In April, I had the pleasure of visiting the Netherlands — and not for what you think. I attended the New Skool Rules conference in Rotterdam, a three-day event connecting global hip-hop and R&B artists with music industry leaders. The event started in 2009 (featuring our own Hillary “Steely D” Crosley as a moderator) and grows every year. In 2011, the gathering hosted over 1,000 guests from 31 countries and speakers like MTV’s Sway, Allhiphop’s Grouchy Greg and Chuck Creekmur as well as London’s Charlie Sloth and Annika Allen of Flavour Magazine.
I chatted with Henca Maduro, the brains behind New Skool Rules, about balancing motherhood while turning Rotterdam into one of Europe’s leading music capitals.
Parlour: What was your inspiration for beginning New Skool Rules?
Henca Maduro: So many talented people don’t grow into semi-professionals so I researched the development process. Networking and business knowledge really improve your chances of success so we created an experience where people can network, gain and share knowledge to do business.
What trends are shaping the future of hip-hop and R&B music globally?
People are looking for international collaborations, whether it’s for producers or writers, talent or agents. The borders are not borders anymore, quality decides whether or not the collaboration happens.
How did you get started in the entertainment and event planning business?
I graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2000, with a Masters in Communication Science. Before that I was a semi-professional tennis player … it’s a long story but I felt there was really only one thing for me and that was to get involved in the music industry. Through Next Millenium, a marketing and promotions company specializing in hip-hop and R&B music, I learned the basics and then I went on to become a radio host, journalist and live event MC.
Who are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to songs made during the New Skool Rules exchange. We selected amazingly talented artists from three different countries and when they started collaborating, beautiful things happened. Phatt (NL), Laise Sanches (NL), Sarah Jane Wijdenbosch, B.A.M.A. , Mila Thompson, 8-OUNZe, H.A.S. and Ebony Love created magic together. (Click here to listen: New Skool Rules Anthem)
Who are the most promising Dutch artists?
Sarah Jane Wijdenbosch, Phatt, Laise Sanches, Winne and Faisel Abarkan.
What are your most memorable New Skool Rules moments?
When we gave someone who had never left his city, let alone his state or his country, the opportunity to travel across the world and perform at New Skool Rules. He didn’t even have a passport, that experience changed his life. Also, realizing that something I came up with made people in 31 different countries come to Rotterdam to participate.
The New Skool audience is diverse but is there a particular market you are targeting next year? Were any countries mis-represented?
Eventually, I want every country in the world represented. I would love to get more people from Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
What do you do when you’re not planning the conference?
First and foremost, I’m a mom, then a girlfriend and a daughter. I love spending time with my family and friends. My mom inspires me, she’s the best mom you could ever wish for.
Any tips you can share with women looking to build an entertainment career?
It’s extremely important to demand respect and deserve respect. This is a hard business and the group of decision makers is small so keep you business and personal life separate.