Women in Vinyl Logo

Saidah Blount

Executive Director, BRIC

Meet Saidah Blount, New York City based marketing and cultural strategist. She has recently been appointed as the Executive Director of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!, NYC's longest-running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals.  With two decades of experience as an innovative leader, she’s helped to establish and develop platforms for a number of global brands, as well as led and Executive Produced all original programming for Sonos Radio. Saidah won a Webby for Best Music Podcast (“The Almanac of Rap”) in 2023, and is a music and vinyl nerd through and through. 

When she's not working she's reading, collecting records, and handbags and hanging out with friends. "...I'm a voracious reader. I have a killer handbag collection, and I have zero shame about the hunt, lol! I like going to movies, and I love (short!) road trips with friends because duh, you get to listen to music along the way".

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

Music has been the constant of my life. From dancing around the living room and listening to ABBA on vinyl with my mother to going to concerts with friends, I've literally soundtracked my whole time on this planet via music. So I think it was a bit destined that I would get a job working alongside of the industry. I moved to NYC for grad school, but discovered that the Big Apple is a 24/7 live music machine, so once I finished my day of studies, I would head out to concert venues and clubs to check out the music scene. During that process, I discovered that I was absolutely burned out in academia and decided to hitch my wagon to the music industry.

What is a day in the life like?

Well, I'm a newbie here at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! so a lot of my day is taking meetings with festival producers, vendors, our marketing and promotions teams and potential partners. I field a lot of emails pitching artists from promoters and publicists, and I'm on a lot of video calls as our organization works hybrid. But so far, I'm so happy because at the end of each work day, I feel like I've gotten something accomplished that's going to benefit the greater Brooklyn cultural community and its residents. Weekends are very mellow for me, I typically run a couple of errands then hole up with a good book, some music, and maybe binge-watch a little TV.

In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you've worked on?

I think most recently, helping to create the Sonos Radio platform. I created and executive produced around 15 bespoke radio shows/podcasts, as well as helped to conceptualize the marketing and branding for each show as well as a number of the custom streaming radio stations. Getting to flex my love of radio (yes, I was a college radio kid!) while helping artists I admire (like Erykah Badu, Thom Yorke, and D'Angelo) build custom stations was a nerdy dream come true!

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

Probably having my music knowledge as well as my general intelligence questioned, and sometimes in not so nice ways... sometimes I'm the only woman (and most of the time the only Black woman) in many rooms, so I'll get a lot of surprised looks and soft arguments for no reason. It's annoying, but it's slowly getting better as more allies for inclusion are stepping up these days.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you're doing?  

Find a great mentor or look into internships in every facet of the industry you'd lie to be involved in - most of us want to pass down the knowledge that we've learned over the years, and would be happy to teach the young'ins right from wrong, lol!

Absolutely immerse yourself in music and arts culture - it can only help you get a greater understanding for the world around you.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

Yes!  I collect because I grew up with collectors. My parents have a hefty, hefty vinyl collection. Their collection is very jazz-heavy, but they listened to all genres, from classical to rock and my dad even dipped his toes into the genesis of hip-hop vinyl in the very early 80s. As I started working in the music industry, I was lucky to get a lot of promos sent out me, and some publicists remembered that I love vinyl, so I had a pretty nutty collection for a while. But when you live in NYC, moving with vinyl is a serious, serious adventure, so I've probably pared it down to a cool 400ish records. My limit used to be 300 SOLID (one in, one out) but I started buying records online during the pandemic, so it's definitely bulked up in the last 3-4 years.

What types of things are happening in the industry that you're excited or worried about? 

I love that younger people are re-engaging with vinyl and discovering the joy of album artwork! That's how I learned about amazing visual artists and creative directors like Storm Thorgerson, Peter Saville, Vaughan Oliver and Anton Corbijn. Also, I'm glad people are realizing the importance of spending time with the lyric sheets and album notes. It's such a wonderful experience that all music fans should embrace!

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?

There have been so many amazing women, women of color and queer folks that have taken me under their wings and given me the keys to their creative kingdom. These folks introduced me to creatives and influential legends in a prime period of NYC culture - the late '90s and early '00s - in a way that we don't see anymore. I got to attend salons in the homes of amazing artists and musicians from the '70s and the '80s, socialize at media and magazine parties, and network with people that have now taken on amazing jobs at the tops of their field. There's way too many names to name, but I am appreciative of these icons of "othered" communities sharing the knowledge.

Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell us who you're listening to right now: 

I'm listening to a lot more global sounds these days, I've always been a fan of 50s/60s/70s reggae, but I'm also digging a lot of music coming out of Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa (Amapiano is the truth!). I'm getting back into '80s and '90s ambient music icons, too.

Find Saidah

We hope you enjoyed this content! If so inclined please donate so we can continue bringing you more like this. There is no amount too small.