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Fit for a Prince

POWER PLAYERS: Kiran Sharma and Jasmine

I RECENTLY caught up with a very understated lady who I think should be brought to your attention.

Her name is Kiran Sharma and she is one of the movers and shakers that make the music industry run at a higher level. She has worked on all manner of huge music events and books artists for spectacular private parties through her company, KIKIT.

Oh, and she is also the manager of Prince. Yes, you read correctly. The legend that is Prince Rogers Nelson; the US singer, songwriter, musician, and actor who has produced 10 platinum albums and 30 top 40 singles during his career.

Kiran was shaped early on by her days in her birthplace of Luton, which was, as she describes it, "a bit rough and tough".

At the age of nine, the family moved to Norwich, which she recalls as being completely different.

“At that time, the ethnic minority population in Norwich made up a tiny percentage and there was hardly anyone to relate to. I was the only Indian kid in my school and got bullied for a couple of years.”

Still, she fought, toughened up and grew to be a bit of a tomboy, whilst also learning to adapt to all societies and circumstances.

Due to her typical Indian background, all of her education was focused on ‘serious’ subjects; nothing artistically-driven, as she was expected to get a corporate job.

So she did an engineering degree majoring in marketing “to please everyone” although she wanted to do art. She initially worked in a very corporate environment and enjoyed it, but decided it wasn't really for her. So she went through all the career stages as fast as possible, starting as a marketing assistant for a small magazine, to account director for an international marketing agency, and ticked all the boxes for her parents and peers so she could move on.

She explored how she could merge her knowledge of business with her love of music and arts. She wanted to work with established artists but had no expectations.

She helped out a new, unsigned American singer, managed a few events, put together the tours and generally worked crazy hard to build her experience and reputation. Thus came her early connections with acts like Maceo Parker, Annie Lennox, Leon Ware, Mint Condition and Prince.


PASSION FOR FASHION: (l-r) Claudia Schiffer, Kiran and Prince at Paris Fashion Week 2010

Of course I had to ask Kiran why she thinks Prince gravitated towards her in a business capacity.
“Well, you would have to ask him that,” she saide, before explaining that she first met the Purple Rain hitmaker when she booked him for a London event but they didn’t talk!

“I had bumped into him a few times backstage at Maceo Parker shows but it was our common friend, keyboard player Morris Hayes, who finally introduced us.”

TV companies and magazines really should be focusing more on characters like Kiran: features about how a small town girl grew up to manage one of the biggest names in the world, and how she was able to earn the respect of her male peers.

“Everyone has this perception that successful women are hard-nosed. I realised that just being myself worked for me.”

Kiran also believes that her ethnicity has aided her career and life values.

“My background means I understand the idea of total respect for all people, and the concept of hard work. My granddad used to say to his four daughters, ‘I can't give you a house or money, but I can give you an education. No one can take that away from you.’

“Close family helps too. If I needed support tomorrow I know my family are there. It makes everything a little less scary.’’

Her hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asian Woman of Achievement Awards 2012, which takes place on May 16 at London’s Park Lane Hilton. Looking to the future, she is launching KIKIT Ventures, which creates investment portfolios for artists. Now that’s business balls with a female chromosome!

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HAVE YOUR SAY - VOTE!


HAVE YOUR SAY: cast your vote at the mayoral elections

IT’S VOTING day, folks! I will certainly be making time today to go and vote at the mayoral elections, to make my voice and existence stand for something.

I have relatives in countries where people die to fight for their vote and voices to be heard, and spend hours queuing to mark their cross on a ballot paper. I don’t take that for granted.

So many people whine about their lives, the government, politicians and their community, yet when it comes to making a stand, they choose not to. It’s simple: if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her at jasmine@hiphop.com

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