Diana Hernandez

Diana Hernandez

HIFI / Urbano Street

I am a doer. I am a perceptive and bilingual leader advocating for the artistic music community in NYC. I am a problem solver, strategist, and web analyst, passionate about music, media, and tech. 

Diana is the Engagement Manager at HIFI, the financial rights organization for the music industry. Before that, she worked as an IBM Business Analytics and Technical Sales Specialist.

Where are you based?

Colombian-born living in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m the Engagement Manager at HIFI – the financial rights organization for the music industry. I manage the relationships with our members and oversee all interactions between artists and people on their teams. 

Besides work at HIFI, I’m also known as Boss Selektah; I collect records and spin ska/reggae and salsa music. 
I’m the Co-founder of Urbano Street – an audiovisual music station capturing underground expressions. I volunteer as the Executive Director, producing our content and events, including the U Street Music Fest on 4/22/23.

What are you listening to?

I listen to a wide variety of early Jamaican music, Latin-soul / boogaloo, Latin alternative and fusion, and contemporary local bands from the cumbia punky reggae scene in NYC.

Right now, I’m listening to bands like Combo Lulo, and Iseo & Dodosound.

How do you discover new music?

I have subscribed to a lot of mailing lists from independent record labels, curators, artists, promoters, and more. I read music reviews and monitor new music releases and announcements, staying up to date with the latest trends and scouting new songs and bands. Along with this, I look for perfectly curated playlists on Spotify, and since I am not a fan of the official Spotify Playlist, I mostly look for playlists done by musicians or fans. I also create playlists for my followers.

I am very active in my local music community, constantly discovering new music through my relationships with local artists. I often attend local shows and see bands on tour, staying up with all the bands and projects emerging in the neighbourhood.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I listen to a lot of records. Listening to them at home and seeing local DJs performs aid me in my sets when I DJ. 

I own a lot of CDs, mainly bootlegs from the 2000s and promotional CDs I still get from DIY bands. While I don’t listen to these, I still like to collect them.

I also have some new cassettes but had to leave a bunch of them behind in my home country. My first experience with music was recording mixtapes from the radio back in the 2000s.

After CDs, I used to download a lot of music from blogs like the Ska Me Crazy blog in Mexico. I used to keep all my downloads organised in iTunes, until Apple launched Sync. While uploading all my music to their cloud, I did not realize that I would no longer own the music. So when I eventually unsubscribed, and switched to Spotify, I was never able to access this music again. 
I listen to music on Spotify too. Mainly, I listen to the playlists that I create while browsing albums I already like or playlists by different curators on the platform. 

I listen to music all day, most days: On Spotify at work, vinyl at home, live shows, etc. When rehearsing for a show, cooking, or spending time with friends, I use my turntables to listen to music.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

I listen to music all day, most days: On Spotify at work, vinyl at home, live shows, etc. When rehearsing for a show, cooking, or spending time with friends, I use my turntables to listen to music.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I don’t save pre-releases online and I don’t really search for pre-released music either.

Some musicians send me access to pre-releases, looking for feedback and/or in order to promote during my DJ set. For example, I recently got a few singles from Names Your Can Trust from bands like La Pambele and Anant Pradhan & Larry McDonald.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

I love the availability and portability of streaming music, but the algorithm frustrates me. It keeps showing me the same “new” music; Music that I have been avoiding listening to because I already know and don’t like it, nor want to hear it. 

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Besides the records I own, I use playlists and also save music to my library. 

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Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

Yes, I tip people off to new music through the curation of our content for Urbano Street, the curation of my DJ sets, and my public playlists.

Anything you want to “promote”?

HIFI’s Cash Flow – that accelerates streaming payments for recording artists.

The U Street Music Fest on April 22nd 2023 on Suydam St Brooklyn – a community experience with live music, record selectors, and street art. 

My public playlists on Spotify.

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