The purpose of public relations is to assist the artist in sharing a message through their work and image, which is especially pertinent for artists of color to break through the mold.
“For me, [PR] is really about the story,” “What narrative are we telling? A lot of the artists who I’ve worked with were saying they didn’t feel represented. There’s a lack of cultural context—a disconnect. A lot of these traditional media outlets have historically been very white, so getting marginalized narratives [amplified] is still a very new thing. I realized in the beginning of my career, when talking about Jos or Lagos artists, it was one-dimensional. If you have something to say that’s specific or intentional, a publicist will help craft that message and get it to the right people.”
One of the many rewards of public relations for me is connecting with the artists and team. However, i am most proud of being able to help “provide visibility to people that would normally be in [the] shadows.”
Check out some insight on how to thrive in the music industry with someone whose mission is to help artists find their way.
♠ Know who you are. “Know how to pitch yourself. You must know who you are, why you’re different, and what you want. You should be able to do this in just a few sentences—no one will read through paragraphs of information in an email, or sit through long periods of time listening to you talk about yourself, EVER. You only get most people for a few minutes, so you need to catch their attention right away.”
♠ Get your ducks in a row. “Make sure everything is ‘there’ before you seek out a publicist. This will save you money and a lot of headaches. Make sure your branding is fresh, unique, and consistent. Create incredible videos that speak for themselves and embody who you are as an artist. Most importantly, make sure the music is there. If the music is incredible, it will just go, and everything else will ultimately fall into place. Seriously. This is the music industry at the end of the day, so you can’t move forward if the music is not good.”
♠ Make connections. “Create deep connections versus temporary, superficial ones. Show genuine interest in the lives that people have outside of the music industry, which will make an impact on them. Networking doesn’t just have to be surface level; it can be deep and real! When people are more connected to you, they’re more likely to support you on your journey.”
♠ Don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Upcoming artiste can have a hard time asking for help. I quickly realized [the music industry] was all about asking for help. There is this facade that when you see executives and they’re doing their profile [on how they got here], they’re like, ‘I was just grinding.’ It doesn’t always work on an individual level. It works with community. My solution to my fear of asking for help was [realizing] it’s okay for me to ask for help.”
♠ Don’t fear rejection. “‘No’ doesn’t mean no forever. When I first started doing PR, I would get shocked by how much rejection I would get. Then I realized it’s not personal. Everyone in the industry is always hustling at all times. So, find the people who do what works for you.
“Even with some of my biggest artists, they weren’t always big. ‘No’ sometimes means they need to go to work and come back when it’s in another iteration. Take that criticism, learn from it, and incorporate it into what you’re doing.”
♠ Welcome constant growth. “Never stop learning. There is so much ground to cover in the music industry, and the best way to pick up as much as you can is to learn from people in different areas of the industry. That can come from direct mentorship, one-on-one conversations with people, or just watching them from afar. As humans, we grow and evolve throughout our lives, and there is ALWAYS room to be better, regardless of age and level of ‘success.’”
♠ Be a good person. “Be a good person and treat people with kindness. It’s just the right thing to do, but it’s also a smart business move if you don’t have a big budget and have little to no help. People are more likely to want to help you and work with you if they like and trust you. My biggest thing that’s helped me and my artists get opportunities, press, and build, is being good to other people and being respectful of other people.”