Fiona Bloom and I met in 2007 at the Midem Music Conference in Cannes, France, and I was immediately drawn to her energy and friendly smile. As a fellow publicist, Fiona has been there to help guide me as I get my own PR biz together, and I wanted to share some of her insight with you, the independent artist. For the fourth installation of the Lo Down (where I interview industry professionals and artists about their area of expertise and give you insight for your own career), let’s explore the area of Public Relations (PR).
Fiona has been in the game before mp3′s existed, and has been able to transition and keep current with all the changes in the music industry, all the while keeping her integrity and representing artists and companies that are ahead of the curve. Originally from London, England, Fiona’s made her mark in Atlanta, and New York, and has become a global brand with her company The Bloom Effect. She has worked with artists such as Gangstarr, Digable Planets, Arrested Development, Bahamadia, Mystic, Jeru The Damaja, and MF Doom, to name a few. From a concert pianist, to radio personality, to club promoter, to director of marketing, director of media relations, publicist, booking agent, running a label, and so much more….whew! Fiona Bloom knows the business and succeeds at everything she does. (READ FULL BIO HERE)
Respect is one of the most crucial qualities a publicist or anyone you hire for your team should have and maintain. Fiona Bloom is one of those people, and it shows through her work, passion, and generosity. It’s inspiring to see what she has accomplished, and I’m excited to see what else Fiona has to offer in the coming years. Keep The Bloom Effect blog in your reader, subscribe to the newsletter, and stay ahead of the curve with Fiona as she brings artists from around the world into the limelight and your ipod’s.
What is Public Relations?
P.R is many things. It’s how you relay and convey a product/artist/brand to the public. How they’re personified and how you’re able to build a profile, create visibility through various media channels, which is then translated to the public. It’s also about how you handle your relations/relationships within the media which in turn promotes your brand to the masses- that is Publicity!
What is an artists biggest misconceptions of the purpose and role of a publicist?
I think the artists biggest misconceptions is that we have an easy job- it is a thankless job, often times taken for granted. We end up doing more for the artist than any other role or team player that contributes, yet it’s still never enough. I also think the artist believes we have control over the content regarding reviews/stories— that we actually can take down a negative review or alter something a writer has said before it goes to print. The artist also probably thinks it’s our job to bring people out to the shows… as long as we get the word out, create the buzz, and build a story- we’re doing a great job, we can’t force people to come out!
How do you know when it’s a good time to have someone manage your press and marketing?
The time is right to bring on someone to do press and marketing when the artist has actually built a story in their local market, or done a few shows outside their home turf. If you’ve built a moderate fanbase with the web and social media, if you’re generating over 400 plays a day on your music player on myspace, or had several downloads a day on your site doing this on your own, then you know it’s time to take it up a notch and bring P.R on board. Also, a press person needs something to market along side the noise you’re making in cyberspace and at the shows, (ie. distributing an album independently).
What should you look for when hiring a publicist?
Definitely do your research when hiring a publicist. If there’s a band or artist you’ve been hearing about, reading about, and you are wondering “wow, they’re everywhere…”- generally, that’s a good indication that the publicist behind them is going to be really effective. Find out what other artists/projects they’ve worked, and if it’s a similar vein of projects you like. Recommendations are always great, don’t be afraid to ask around to your peers and other industries and bands alike who they would recommend and why. Also, it’s important that the publicist be just as excited and into the project as you are with them coming on board. Passion and enthusiasm speaks volumes! It’s amazing seeing the results on a project when the publicist is genuinely excited.
What can an artist do for themselves to get press and exposure?
These days there are so many outlets for artists to get exposure on their own. The blog route is really great, leaving comments on people’s blogs about your music, being active in chat rooms, creating profile’s on all the social media sites – there are tons of them. Having a flickr page, a youtube channel, belonging to several groups and causes and speaking out wherever you can, as long as it’s thought out and delivered well. Of course, if you want to go the sensationalist and novelty route that’s a no brainer and a very easy way of getting tons of press and exposure. No, don’t get arrested! Let’s get more creative than that!
What common do’s and dont’s would you advise to an artist manging their own image and press?
When managing your own image and press, be as professional as you can. Don’t get frustrated or pissed off at editors/writers if they don’t get back to you or if they give you a negative review or just not into your art. Be respectful and on to the next person. Just be as real and true to your artform as possible. Don’t emulate other people’s work because they’re at the top of the chart or getting tons of video spins. Eventually, if you’re serious about what you do and hungry, passionate, and work hard, you’ll end up knocking down those doors. It just takes a lot of perseverance, nothing comes easily and you certainly don’t want to be an overnight success story, overnight successes crash hard….
What companies/sites do you recommend an independent artist reach out to for more exposure?
There are so many out there I could go for hours with recommendations, but the few that come to mind are:
Art For Progress
Hip Hop Association
The Trip Wire
What advice would you give to someone that feels like giving up their dream?
To anyone who feels like quitting, giving up your dream, you’re not alone! We’ve all been there. It’s those who struggle the hardest and feel like throwing it in, those artists/talented folks end up winning large!
Remember, you’re not in this to be large and an overnight success, you’re in this because there’s nothing else you were born to do and put on this earth to achieve. This is your destiny. Whatever you do, you have to do it! There’s no other value to your life! You want it bad enough, your desire runs deep - YOU WILL GET THERE!
I can’t tell you how many countless stories I’ve heard from people who weren’t going to continue but a mentor or inner voice told them to hold on, and guess what?! They are successful in what they do, and they love it, and they’re so much happier for it. If it was meant to be easy and no fights or uphill battles then none of it would be worth it anyway!
I could just keep going… It’s hard for me to stop as I’m so emphatic about what I do, and I put so much energy and concern into my work. I know it resonates, or at least I’m told, so hopefully you’ve gained some wisdom, inspiration or motivation.
CHECK OUT PAST LO DOWN INTERVIEWS HERE: