Press Lives Matter: Quinelle Holder of Medium PR Interview
Written by Greg Harris
In another edition of Press Lives Matters, a spotlight interview series that focus on the power players behind the scenes in different industries, they has been another individual who’s making a splash on our pages with their diligent service. As we covered the lives of Amarie Gipson of Mud Magazine and 713Bran at 713 Magazine, we stumbled upon the storied life of Quinelle Holder, owner, and co-founder of Medium PR.
Long before Quinelle and his wife Sabrina made their way into starting their own business, Holder found himself learning, applying, and adjusting into the music industry with internships with The Fader/Cornerstone Agency and growing into being the Content Manager of Hip Hop since 1987. These experience along with others have molded “Coach Q” to be one of this era’s pivotal tastemakers in his respective industry.
The decorated jack of all trades cleared his busy schedule to talk about his journey in his career, finding the perfect business partner in his wife, the archives of artists he’s worked with, and more.
Check out the interview below.
How’s Your Modern Life?
Blessed and highly favored.
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up in the morning?
Pray, kiss my wife and check my email.
Coming from the DMV area, how was your upbringing?
I was actually raised in Southern Virginia, the 757 (Hampton, Newport News, VA Beach, Norfolk etc.) to be exact. I moved to the D(M)V when my wife got hired at Sirius XM. My upbringing was typical. My twin sister, little brother, and I grew up pretty normal. I was always a dreamer though. I knew I wasn't going to be "a normie."
I had my first experience dealing with the entertainment industry in 2008/2009, right after I graduated high school, by working with local Virginia based clothing lines to help them receive product placements on buzzing entertainers.
Coming up in the area, what were some things that you were inspired by that influenced your career today?
My biggest inspirations growing up in the 757 were Allen Iverson, Pharrell, Jay Pharoah. I was really into basketball as a kid, but I put down the rock in my early teens so I could start working and making money. Listening to music and watching comedy were some of my favorite past times, mainly because I could typically gain the interests of the female I was courting with the right combination of the two.
Who were some of your favorite artists you were listening to when you were younger?
N.E.R.D., A Tribe Called Quest, The Diplomats, Lauryn Hill, Roc-A-Fella, Motown, Clipse, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Wale, Lil Wayne, Music Soulchild, and 50 Cent are the first names the come to mind.
Starting with your site, “The Red Tag Society”, how do you think it revolutionized the music and culture scene in the DMV?
I don't think it revolutionized the music and culture of the area, but it did give artists who normally got overlooked a unique platform. The site did more for my personal image, brand, and growth more than anything. I mastered web development, presentation, and the art of finesse during that time frame.
In the process of growing your brand, your wife Sabrina played a pivotal role in getting these interviews done and capturing the culture in its essence. How do you guys meet and what do you think makes her the perfect business partner?
My wife and I met at a Tabi Bonney concert in Richmond lol Tabi is also the name of our miniature schnauzer. Simply put my wife is the perfect business partner, because she's my life partner. We are best-friends and shared a vision long before we became romantic. The sacrifices she made for us on a personal and business tip are still unbelievable to this day lol
Coming off the legs of doing Red Tag Society, you landed on working with Hip Hop since 1987, a pivotal site in the music industry. How was your experience there and how did it help you grow in your career?
Brandon and HHS1987 gave me a real voice on the internet. It' one of the reasons that when I moved to the DMV people respected my so much. They knew the brand and to them - I was the face!
Aside from working with them, you also worked with The Fader/Cornerstone Agency in your earlier years as well. What did you learn from them that has molded your business savviness today?
That's where I did my first and last internship per say. I loved every minute. My biggest takeaways under them were learning the importance of grass roots marketing, why your network truly is your network and never take no for an answer.
I believe that was in 2013. Around that time was tapped by A3C festival to highlight stand-out musicians as a day-to-day blogger for their website and was deemed a Hip-Hop Tastemaker by Vibe (magazine). This and 2014, in which I held the positions of Lead Lifestyle Writer for SoJones.com, Editorial Assistant at KarenCivil.com and was promoted to Content Manager at HipHopSince1987, was definitely a defining year for me.
Coming off of many years of hard work, you and your wife decided to leap into public relations business with your brand, Medium PR. What influenced you and Sabrina to create Medium?
I was already a freelance publicist, so making the jump to starting my own company wasn't as outgoing as it sounds. Ironically, my wife was the person who really pushed me to put the company on paper and start looking at the bigger picture. At the beginning of 2017, I stopped tour managing Desiigner and she quit her job at Sirius XM so we could put all our focus on the agency.
Over the short amount of time we've been active we've had the pleasure of working directly or indirectly with rising acts like Jay IDK, BIA, Kembe X, Choo Jackson, Clay James, Beau Young Prince, Kur, G4SHI and Mannywellz as well as more established acts like Kelly Rowland, Lupe Fiasco, Pusha T, OG Maco, Gucci Mane, Sy Ari Da Kid, Wale, Fat Trel, Jahlil Beats and of course Desiigner.
How do you think Medium is going to be one of the tastemakers in revolutionizing modern day music?
Ultimately our approach PR and the industry, in general, is just different. A lot of companies do a lot of cookie cutter plans and roll-outs without really figuring out an artists specifics needs (all across the board) in order to help them reach their goals.
That's literally why we call it Medium. We are the difference between where you are and where you want to be.
Living in a time where the record label budgets aren’t as big as they used to be, the music industry is dependent on the success of streaming, and ultimately having to restructure the modern plan of releasing successful projects, how do you try to break barriers with each client/project you work on with Medium?
Great question! Labels, A&R's, managers and artist reach out to us all the time to help out with projects - but why us over more established or reputable companies? In a short, we understand how important the right combination of buzz, numbers and a solid narrative is to making, breaking and sustaining an artist's career. Every artist has to have a one of a kind success strategy, but all of their needs fall under the categories of preparation, presentation, and persistence.
Being a man who’s a jack of all trades, what are three things you enjoy doing the most in the music industry and why?
1. Finding and securing new contacts.
2. Working on projects with people I looked up to in the past.
3. Allowing artists to take charge of their music careers and be able to provide for their families while pursuing their dreams. This is most important to me.
Who are three individuals who inspire you to go harder each day?
1. Coach K (of Quality Control)
2. Jay Z
3. Steven Victor
What are three things you want to accomplish this year?
1. Successful plan and execute Medium PR Agency's pre-launch party for our DC office (which is our first office space).
2. Extend the agency to in-house booking and music distribution capabilities.
3. Become consistent with updating my personal Instagram and Facebook lol I'm the worst
How do you want to be remembered when it’s all said and done?
I want to be remembered as a God fearing husband to my wife Sabrina; A loving son and brother my family; And a highly respected contributor/participant to the culture I love so dearly, Hip-Hop.