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Meet Shirley Ju

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shirley Ju.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My first job in music was contributing to True Magazine, where I actually got my first on-camera interview with Ty Dolla $ign. I got my start by interning for DJ City while attending UCLA and began contributing for HotNewHipHop. I penned news stories, album reviews, lists, etc. I then started as an Editorial Intern at HipHopDX and would go on to freelance for the company, run their music section, contribute to social media, etc. I was promoted to Editor-At-Large where I was able to contribute in all different facets of the publication.

I was also serving tables for nine years and attending school throughout my entire journey. I worked at Joyrich on Melrose and went on to become a Copywriter for Young & Reckless. Around the same time, I started at Power 106 where I am now. This year, I was promoted to Digital Content Producer/Artist Relations. I also booked talent for All Def Digital and worked with different managers and publicists on the management side of things.

I am also freelance writer and contribute to LA Weekly, Variety, Okayplayer, Audiomack, The Hundreds, AllHipHop, etc. Past bylines include, Complex, Nylon Mag, Rolling Stone, etc. I also have my own series on Young California to cover both Cali + non-Cali artists. I also help King Ice + Shoe Palace w/ marketing.
While at DX, I was given my own column  called the #FOMOblog, which covered all the dope events in Los Angeles. My actual feelings of #FOMO (fear of missing out) was translated into a blog where I could write about my experiences at various shows, events, red carpets, movies, the list goes on. I have now moved it into its own entity where I am able to post up and coming artists, interviews, movie reviews, and of course, everything that happens in the city of Angels.

Has it been a smooth road?
The journey has been anything but smooth. As a freelancer specifically, the money is never stable. I currently live in a two-bedroom in DTLA with a roomie, & I can barely pay my rent with the money I make at the station. This requires me to work six different side hustles to support myself.

In particular, my journey in music has been an emotional rollercoaster. I am forever grateful for the opportunities given to me, but there are always egos and power struggles — as with any company. My struggle has been finding a home where my potential and value is seen, with the bandwidth to grow my branches and evolve.

In general, I’m very outspoken and speak my mind. I work around the clock 24/7, and truly believe hip-hop does not sleep. This definitely isn’t the outlook of some of my team members, so there are encounters where we may butt heads or not see eye-to-eye. I’ve hit countless rock bottoms where I wanted to abort mission in the music industry altogether, but at the end of the day, my love for music trumps all the bullshit.

Currently to this day, I am trying to find a medium between work/life balance. I tend to choose work over my personal life, which has only added fuel to my own struggles with addiction, depression, anxiety, etc. I am also diagnosed bipolar so I’ve had a mid-life crisis my entire 20’s (I’m 28 now). Regardless, music keeps me sane. But I’m definitely still not where I want to be.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My has allowed me to cover a wide range of events, shows, red carpets, art shows, movie screenings, workout classes (the list goes on). I would say I have a reputation of going to most events that happen in Los Angeles, something I have yet to capitalize on. Any time I would see someone out, they’d say “you’re everywhere!” I typically laugh and shrug it off.

What sets me apart is a genuine love and authenticity for people in general. Whether you’re an artist, a manager, a publicist, an intern, or not even in the industry, I believe we all have a duty to one another as humans to hear each other out and give the time of day. I love establishing relationships, even if it’s striking up a conversation with a stranger. I believe there’s so much value in simply listening and connecting with someone with similar interests.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is the hub for literally everything. Music, fashion, movies, fitness, art… everything can be found in LA. I come from the Bay Area (Sunnyvale), where everything is a lot slower. I attended UCLA and decided to stay after I graduated, but it was during college where I experimented with so many different internships. I completed internships at an entertainment firm, a PR firm, even doing human resources at Aflac! It was during college that I fell upon HipHopDX, and that has opened so many doors.

I would definitely recommend anyone who is interested in the music industry to come to Los Angeles. This is where all the artists and labels come, whether it’s studio sessions, tours, events, or simply networking. Sometimes there’s a stigma in LA that it’s hard to make it, it’s hard to survive, it’s hard to make a living while pursuing your creative dreams. But as long as you have a core group of friends and family to support you, you can honestly do anything you set your mind to.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@takeapictureitlastslonger for the main photo

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