In this interview Zenobia Simmons of Zenobs Music Management discusses her role as a publicist. She shares with us some of her experiences and knowledge of her 20+ years marketing and promoting for some of hip hops most well know producers and rappers.
Hello Zenobia, where are you from?
I’m originally from Ft. Wayne, IN and I’ve lived in the New Jersey area for the last 20 years.
How long have you been a publicist?
I’ve been working as a Publicist for almost 20+ years now!
What is a typical work day like for you?
A typical day varies, depending on what I’m working on at the time. If one of my clients is performing or has an event then the day is usually spent making sure everything is ready for that day. If there’s a press conference before or any scheduled interviews then I have to schedule those to make sure they happen. If some journalist are supposed to cover the event I have to make sure they are going to come and that they are on the press list. If an artist I’m working with is releasing a new song then I need to send out a press release with information about the song and distribute the music or video to media outlets. The hours vary depending on what’s going on but I prefer to get an early start because I’m more productive that way.
Who are some of your clients?
Some of the artists I’ve worked with include Fat Joe, Capone-N-Noreaga, Rasheeda, Mannie Fresh and many others.
What types of services you offer?
My services include everything from creating an electronic press kit, a full press campaign (writing an artist bio, scheduling photo shoots, booking TV appearances, scheduling interviews, etc).
About how much does the average publicist cost? How do you get paid?
The costs for publicity services can vary anywhere from monthly, to per project, meaning just working a single, video, album, handling tour press etc. It all depends on the publicist and the needs of the artists. A publicist can get paid monthly, per campaign, or a publicist working for a record label would get paid a yearly salary.
What are some skills you need to be a good publicist?
Some of the skills needed include, great writing and communication skills, ability to multitask, knowledge of media outlets, great connections and being able to remain calm under pressure.
Can you tell us a crazy story or any particular standout moments in your career?
There are too many stories to tell in this small space but when I worked for some record labels years ago, being a part of the New York hip hop scene was a crucial part of the job. Many nights my friends and I (who also worked in the music industry) we would arrive at the office early in the morning. Go to dinner or an album release party after work then buy an outfit to make the rounds to the clubs at night. Those days were crazy and a lot of fun!
Anything you don’t like about this type of work or any setbacks?
There have been a lot of set backs and challenges being a woman in a male dominated industry. But the good times and proud accomplishments outnumber the bad ones. Getting HBO to agree to let us film a music video at a major boxing match, getting an artist their first cover or TV performance, Grammy nominations, getting international press coverage for new artists, those are some of the highlights. Spending a lot of time away from home was a drawback when I was first starting out but I have much more control of my schedule now because I work for myself.
Any advice for someone who cant afford a publicist?
For an artist who can’t afford a publicist, my advice would be to try and stay up on the media outlets that you like (or want to be in) and attempt to develop relationships with journalists and bloggers so you can personally send them your music and at least try to get feedback and early support for your music.
Last words of advice or shout outs?
My last words are to always stay true to yourself and create great music. You should also remember that this is a business and a good reputation and professionalism will go a long way.
Zenobia Simmons – Linkedin
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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Zenobia Simmons