Grace Ladoja: "Success is about what contribution you've made to the planet"
Rihanna quizzes the London based music manager, Supreme ambassador and filmmaker about her biggest successes.
Photography Coco Olakunle
This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name’s Grace Ladoja, and I’m from London. I am a music manager, I do a lot of brand consulting, I have an agency called Metallic Inc – we look after a lot of young artists, and we do a lot of brand collaborations – and I’m about to start a record label.
How do you define success?
For me, it’s relative to my purpose. I feel that I have a purpose on the planet, and it’s to put things out there in the culture. It’s nothing to do with how much money I have or whatever. It’s about what contribution you’ve made to the planet.
What would you say was your biggest personal or professional success?
All the work I’m doing in Nigeria. There’s a project called Homecoming, and it really contributes to the creative culture there, and to their economic independence. It’s about making things in Africa that are built by them, for them. To me that’s a huge success.
And your biggest failure?
I don’t really believe in failure. I think everything is part of your journey, and your learning curve. If you’ve put yourself out there and tried something, that's success. If it didn’t work out, it’s a learning experience. I’ve had things go wrong, but those were the moments where I learned the most, so I’m grateful for them. Honestly, it happens 90 per cent of the time!
What are you taking into 2020, and what are you leaving behind?
I’m taking great energy into 2020! I think it’s going to be an amazing year. It’s a new decade, it feels like a turning point. I’m going to make sure I keep contributing to the good of the planet.
Have you met Rihanna?
I met her when she started her brand Fenty in Paris. I went to the opening. I was wearing this jacket – one that has a naked woman on the back – and she just came up to me and said: “You’re really funny.” She’s one of those people who’s just really involved with everything. She knew what I did, she knew what everyone in the room did – she was just really warm and interested. So I felt really excited by that energy. She’s an incredible force.
A lot of people say how personable she is.
She’s really clear on who she is. She’s not trying to be everyone’s friend.
What’s your question for Rihanna?
I’d ask her what triggered that moment when everything became about business? Where she said: “Yeah, I’m a musician, and I’m an artist, but I’m also a businesswoman.” She went from zero to a hundred and I wonder what advice she’d give to young women who want to do the same thing.