Dove Clark is a writer, editor and publicist, and is the founder of Tygereye Entertainment and UrbLife.com. In her 14-year writing career, she has worked with and contributed to AllHipHop.com, Rime Magazine, Elemental, Urban Ink and more. Through her publicity company Tygereye Entertainment, Dove has represented many urban and cross-genre acts in the past decade, including Jim Jones, DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, Needlz, Ron Browz and more.
Karla caught with Dove this week to discuss her beginnings, her goal to be the Martha Stewart of Hip Hop, and what’s up next for TygerEye Entertainment. Check it out!
KwaK: ‘I’m ready to be the Martha Stewart of Hip Hop… check for me in 20 years and you’ll see what I mean. I was built for this.’ — HA! Wise words from tough cookie! What exactly will the Martha Stewart of of HipHop have cheffin up within the next year or so that we should be looking out for ?
Dove: Ha! I really do have that goal in mind. Martha is someone I respect on so many levels. 2014 should be interesting. In December of 2012, I took on a position as New Business Development Manager for Flat Fitty, a luxury headwear manufacturer. They met me initially through a business transaction in early 2012, and after a few months of staying in touch, offered me a position. I am learning a lot in the apparel / accessory business, and I am able to work with all of my entertainment contacts in this position. I had some previous retail experience, and also worked as a Major Accounts Manager for Tommy Bahama corporate, but being able to meld my worlds together is like a dream job to me.
I am still working with DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, and he’s got a lot rolling with Da Mafia 6ix and other projects this year. I also have plans to relaunch my Gen-X lifestyle site UrbLife.com, which I put on hiatus when I took this job with Flat Fitty. I only hope I can learn to juggle responsibilities as fruitfully as Martha Stewart. She is going into her golden years as a super champion of all things lifestyle. I want to do that for Hip Hop, and I know there are a few others in our community who feel the same. I hope there are a few Hip Hop Marthas in our future. There is room!
KwaK: You mention on your blog how tough it was to learn that not everyone will share your vision. Was there one occasion where this stuck out in particular, where you realized, “Hey, I really gotta just go with my gut and trust myself!”?
Dove: Yes, I have had a few moments like that, however the time that stands out to me most is when I made the choice to move from the Pacific NW to New York. I was 36 years old at the time, and although I did have my supporters, I think the majority of my peers thought I was nuts for uprooting to start a whole new life and career.
Looking back, I realize it was a huge risk, but at the time I was at a point where I just didn’t have a plan B anymore. I had worked in Corporate America for many years, but I found the most pleasure in writing and helping artists. Since I came from a background filled with performance and music, I just realized it was my calling to be a part of it forever – even if it was behind the scenes.
The process was quick. I came to NYC to visit a friend, just to “look around”, and ended up finding a spot one block over from her place. There was a room for rent, nice roommates, and they asked if I could come back in two months to meet the landlord. I did just that. Flew in on a Friday and back out on a Sunday with a signed agreement. Went in to work, turned in my resignation letter. Went home, turned in my moving notice. I sold and threw out most of my belongings, packed up a few boxes to ship, and filled my car up with what was left. I drove across the country by myself for five days, sold my car to my sister in Virginia, and she dropped me off in NYC. By the time I paid my way across and my first month’s rent, I had $150 left in my pocket. No formal job that could pay the bills, no real prospects for clients.
Nearly 10 years later, I am proud to say I’ve survived NYC, working from my home office. Of course there are a ton of stories – highs and lows – that fill in the space there, but the big leap of faith in myself paid off for me.
KwaK: On that note- what would you LOVE to see yourself involved in?
Dove: I have a few side interests, but I have had such little time that I mostly donate money to causes I believe in, to help those who do have time. I would love to do more public speaking, panels, etc. to speak to artists and industry up-and-comers about how they can help themselves in this ever-changing scene. My life goals include creating outlets to help young women build self esteem. I have some friends now who donate a lot of time working with troubled youth, and I admire them so much for what they do.
KwaK: Beautiful. The world can always use another strong woman leader, one who influences the upcoming generation of strong leaders. I’m always touched and excited to speak to individuals with similar passions. What was your very first job in the industry? What was the most valuable lesson you learned from that experience?
Dove: Wow… I think I had industry-like jobs for many years before being considered “industry”. I helped some local record labels in Seattle, choreographed for some groups, threw some parties… I dabbled whenever I got a notion to, but didn’t take it too seriously as a career. When Davey D, RapSheet, Chuck D’s RapStation.com, RIME Magazine, Elemental Magazine and AllHipHop.com all gave me the opportunity to write for them between 2000-2002, I realized that this was my new thing. There was little to no pay, but it was the most rewarding thing I had ever done aside from killing it on the dance floor.
