Quinelle “Coach Q” Holder is a DMV based music executive, journalist, publicist, and entrepreneur. His bonafides include Sr. Publicist for SONY’s The Orchard (Urban Division),Head of Marketing at Warner Music Group distributed indie label I.M.G., and Music Editor for MissInfo, he’s most notably known for founding ‘Medium Creative Agency’ FKA ‘Medium PR Agency’ in 2015 – with the help of his wife, Sabrina Vaz-Holder. His extensive knowledge of the industry as well as his business savvy were displayed in the widely consumed 5 Jewels To Avoid Getting Screwed. AfroTech also featured Holder in their 10 Black Men Who Found Success Through Digital Platforms feature.
Coach Q currently serves as Audiomack’s #HometownHeroes DMV playlist curator and the Sr. Director of Publicity for Heir Wave Music Group, a Virginia based record label owned by Pusha T. We conversed with Mr. Holder about his career and he gives up some real game.
What’s working at a major like?
Ironically, I’ve never worked at a major. Worked many projects with majors – including SONY, Warner, Def Jam, Virgin, and RCA – as an independent contractor via my entertainment firm Medium Creative Agency (FKA Medium PR Agency) but I never worked directly for a major label in office.
You were involved with a #1 with Desiigner. What was your role and what was that experience like?
My role was lead publicist and road/tour manager. S/O Danny “D-Roc” Collington for bringing me in on the project and connecting me with his manager Zana Ray. That experience was life changing and set the stage for a lot of major accomplishments and opportunities that would come to past years later.
You also work extensively with Hit-Boy. What’s different between working with a producer instead of an artist?
Working with Hit-Boy was super dope. Much love to Nima Nasseri at Roc Nation for allowing me to briefly assist him with publicity. To see him getting the flowers he deserves between his versus battle with Boi-1da, executive production on Nas’ ‘King’s Disease’ LP, and to top of discussion – Big Sean’s ‘Detroit 2.’
What was your original start? Who’s someone that gave you a big break in your career?
My first “real” opportunity in the industry was probably with The FADER via Cornerstone Agency’s FARM Team. So thankful for Joe Cappuccilli and Kevin Hunte for the internship. I got to meet then rising artists like the late Mac Miller and Joey Badass. It was surreal, but I think most people really got acquainted with me once I joined Brandon Wyche’s HipHopSince1987.
Technically Cymandye Russell gave me my first big break. She introduced me to a Virginia based rapper named Young Money Yawn. He was my first real PR client. After that I’d say Candice Nicole, who helped me land some huge interviews – including Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, and Lupe Fiasco.
More recently Joshua Berkman has been someone who has given me the most opportunities as of late. Because of him I’ve been able to work with GASHI, Birdman, Juice Wrld, Nick Cannon, Jacquees, GloKKNine, Dr. Luke, and LunchMoney Lewis – who has a new album coming that is about to shake up the game. Really excited about that.
What’s a characteristic you look for in the artists you work with?
I like artists that believe in their music, have a great story, take directions well, not too cool to promote themselves, and keep their egos in check.
Tell me a story about a famous person that people wouldn’t expect?
I remember being on tour with Desiigner and we had a show in Houston. Lil Wayne kills his performance, comes off stage, and then daps D up. We all looked at him like, bro – you know Wayne? lol He smiles and says nope, never met him a day in my life. It was one of those moments we knew D had really made it.
What’s working with your wife like? Is it hard being a family man in the music industry?
In short, it’s a dream. When you share aspirations with your significant other every accomplishment is that much sweeter. We literally came up together, in every way. It’s easy for me because my partner is in it with me and we’ve been in it together for over 10 years. It’s regular to us at this point lol
What’s the worst drug for an artist to use?
Whatever drug gets them caught or kicked out of the venue/hotel or makes us late for a show lol Outside of that, I don’t care.
What job do you like the most?
Right now, playlist curation. I work exclusively with Audiomack as the curator for their #HometownHeroes: DMV playlist. Working on a few others as well.
Tell us about your history with DMV music and your playlist?
I grew up in the 757 and my wife came up in Fredericksburg. We collectively moved to the DMV area (Silver Spring – Maryland to be exact) when my wife got a job at Sirius XM as a producer. Shortly after that I got hired as the Head of Marketing at Ichor Music Group, which was distributed by Warner Music Group/ADA. Had my own office and everything at like 25 lol It was lit. Have to thank Brian “Bee” Couch, Mason Taylor, and Jay Dixon for the experience. It was during that time I met IDK. He came over to my house and played me the rough version of ‘SubTrap,’ in hopes that I would do PR for it. That day turned in full blown day to day management. The 5 year anniversary of that project was actually last week. To see where he’s at now is mind boggling. Through Medium, I got to work with groundbreaking acts like Mannywellz, Kelow LaTesha, Jae Murphy, Beau Young Prince, YBS Skola, and Who?. Even got to mentor Cordae who at the time was going by Entendre. Hands down the biggest impact we had was through our music education panel ‘#SoYouWantToBeARapper.’ We held it at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in Southeast DC and hosted a panel of industry heavyweights including esteemed Entertainment Lawyer Bob Celestin, Sidney Madden of NPR, Media Maven Kiki Ayers, and Tech Entrepreneur David “Alaska” Bullock
Can Desiigner come back?
Never count anyone out. Especially somebody that talented, wealthy, and still extremely young.