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Friday, April 03, 2009

Sumit of The Hip Hop Chronicle Shares His Keys For Success

When you really want something there are no limits to how far you can go if you work hard for it. Few peoople that Conversations LIVE! exemplify that more than Sumit of London. In less than 2 years he has built one of the most talk-about Hip Hop sites in the world, having obtained exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in the business and partnered with MTV and BET along the way.

Sumit and The Hip Hop Chronicle began working with Shadow Play Entertainment, the parent company of Conversations LIVE!, in 2008 with the Hip Hop and Books Literacy campaign. The two organizations are working together again now to promote America's first literary reality show The Write Stuff. In this interview you will find nowhere else, Sumit talks about how the history he is creating all began.

Sumit, thank you for taking out time out of your busy life in the U.K. to talk with Conversations LIVE! Before we get into your support of The Write Stuff reality show, why don't you tell our readers a little about yourself.
Firstly let me thank you for giving me the opportunity.Well I am a 24-year-old music journalist from London. I run a Hip Hop site called The Hip Hop Chronicle UK - http://www.thehiphopchronicle.com/

I started the site simply because it was it was tough getting a job in the industry so I decided to carve out my own, especially after completing a post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism at the UK's top University (for that course). I have a huge passion for Hip Hop and just wanted to provide a platform to showcase positive nature of the genre.

You and I have been working together since 2008 when I began the Hiphop and Books literacy project. The Hip Hop Chronicle has gotten national attention since it began. Are you surprised at how people all around the world have been drawn to it?
Absolutely. It bugs me out that people across the world look at my site. The internet is such a great tool and the possibilities are endless but it still humbles when I meet someone and they say 'oh The Hip Hop Chronicle, yea, I check out your site'. Recently I was at a Birthday party for a friend. Speaking to a few people there, the conversation got onto Hip Hop and blogs. They didn't realise that I run the site and they told me, that they check The Hip Hop Chronicle daily.

Also last month I was in New York City and even people there have heard of my site. For me, that means a lot. I still have a long way to go but have support from people like yourself and all my readers across the world, its amazing because they help make the site.

In such a short time you have gotten exclusive interviews with some of the biggest names in the music industry. To what do you attribute your success?
Well, people say I'm lucky (laughs). You know ...sometimes I get interviews that magazines in the UK may not get and people say, 'oh Sumit, he got lucky' but the truth is, Im doing anything different than other bloggers or online journalists out there. I just work hard. Whether it be putting in long hours or establishing relationships people and companies, its all about the grind.

I started with no contacts, much like many others out there and less than a year later, I've been fortunate enough to interview some of the biggest names in the industry. Its great, its fantastic to have had the opportunity but I need to do much more. I'm just a regular guy from London with a passion for Hip Hop and truth is, anyone with the talent can do this.

Out of all of the interviews and celebrities that you have been privileged to talk with, who has stood out the most to you and why?
Oh...now, that's a tough one. All the interviews I've done, I've always learnt something more about Hip Hop music. Erm....but if you pressed me for one, I would say Russell Simmons, simply because its Russell Simmons! (laughs)

In all seriously though, that for me was a complete honour. I expected to be interviewing Russell years down the line, not in the first year in operation. To be honest I couldn't believe it when I was offered Russell and I have thank Live Nation for that. They have been awesome with me and they gave me a huge opportunity. The interview itself, Russell was brilliant and what was the icing on the cake was he offered to meet me at the Def Comedy Jam event. We did, spoke briefly and got a picture taken.

Now, Cyrus if you were to ask me my favourite interviews, there's a few (laughs). The interview I did with Chuck D, I learnt a tremendous amount. Firstly, he had to personally approve the interview. So he looked my site and decided whether it was worth doing. Thankfully he saw the potential and we knocked a dope interview. He put me on the spot, tested me and we spoke for a while after the interview.

Other interviews ... My interview with Bumpy Knuckles was eventful. Again he tested me too and broke the ice and we knocked a good interview. Estelle, wow she's so down to earth, it was almost like I was talking to a friend, I definitely enjoyed that interview. We did that interview a day before the MOBO awards and I told Estelle I'll be on the red carpet and told her to remember me. The next evening, she did and its great to see Estelle have the year that she has had, because honestly, she deserves. And....of course my interview with the legend that is Elliott Wilson was a banger. I saw that interview though as more of a personal achievement. For many years I have been picking Elliott's magazines and to have him agree to do an interview and give me great advise and feedback on the site, its stuff like that motivates. I mean the haters will always motivate me but having people like Elliott and my readers giving me constructive feedback, I cant ask for more.

With that being said, who haven't you been able to talk with that you would like to?
(Laughs), I've got a long list Cyrus (laughs), I call it the 'hitlist'. In terms of artists, names that roll off the tongue are KRS-One, Rakim, a sit down with Nas and with Kanye, Eminem, 50 Cent, Dr Dre, DJ Premier, Beyonce, Diddy and Snoop. I think a career high right now would be an interview with Jay-Z. I do hear that he isnt a huge fan of internet outlets (and I don't blame him) but that would be a massive coup for me (as a independent blogger/journalist) to sit down and speak to Jay, I think I could retire after that (laughs).

Hip Hop Chronicle is not just gaining you attention in the U. K. but you have partnered with music television stations in the United States as well. How did those relationships begin, and what do you hope comes from them?
I've said many times before but its a roller-coaster ride. My sister site Hip Hossip.com in Canada had a contact at BET. Kemi over at HipHossip.com made them aware of my site and they reached and we decided to be each other's blogs and I would send them stories and vice versa. Its fantastic to have a television station like BET who place me on their blogs and quote my site as the UK's Leading Hip Hop Site. They have been so kind to me and to invited to the BET Hip Hop Awards to watch the show surprised me, no many outlets get the opportunity to do that and thankful to BET for all their support.

With MTV, they have a blog called 'MTV Buzzworthy' and the Senior Editor over at MTV.com reached out and told me they like my site. And the relationship was established then. Now they pick up my stories and I do likewise.

To have BET and MTV acknowledge the work I have done is humbling, its shows that I'm on the right track and I'm not there yet but their support gives me confidence that I'm on the right track. MTV have invited to a few events of theirs, most notably the Concert For Veterans.

What I hope is that we continue to build on the existing relationship and continue to learn from the fine journalists they both have. Its brilliant to have the support from the States. I hope that magazines and stations in my own country can see what MTV and BET have.

Congrats on all of your success, Sumit. Your hard work has really paid off. If our readers want to find out more information about you and the work you are doing, how can they find you online?
Be sure to check the site which and the url for that is - http://www.thehiphopchronicle.com/
You can follow me on twitter - http://twitter.com/hiphopchronicle

I want like to take this time to thank you Cyrus for giving me this opportunity. I also would like to thank your readers for viewing this interview and big respect to my fellow bloggers and all the readers of The Hip Hop Chronicle UK. Without the readers, The Hip Hop Chronicle UK wouldn't lasted a day. So I owe it to them.

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