Monday, 22 April 2013

#MusicMonday Advice Courtesy of Eric Bellinger...


Good Monday to you all!

One of the topics I didn't get to cover during the final week of March's Music Month series, was what not to do when it comes to Public Relations and your career. I felt the need to throwback this morning; after a recent encounter brought the issue to life.

Eric Bellinger (Photo Courtesy of  Rolling Soul Brasil)
I first contacted Singer-Songwriter Eric Bellinger's Manager for an interview back in February, when I reviewed his mixtape 'Born II Sing, Volume II' for my '7 Days, 7 Mixtapes To Set The Valentine Mood' series. As both review and attempts to contact through email and social media went without response, I moved on to endless stream of other projects that my regular readers will know that I engage in. In all honesty, I'd plain forgotten about it until last weekend, when I received a friendly note apologising for the delay in replying; stating that the Inbox had been deactivated for a period, but was up and running again now.

Bellinger's latest mixtape, 'Born II Sing, Vol. III' was released a week ago today, my interview request was accepted and so began communiqué that resulted in a booked interview for 2:30PM in the US (West Coast), 10:30PM here in the UK, last night. I had noticed that the exchange with who I took to be Manager Nieman Johnson were quite clipped, bordering on rude in manner from the second message onward but, with all the tragedies going on in the Country last week, for all I knew, the man could have been a Bostonian, or had family or friends affected by the incident. I wouldn't be feeling too polite either, and so I ignored the tone, even providing another positive review for the new project.

(Photo Courtesy of peacemagazine.com)
All week, my gut told me that this one wouldn't be smooth sailing and as it turned out, I was proved right. Mr Manager woke up to a confirmation email from me yesterday morning, which only received a reply to push back by 3 hours...40 minutes before our booked time. Fine and fair enough, this is the Music Business after all, it wouldn't be the first time an interview was pushed back with short notice. When 1AM rolled around and there was no contact however, and my subsequent emails asking for updates went ignored over the course of the next 35 minutes, that's when I really started to get irked. An hour later I gave up waiting and lo and behold, out both came from the Social Media woodwork, where they had a merry time for the rest of the night, whilst my Inbox remained empty.

Now I can't say that I'm particularly surprised at this behaviour from an Artist - again, unreliability is far from unheard of - ask...well, anyone who's ever tried to book Wiley. But for a Manager to be aware of, and even complicit in it to this extent is a first, even for me. Had the request been refused from the start, I would have thought nothing of it. Had it been rescheduled for another time, I would have thought no more of it. Heck, had they cancelled even, I would have had a natural "Them's the Breaks" reaction, shrugged my shoulders and moved on with today's To-Do list. But to accept, confirm a slot, move that slot to a less convenient, yet still accommodated time, pull a no-show and not have the slightest iota of common decency about you, to even contact the person you put out and apologise? That is utterly despicable, unprofessional and just plain disgusting behaviour.

Artists and Managers take note: Reputation is everything; especially in markets that are unfamiliar with your name. Your goal should always be to leave audiences (of whom the media who help spread your name belong to) wanting more of you. Negative reports spread faster than wildfire, and whilst sometimes what you're tagged with is unjustified, when you earn every word of it, the onus really is on you to engage in some form of damage control and put right your error. Or at the very least, just display the plain old good manners that you've lacked thus far.

ES