Caroline “Baroline” Diaz has been in the music industry for over 10 years molding artists into the superstars we all have fallen in love with over the years. At only 29 years old, Baroline has gracefully navigated through a male dominated industry and commanded respect in every room she steps foot in. We sat down with the NYC native to learn about her trajectory from personal assistant to CEO of her own record label. Keep reading to learn how she did it.


Your name is Caroline Diaz, but you go by Baroline. Talk about how you got your nickname.  

I met YG on campus at Syracuse University. I went to a local community college nearby, but I had friends at Syracuse, so I used to act like I went there lol. YG had a show and I introduced myself as Baroline. So, when I started working at Def Jam down the line, he introduced me to everyone there as Baroline and its stuck ever since. It’s been like 10 years!  

How did you get your start in the music industry?  

When I was in college, Valeisha Butterfield had a program for young women in Harlem called “Ween” during the summertime, where we learned about the music industry. To get in, you had to do a long interview process. Bevy Smith did my in-person interview, and she loved my personality. We are still good friends to this day. From this internship, I got the opportunity to visit various companies like Vibe Magazine, I Heart Radio, Atlantic Records, really all over New York.  

From working at this summer program, you really started to gain a passion for the music industry, but your career didn’t immediately take off. What happened next?  

I had a radio show while in school, then I started my own celebrity gossip blog called “The Formula TV”. I loved that blog so much, I posted on it all day nonstop, until someone got it deleted! I was devastated but didn’t give up on finding my way into the industry somehow.  

Not too long after that, Puffy posted that he was looking for interns for the Revolt Music Conference in 2015, so I had to find a way to be a part of it. It’s so funny because I was already friends with his son Justin Combs, but I didn’t want to ask him, so I had to find another way to get in.  

It was levels to get into the conference, but I didn’t pass. I knew a girl who did, so she sent me the link and I ended up getting accepted. I was a broke college student so I had to find my way to Miami from NYC and ended up staying with 3 people I never met before, just so I could be a part of this music conference!  

I was so tired, broke and hungry at this conference. I was like I gotta figure something out! I seen Marilyn Van Alstyne with EMVE management while working at the conference, so I decided to say something to her. She ran all the Ciroc and Bad Boy activations at the conference, so she let me follow her around for an hour or so. I was able to meet so many celebrities. I used this to my advantage and told everyone I was her assistant! From this I got a job with her as her actual assistant for about 2 years. I built relationships with artists like Lil Kim and many others through my role as a personal assistant with Marilyn.  

How did you start working at Def Jam Recordings?  

A girl I met from the “Ween” program reached out to me about an assistant opening at Def Jam. When I started, I didn’t know how to do much lol. I was answering the phone wrong, messing up the lunch orders, I just wasn’t polished at all. I saw they were holding interviews for the position, so I just figured I was a temp, but they ended up asking me to stay.  

From this I began building relationships with their artists, from YG to Big Sean, Fabulous, 2 Chainz, the list goes on. I feel like this is why I get respect from a lot of artists in the industry today. They remember little Baroline at the front desk with pink hair, so when they see me now, they’re like that’s little sis! As time went on, I felt underappreciated at Def Jam, so I knew my time was coming to an end there.  

After Def Jam you started working at Columbia Records. Tell us about your time there and how you transitioned from an assistant to an A & R.  

My boss at the time at Def Jam Rodney Shealey and he introduced me to Shawn Holiday over at Columbia Records while in LA at the BET Awards. I am always grateful to Shawn Holiday because he was the first person to give me a shot at being an A & R in the industry. The first artist I signed with Columbia Records was Polo G & the rest is history.  

So, you went from an intern to personal assistant to an A & R and now you have your own record label. What title would you currently give yourself that sums up all the work you do?  

I think I’m multifaceted. I’m still an A & R at heart because it’s only me right now at my new label “Great Day Records”. I make all the decisions for my artists, from finding their creative sound, assisting with features, credits, getting them sessions with producers and writers – really whatever they need. I’m thankful for my team at Great Day Records, Jessica & Caroline who work tirelessly on the digital marketing for my label as well!

Tell us more about being the CEO of a new record label.  

I’m not going to lie, it’s very different from what I’m used to because I’m building artist from the ground up. They don’t have major shows or bookings like the previous artists I have worked with, but “Great Day Records” is for creating the next big superstar. I know what I’m building and who they’re going to be in the next 2/3 years so that’s what keeps me going.  

How important is artist development in the music industry?  

I think people are starting to see the difference in picking up viral hits and the value of finding raw talent and molding them into a better artist. I feel like that’s what my company is getting back to. Finding artists without a big following with talent that just needs guidance to create hit records and become superstars.  

It starts with the music, but an artist is so much more than that. How they talk, treat people, look, and their sense of style is. What does the consumer feel when they look at an artist? Can they relate to their fans?  