I started Tygereye Entertainment in February 2003 with no publicity experience, but it turned out I was kind of a natural for it. After helping some folks as much as I could, my first official publicity check was from Tajai of Hieroglyphics, and it was Carmelita Sanchez from The Wakeup Show who referred me to work with Rock Steady Crew in 2003. That set me on the path to changing my life.
So the combination of writing and starting Tygereye was like one big ball of a first job as an “industry” person. It took me four years of working 16 hour days, eating ramen noodles and crying tears of self doubt before I finally realized I was in this for life.
KwaK: Incredible. Completely well deserved success, sister! With such a rich resume thus far, what would you say was your most memorable project. What makes this ONE experience truly special?
Dove: Jeez… so many memories. On the writing side, working with AllHipHop.com from 2001-2008 was a huge part of my life. We had the best editorial team, creative minds with a lot of vision. I witnessed the dream of two men grow to be a world-recognized brand, in the face of sooooo many people who thought the internet would never, ever be big. Print mags used to call internet writers “hacks” and were sparing on handing out gigs to us, and now some of those very same print guys are big shit on the internet years later. That whole experience is something that no one can take away from me or any of our team at the time. We made history.
KwaK: Have you ever had to deal with haters or critics? How do you deal with people who don’t see your vision or are just not ‘fans’ of what you do?
Dove: I imagine I have haters, but I really don’t see them. Or at least don’t see the hate because they are too puss to just let me know they don’t like me. Not that I care though, I have some fantastic relationships inside and outside of this business, and they would never let me succumb to small minded people. When I left AHH, I got dropped off by some industry types like a dirty ho at the bus stop, but I reveled shaking off the dead weight. I went on to work with DJ Whoo Kid on his website, launched UrbLife.com. I kept the people who left my life at bay for five years. Since I landed at Flat Fitty, some of those people are coming back around smiling in my face. Bless their hearts.
KwaK: If there were one thing you could say to young female entrepreneurs today, what would it be?
Dove: I would say to young ladies, please never use your femininity as an excuse for anything. Make decisions, and make them with conviction. There is nothing worse than people who just let life happen to them, then blame others for their troubles. Making passive decisions is just as bad. Stand up for what you believe in, and trust your instincts. Don’t sleep around in this business (or any business). People talk, and you don’t want to be ‘that girl”. Be about your money, and simultaneously, do good business and maintain relationships in a way that will keep you resting easy at night.
KwaK: That’s the best advice I’ve heard in a while. Women shouldn’t objectify themselves, thinking that throwing their sexuality around will boost their careers. Do they truly want the lack of respect that is attached to that stigma? Ok. One more slightly different but important question. What was the ONE most impactful moment in your career? Was it good or bad? How has changed you?
Dove: These questions are tough! When we are talking impact, I think that when my boss at Tommy Bahama told me that I could adjust my work schedule in order to pursue my dreams, that made a huge difference for me. I have always been a night owl, so early morning work hours and long commutes often ended in me being late a lot. Bosses don’t like that, even though I’d be the person to stay as late as needed, work weekends, pull overtime, etc. consistently. So the Tommy Bahama team knew I wasn’t going to be there forever, and just flat out said, if you can keep up with your quality of work, we will be flexible with you on your morning arrival times. This simple gesture took an enormous amount of pressure off of me, and allowed me to shine even brighter in everything I was doing.
KwaK: I think I love you! Thanks so much for taking the time out to share your story. What is the Martha Stewart currently working on? I’m sure the KWAK fam is now as eager as I am to follow you through the rest of your journey.
Dove: Right now at Flat Fitty we are gearing up for the big trade shows, namely MAGIC / Project MVMT in Vegas in February. We also have SXSW coming up in March, so looking forward to see the direction we take there. Da Mafia 6ix is gearing up for their official album release in March, and DJ Paul will be out at SXSW also. The group received tremendous accolades for the 6ix Commandment mixtape we released in November, so the future is looking bright! I have some other things in the works, and will announce as they happen on my socials.
KwaK: Please tell our readers where they can find out more about you. Social Media and/or Website.
Dove: My socials are pretty easy. I’m FlyLikeDove on all – Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. . I will be rebooting UrbLife.com in the near future, but there are some timeless articles on there that I think most people will enjoy reading. And if you have the guts for it, you can challenge me on Words With Friends anytime… also FlyLikeDove.
Kwak: Bet. It’s on … 😉