Highlighting Key People in Hip-Hop
There’s nothing like finding your passion early on in life. For Belinda Foster, PR and publicity became embedded in her after watching her mother make things happen for different clients. It was during her days of studying psychology in college and being called on to help with different projects that got her motivated to pursue this field. Now, she heads AWJ Platinum PR, a company she formed after the passing of her brother who helped pushed her towards her dreams. Not only is she working with clients in hip-hop but she also spreads her services across different industries. Read on as she tells you about her come up and how the business of PR functions from the inside out.
-Danitha Jones (@LifeLikeJones)
How long have you been studying publicity and PR?
I began studying PR as a child observing my mother, who did public relations/publicity. I watched her talking on the phone and creating press releases for theatrical events and fundraisers. It was educational for me because it seemed so exciting to watch an idea become reality. From watching her talk about setting up an interview to then suddenly seeing that interview happen or the client thanking her for taking good care of them. Watching her was the beginning of my saturation of the possibilities that exist with PR.
At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue a career out of it?
While in my second year of college, my mom asked me to assist her with a PR campaign. Right then, I felt a sudden calling inside of me that this was part one of what I am supposed to do. I fell in love with the job. I was studying psychology at the time. That training helps a great deal too when working with different situations. The challenge of taking an idea or a person and working to get them promoted for a specific release, event, fundraiser, is empowering to the client and humbling I think for the PR person, especially working assignments for the first time.
How important is belief in the client?
Belief is the fuel that can change your life and make a dream become a reality. For me, I have to believe in the client first, believe in them, their gifts and talents, and their music. When you believe, you write a press release a little differently. You approach bookers differently. Believing can attract good things and when we let it move as the energy that it is, it sometimes can open doors and attract jobs and interviews for the artists so belief critical to the success of a PR campaign I think.
Who are you currently working with?
Hip-Hop Recording Artist Pause MC, Boss with Intense Entertainment, Daniel Davis (Fine China), Hip-Hop music videographer KC Amos, Elgin Zerick,B. Taylor, LRT, and a multiple roster of new independent artists under several record labels. I also work with indie artists through Bungalo Records/Universal Music Group Dist working with the VP, Robert Leo Rodgers.
What are the top three facts about PR that every publicist should know?
1. PR is a demanding and challenging field of business. It takes a strong belief in your client, patience on the process of getting them out there, and a creative mind to defy the odds.
2. PR is constantly changing from hard copy submissions to now digital submissions. It’s important to stay on top of the evolution of the field as it is directly affected by the latest innovations in technology
3. PR is a way of life. Think like a doctor. There is no such thing as 9 to 5. It’s 24/7.
What’s life like in LA? How the music scene there? Is it as small, networking wise, as NY?
L.A.’s music scene is close knit similar to New York. Most of the executives in L.A. don’t hang out in the office all day. Most are out and about on lunch and dinner meetings pitching deals or listening to their associates pitch them their clients to book on a show. It’s a restaurant world when it comes to deal making here. Sometimes, it happens over text messaging or over a cup of coffee at a Hollywood Starbucks. It’s kind of random like that. No suits and ties in L.A. Jeans, baseball caps and the next thing you know you’re cutting deals over meals.
What’s next on your agenda?
Continue to drive indie artists and the labels they are signed with to new heights. I have an inner drive to take on a challenge each day that comes. When we can break an indie artist on billboard charts or on television or other means of media, it is the best feeling in the world because it defies the odds. That’s what I live for: defying the odds for artists who are sure they got what it takes.
I also have created a new technology driven Publicity method that is innovative and will assist indie artists in a major way. I plan to launch this new method over the summer of 2013 to drive the branding of the indie artists and labels that I’m working with in a powerful way.
I also look to begin producing live concerts through our partnerships with various sponsors.
I am working today on a special program with Elgin Zerick where we are gearing him up to travel across America on a bicycle stopping in each city of the tour to speak to kids in schools to encourage them as well as address the increase in teen suicides in America. The goal is to empower kids to know that suicide is not the solution. That there is hope no matter what the problem or obstacle is that confronts them on their journey. That their life is valuable and they have a purpose .This is something that we hope will change lives.
Follow Belinda Foster on Twitter at @BelindaFoster1