These days artists can get hot online and the next thing you know, every label is trying to sign them. Then when they hit these big festival stages they don’t know how to perform. They have an interview and don’t even know how to speak. So, my job is to teach them everything, so when they get to those moments, they’re ready.  

Tell us about the power of networking in the music industry.  

I believe in networking with a purpose. I’ve never reached out to someone trying to get them to mess with me, I prefer it to happen organically. I have a big personality and have always treated people with respect because I want to be treated with respect.  

So many people have helped me along the way to get where I am now, like Lessa Brunson who’s over at 300 Entertainment right now. I used to go to her office all the time back when I was at Def Jam, constantly asking her to tell me what I needed to do to become an A & R and she broke everything down for me. So, networking is a part of it, but you must be a hustler. I figured a lot of things out on my own and I also had great people around me that helped me along the way.  

What are a few things every artist needs to be successful?  

To me, how you treat those around you is very important. It can bite you in the ass in the long run if you don’t. So, treat everyone with respect, especially your team. When it comes to music, having your own vision, sound, creative direction. The way you look at Coco Jones you’re not looking at SZA. They might be telling the same story, but they don’t resemble each other visually. When an artist has their own identity and understands who they are, great things can come from that.  

In addition to having your own record label, you have a management group with Babyface Ray. Tell us about how this came about.  

During the pandemic, I was feeling down. I felt like I was putting all my eggs in one basket working at Interscope and building up their artists. I felt like I wanted something of my own where I could build up my own artists. I always tell Babyface Ray, we met when he needed me, but I needed him more. When we met, he had the music and created a name for himself in Detroit and beyond, but he didn’t have any structure.  

So, I came in and helped him do all of that. I have to say, it was rocky at first. Working with artists in this way is like a relationship. I had so many big ideas, but he had people in his ear telling him I didn’t know what I was talking about, but over time we gained a mutual trust in one another.  

When I met Babyface Ray, I was working with Moneybagg Yo and Est Gee and every time I was around them, they were playing his music. After trying to sign him to Interscope Records and failing due to his deal with Empire, I was like I have to find a way to work with him. He sent me over 50 songs prior to meeting him that I never listened to but when I ran into him in the studio during Future & Moneybagg’s session we met, and I became his manager not too long after that.  

With Babyface Ray being your first artist outside of a major record label, it sounds like your relationship is very special with him. Outside of the other major artists you’ve worked with like Da Baby and Moneybagg Yo, he was your first independently.  

Right, so Da Baby was signed to Interscope Records, Moneybagg as well along with CMG and EST Gee was the same. I would get removed from projects which hurt because I would pour so much into these artists, and you could be fired so quickly. I didn’t like that feeling.  

And we see that happening throughout the industry with all these layoffs. So, I knew I had to become in charge of myself. So, from my journey with Babyface Ray, Be Heard Management was born.  

How did your campaign with Good American come about?  

I casually met Emma Grede while out and about in LA. She was one of the first people I met when I moved from NYC, and I had no clue how big of a deal she was! We connected and always stayed in touch throughout the years. I posted a sweater one day saying how fly it was and she dm’ed me asking to sell them for me through a capsule collection. I didn’t believe her at first lol, but we made it happen. I really feel like I’ve created all the opportunities in my life from just being myself.  

What has been a major lesson for you in your career?  

You must have boundaries. Being as young as I am, sometimes the lines can get blurred, or people can think we’re friends when at the end of the day this is a business. So, I’ve learned there must be a level of separation with my artists and not getting too close emotionally attached to them. I’ve gotten my feelings hurt in the past from not setting boundaries for myself and being too trusting, so I’ve learned from that and have taken those lessons into “Great Day Records”.  

How have you navigated through this male dominated industry?  

I want to get to a place where there are lots of women producers, engineers and songwriters when I’m in these spaces and hopefully we can get there one day. I haven’t dealt with much misogyny personally, because I’m very assertive and I mean business. I’ve haven’t dealt with harassment but when I’ve had to check someone it doesn’t go farther than that.  

When I was coming up men would see me at the studio and not know if I was the home girl or the girlfriend but now, they know who I am. You gotta check that shit at the door no matter what.  

What’s next for Baroline?  

I just signed a new artist and will be announcing those details very soon. Right now, my only artist is SheedTs, he is super talented. I also want to continue to discover new talent and develop them. I’m not into what’s hot now. I want to create a legacy within my company and the next generation of superstars. It’s a marathon not a race. It’s all about me and how I am going to continue to build my name.   


Editor in Chief: Prince Chenoa (@princechenoastudio)

Feature Editor: Taylor Winter Wilson (@taylorwinter)

Photographer: Wendy Ngala (@wendyngala)

Lighting Assistant: Isaiah Trotman (@it.photography4)

Hairstylist: Deborah Brenyah  (@debbiestyles_studios)

Makeup: Julissa Torres (@Jewels_mua)

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