Meet Atafeh Karimi

It’s been a year since Atafeh Karimi started her company doing A&R and management. However, music has been a powerful force in her life for the longest time. Helping artists find their intention through music is what makes Atafeh proud of her career. While the music industry may seem bleak for women, she believes inclusion and empowerment will help nourish the industry.
Top, Pleats Please ; Pants, Vintage
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My morning routine starts with hitting snooze up to three times. After I’m up, it’s straight to my Sonicare, which I’m obsessed with, and then I make coffee. I like Grumpy’s coffee a lot so I get it in bulk. I shower with Dr. Bronners (Eucalyptus) and listen to Pod Save America or a record. I like listening to the news, but sometimes it’s too harsh first thing in the morning so I jam out to something.

on her background and education in sociology

I’ve always been incredibly sensitive and highly observational. I wanted to explore the human condition beyond my emotional, personal experiences and see how those experiences could be translated into more of an academic, universal sensibility. My degree was more of an education in learning how to learn. It opened my mind to the larger picture. We need to remind ourselves to search for commonalities and universals. I think we’d have a much more compassionate world if people pushed themselves to do that more often.

on getting into music as a career

Music has always been essential in my life. My brother is a touring musician, my mother and father were always playing music in the house, and being half Persian, I grew up with a medley of distinct sounds and patterns that shaped what I look for in music today. I took on part time work at the recording studio for some writing camps. It became full time work and it’s been about three years co-managing the studio. Sometimes things happen organically. Life has a funny way of putting you on your path, as long as you’re willing to work hard at it.

Working closely with artists on something as personal and emotional as music, you need to be honest. You must be tremendously considerate that someone is willing to be vulnerable.  Opening yourself up to criticism isn’t a comfortable space for most humans to occupy—reading needs and energies is crucial here. Furthermore, establishing trust and mindful communication is imperative.

Trench, Yang Li Men ; T-Shirt, Vintage ; Choker, Vintage YSL ; Pants, Sonia Rykiel
My day involves working closely with our engineer team, accommodating our artists at the studio, and making sure they’re having the best experience possible. Emails. Then listening to music, whether that’s in the session, music I’ve been sent, searching for new artists, or revisions of tracks I’m working on. I’d say 75% of my day is listening to music one way or another. More emails.
— on her day to day routine

on being in a&r and a manager

I started my company A.K.A. doing independent A&R, management, and creative design with recording artists. In management, I'm responsible for all the artists needs across the board. In A&R, I work with the music and artist on the direction, sound, and intention behind what they’re trying to say. This includes feedback, suggestions, and bringing people to the table for collaboration.

some advice for getting into the music industry

Keep at it, and don’t let no mean no. Music is in such a precarious time. There’s so much movement, but I see those dramatic shifts as opportunity. It’s about having a vision and carrying it out. Most importantly, work with good people. I owe a lot to people who took chances on me and jumped on my ideas without necessarily having all the pieces of the puzzle.  

on empowering women in the music industry

It’s no secret that women are a minority in the industry, particularly in positions of power. Instead of widening that gap by sequestering our experiences to those of men, I’d rather spend time empowering women. To me, all women lineups, workplaces, and calling out women on the basis of gender to validate artistry and skill perpetuates inequality. I’m all about empowerment and opportunity, but there’s a way to do that on the basis of inclusion.

on her star sign

I’m a Leo sun sign and Scorpio rising, so I’m an intense person. My mother gave birth to me naturally at home. When she got my chart done, the person said I’d either be a social innovator or detriment to society. Let’s hope it’s the former.

Slip: Vintage

Slip: Vintage

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Yellow Magic Orchestra are masters of sound. I remember hearing it for the first time and feeling like it was impossible to critique or describe. To me, that’s the ultimate testament of a great song.
— on her favorite record
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Slip: Vintage

Slip: Vintage

on her self-care routines

I go vintage and thrift shopping. It’s treasure hunting. I love the process. I like to take long walks with music. I’ll walk from the west side, over the bridge, and home to Williamsburg without looking at my phone. It's a moment for me to stop, look around, and feel gratitude. I also love tobacco candles, but I always have palo santo sticks to burn.

on her skincare routine

I keep it simple and as natural and organic as possible. Everything from Uncle Henry’s is 100% natural. The most important tip I can give is to put SPF on your face. I apply it religiously, and it’s changed my skin. Climate change is real, and Earth is getting hotter. Other than sunscreen, I apply under eye concealer after a long night, mascara, and lipstick. I recommend NYX Professional Makeup Turnt Up! Lipstick in FlawlessNYX Professional Makeup Color MascaraNYX Professional Makeup Super Luscious MascaraNYX COSMETICS Liquid Lipstick - Push-UpNyx Professional Makeup Sculpt & Highlight Face DuoMAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow SetPreserve Mint Tea Tree Toothpicks, and Nars Semi Matte Lipstick.

At night, I use coconut oil to take my makeup off, then use Jojoba Face Tonic Spray, Ayurvedic cream, my Sonicare, and floss. I’m big on dental hygiene, and use Remineralization Liquid for Tooth Enamel and Miracle Mouthwash. I also recommend Antibacterial Face Wash and Asterwood Naturals Vitamin C Serum.

On her haircare routine

I don’t wash my hair. I comb it every day to get the oils down to the ends. I cut my hair to my mid cheek and completely regretted it. If my hair is dry, I'll put coffee oil on the ends.

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Barack Obama, Christiane Amanpour, Dr. Dre, Anthony Bourdain, Irving Goffman, and Chelsea Handler. I love talking about the human experience: love, spirituality, relationships, systems, interpretation, subjectivity, and a lot of laughs.
— on the people she would invite to dinner
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atafeh's favorite books

Just Kids by Patti Smith, The Fran Lebowitz Reader by Fran Lebowitz, Wisdom of The Heart by Henry Miller, The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

atafeh's favorite movies & tv show

Star Wars (the originals, specifically Return of the Jedi), The Office

atafeh's favorite records

Solid State Survivor by Yellow Magic Orchestra, La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, Junk Culture by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Everybody Digs by Bill Evans

atafeh's favorite places IN new york city

I love Samurai Mama, Beco, Café Mogador, and Mesa Coyoacan.

For bars, I’ll be at Cherry Tavern, TSB, St. Mazie, and places with good and easy vibes. I'm all about casual vibes.

Jacket: Louis W. (A.P.C.), Jeans: Rolla's

Jacket: Louis W. (A.P.C.), Jeans: Rolla's