Stop Everything and Read Hip-Hop Journalist Kathy Iandoli’s Advice on Dreaming Big

This interview is a part of our Live Your Dreams Stars series where we feature awesome young women who are changing the world one amazing dream at a time. LYD!

Meet Kathy Iandoli. She is a hip-hop journalist from New York who has a passion for writing and hip-hop culture. When she isn’t interviewing artists and celebrities, she teaches at New York University. For Kathy, her dream came true when she got to put together the two things she loves most, writing and music.

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What made you realize you wanted to be a hip-hop journalist?

The two worlds kind of came together because I was working in hip hop, but not in the journalism side. I was also writing, but not about music. It was about 15 years ago that I sort of came to the conclusion that my favorite part about hip hop was the fact that it was a culture and an art form that was rooted in storytelling. And for someone like myself who loved to tell stories, it was a natural transition to want to tell the stories of the artists who were contributing to the art form. I really wanted to be one of the people to document the evolution of hip hop. I came in to the music industry at a time where everything was kind of crazy. There were so many different changes happening, artists were having to adapt; and then hip hop in particular was going through this crazy shift. Over the years I worked in various parts of the music industry and came to realize that the thing I wanted to do most was tell this story as it unfolded. And that’s what initially got me started.

Was it difficult to get started?

It wasn’t difficult to get started as much as it was difficult to be successful. To pursue it full time, that was difficult.


How do you balance being a professor and a journalist?

I got my Masters at NYU. The thing that’s really cool at NYU is that professors have to have that field experience, you have to constantly be learning and experiencing things. So, anything that I do as a journalist ultimately becomes fodder for my classes. It is not necessarily an even balance, it is just taking my own life experiences and career experiences and being able to apply them to my students. [In terms of time management], when you’re a writer, there is no downtime. You’re always taking in things. I make a lot of task lists and understand that we really do only have twenty four hours in a day, sometimes things have to wait until tomorrow. There is no balance when you’re constantly in a creative mindset.

Do you have a mentor or someone who inspires you?

I’ve had a few mentors throughout my career. They always gave me such good insight. Outside of actually journalists, my mother has always pushed me forward. Being a woman in this industry is difficult. But my mother always let me figure things out for myself to determine where my ambitions will take me. She’s never put pressure on me to conform.

What are your plans for the future?

On a career level, I definitely want to pursue my job at NYU a little more aggressively. Get some books out there, you know, continue my writing. I feel like it’s a clogged market with a lot of people having opinions but not really doing anything about those opinions. I just think its time to take it to the next level, televisions, podcasts, whatever it may be.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young writers?

Understand what you actually want to do. Especially in the field of music writing, so many people tend to say they want to be a writer but in reality they want to be on video or they want to be a celebrity blogger and get free stuff. If you truly love to write, then you’re a writer. If you don’t, and you just love the flashiest parts of it, then you don’t want to be a writer. Take it from me, I pursued my career while working three jobs and getting my Masters. You have to really really love it to want it.

What do you wish you knew when you had started out?

I wish I knew to be more demanding because when I first started out, I didn’t chase the bigger publications immediately, and I wish I did that.

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