top of my “people to meet” list. How I would have loved to pick his complicated but genius musician brain. I am still upset that I will never get the chance to do so. I will comfort myself, knowing I have seen him live in concert and got the chance to see him perform up close at an intimate setting at one of his known but very private after parties.

You can catch Pay’s interviews aired on The Pharcyde TV channel every Monday and Wednesday 8pm.


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