NMB: How is service like yours beneficial/valuable to the user?
PK: PR is an invaluable tool if you’re an artist. For instance, you’ve spent thousands on recording a CD, now what? It doesn’t matter if no one knows you have it! And yet PR is the last thing artists think they need. It’s ridiculous in my mind – especially when so much of public opinion is shaped by the media and we all know it is! I think you need to have a PR team or professional on your side before you even think about going into the studio. Why do things slap-dash? Meaning, why not have all your business together before moving forward? Many artists think the first thing to ‘being heard’ or ‘getting noticed’ is getting that product… they don’t understand they are the product. They’ve got it backwards. And that’s where the development part comes in.
You’ve got to know everything about your career and what you’re going to do – from how you look to how you handle yourself in an interview to the best deals to take – before you even think about taking the next step. I mean, most of my job is literally answering questions and giving sage like advice based on my experiences. I can’t tell you how many times a week I’m asked a business question or a song question or a look question. My clients don’t always take my advice, and that’s fine, they’re free to decide for themselves, but in most cases they do because I’m not emotionally attached to the answer in a lot of cases. It’s invaluable to have an unbiased sounding board.
There are just so many ways a good PR firm can help an artist. If I were an artist, finding a good one would be my priority #1, before anything else.
NMB: Who have you helped to be successful?
PK: Nashville Hype! has a lot of uncredited successes. For instance, Lady Antebellum was the first artist featured on the blog site. I felt confident that they were going to do well in town and I really pushed. At the time they were literally just getting started and virtually no one outside of Nashville (or maybe inside) had even heard of them. Now they are huge stars. Rissi Palmer, Jesse Lee (Atlantic), Jaida Dreyer (Song Garden), Ashlee Hewitt (Nashville Star), Buffy Lawson (Hit Songwriter/Singer), Amanda and Travis Marsh (ATM), HotChelleRae (Jive); the list goes on and on. When I found an artist I really believed in, I would do everything I could to make sure that others knew about them. And not only on the blog, but maybe even more so behind the scenes. I made calls to labels, managers, producers, publishers and others to make sure they knew about them and would come to a show or event.
Let me say that these artists all worked very hard and smart to get where they are. I was just fortunate enough to have a good ear, know talent and good songs, and have a sense of what Nashville was looking for.
NMB: What is your creative relationship like with artists?
PK: I am very close to the artists I now have on my roster. We talk on an almost daily basis and everyone is like family. Even the families of the artist are like family. It’s a very special thing that is happening at Nashville Hype! and I don’t believe – in fact I know – that no other firm has the same kind of closeness.
Creatively I work with each artist individually to fit their exact needs. For instance, Stormy Montana is pretty well self contained. She’s sold over 7,000 cd’s on her own and that was before I started officially representing her. What she didn’t have was a lot of press. Since we started working together, we’ve collaborated on the best way to get her the press she needs and thankfully we’ve been very successful. There’s not many ‘big’ country music blogs she hasn’t made an appearance. And recently she also made it into Country Weekly as well. It’s just been an amazing ride.