The entertainment industry is all around us. Whether we’re watching the latest season of “American Horror Story” or listening to a Spotify recommendation, entertainment influences us in ways we don’t even realize. This influence however, doesn’t come out of nowhere. There is immense brainstorming, planning and coordinating that brings our music, television and film desires to life.
This is the first of a series of posts dedicated to getting a behind-the-scenes look at professionals in the communications and entertainment field. Every few weeks, I’ll be interviewing a range of communications professionals and getting feedback on their lives in the television, music and film industries.
Jade Williams is a recent graduate from Hofstra University and is currently working at Total Assault, a digital and social marketing company located in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in digital marketing and public relations for different musical performers around the United States. Here is Jade’s story:
How did you end up where you are now?
So I grew up with music. Music was always around me. Either my mom had the radio on or one of her friends was stroking a guitar, or we were at a concert. Because of that, I always knew I wanted to work in the music industry. In high school, I was on various street teams for my favorite artists. I also did promotion for local venues nearby. The first club I joined at Hofstra University was Hofstra Concerts. We were responsible for putting on the majority of the shows on our campus. There I learned production, contract negotiation, and many more aspects of the industry. In college, I also started to intern. I interned at a plethora of places including Driven Music Group, Press Here Publicity, Total Assault, Glassnote, and Red Light Management. I learned many aspects of the industry and attended CMJ and other panels. After graduation, Total Assault offered me a job, which I accepted and here I am!
What do you enjoy most about your current position?
I enjoy the writing aspect. I like writing press releases and pitches. I like the feeling I get when I read an email from a journalist that liked my pitch and wants to cover my client. I enjoy the excitement that my client gets when I tell them what I got for them. I also really enjoy the research aspect. I am always looking for new sites/blogs. In that, I always find new artists to listen to, which is what I live for.
What advice can you give to college students looking to pursue a career in this field?
Intern and network! Interning is so important to building your resume and your network and your network is so valuable. Some internships I got on my own, but the big ones that everyone wants, like Glassnote and Red Light, I didn’t even apply for. People sent my resumes for me, which put me ahead of the game. It’s all about who you know! Keeping in touch with past bosses is very important, as well. Add them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Ask to get coffee or drinks with them. Be confident and if you’re not, fake it! Most people don’t actually know what they’re doing, because everyone figures it out as they go. Ask questions! This is your time to do that!
What tools/skills do you need to be successful in press/PR/communications?
First, you should be a strong writer. You don’t have to be a novelist, but being able to write a nice press release and pitch is a must. Besides, a lot of journalists will copy and paste your press release and call that an article. Next, you need to have tough skin. I have to hold back dealing with snarky, rude people all the time. That is a necessary trait you need to have. Also, be optimistic! Sometimes it is really hard to get your client placed and it can beget you down, but you need to pick yourself up and find more outlets or rewrite that pitch! If you get frustrated and let your emotions take over you will get nothing done.
Is there anything you would have done differently going into your career journey?
I would have double minored in graphic design along with my sociology minor (which I loved). It is such a good thing to know!
Where do you want to be in the future and how will you get there?
I am not 100% of what my end game is right now. There are some companies I think I would enjoy working for like Vevo or Superfly. I would love to get into the festival business doing marketing or publicity. Eventually I want to work in-house somewhere instead of at an agency. If I ever got the opportunity to do booking I would definitely give that a try!
What is your biggest piece of general advice?
Have fun! if you are passionate about music and you can work through the tough times, the perks are great and you deserve to have fun! Don’t work so much that you don’t enjoy the perks.
In your entire professional life thus far, what has been your favorite day on the job?
I think my favorite day was when I got to see my client open up for Kelly Clarkson. At that point I was doing social media. It was funny meeting her for the first time, because online I was quite literally her! I posted for her and interacted with her fans!
Is there anything else you would like to add about music, communications, life, etc.?
The music industry is fun and exciting, but it is also so hard to navigate and can be so stressful. There is no such thing as a 9 to 5. So be prepared for long hours and some really hard days, but also some of the best nights of your life with some of the most interesting people you have ever met!
*Favorite artists: Panic! at the Disco and Fleetwood Mac