Work with people you love, (including your interns)! Work can easily become boring and monotonous, especially when you’re at home and on a computer all the time. Working with people you enjoy working with you are also talented and good at their jobs makes everything so much more enjoyable. & Remember- there are so many capable and talented people. It’s worth the wait to find someone talented, capable, and that you vibe with- no need to settle for the first person you meet or interview who is capable of the gig. There will always be people who are both capable and your people, you just have to be patient and look for them.
As a part of my series about the things you need to know to excel in the modern PR industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mae Krell.
Mae Krell is in the midst of a new era. Over a production backdrop of chirping birds, running washing machines and children playing, Mae expresses their introspective lyrics with a newfound maturity and understanding. Following a two-year hiatus, the 21-year-old made their return in 2020 with a string of soft, folk-pop singles. Influenced by revered singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan, Phoebe Bridgers and Gregory Alan Isakov, Mae writes intimate reflections about confronting past struggles, self-love and personal truths. “wash,” their most recent release, garnered over 500k Spotify streams in less than six months, with their other singles following close behind in numbers. In response to their gut-wrenching single “garden,” Indie Band Guru wrote, “There is truly not a voice quite like the one Mae Krell has.”
Mae’s creative endeavors stretch far beyond music. They originally entered the music industry through photography, traveling the country to take photos, writing poetry, and dreaming of the day they would muster the courage to become a performing artist themselves. Mae’s most recent creative endeavor involves the creation of a cottage-core Build-A-Bear equipped with its own pair of roller skates. A part of the LGBTQ+ community themself and a persistent advocate for mental health awareness, Mae is constantly finding ways to connect with the two communities — whether that’s via music, social media, photography. Mae is a cofounder of music PR group, BITCH MGMT. In their free time, Mae volunteers for Musicians on Call and likes to spend time outdoors — gardening, hiking, and camping.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Of course! Never too busy to have a good chat.
I wouldn’t say doing publicity is my proper path more so than it has been fun and not too exhausting to do while also making music.
When I first toured, I didn’t have my drivers license yet. I figured if I couldn’t drive, I might as well make myself useful, so I started researching publications and pitching to them in the back of our little car. That’s when I first realized publicity could be fun, and had a why not moment. Since then, I’ve done my own PR as well as PR for some friends. When lockdown started, I had more free time than before, since I lost my full time job. My friend and I decided to start BITCH then, and we’ve had a great time so far!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
Honestly, I can’t think of any! We started pretty recently, around nine months. Its been a ton of fun though! & We’ve gotten to work on a handful of different projects and wonderful releases!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Honestly, trying too hard to be professional. I know that sounds funny, but Caro (BITCH co founder & head graphic designer) and I are such a chaotic team. We love to laugh and make jokes, we love all our clients and interns and have become friends with them while working on their projects. Acting stereotypically professional is so unnatural to both of us when it comes to running our own business, and it’s also not the way that we want to be perceived. It’s so easy to fall into what you think other people expect of you, but that just doesn’t work for us. We were definitely worried about not being taken seriously as a marketing company, but as time has gone on we’ve learned that we’re able to be trusted by incredibly talented artists for not only doing a good job, but also being our goofy selves with them as well.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We’ve been working with pop artist Erin Kirby for a long time now, and she’s always hatching up new releases. She’s a pleasure and is incredibly talented- we’ve had such a great time with her.
Otherwise, we just brought on Sydney Schizzano, who is a queer pop/alt artist, and she’s so wonderful I’m stoked for everyone to hear her new single “IDK/UFO” on the 26th!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why.
-I mentioned this before, but to not try to be like anyone else. Being yourself and goofy or chaotic or whatever it is is fine. If you do a good job, it won’t matter.
-Work only with people whose music you absolutely love. This is something I tell everyone who starts their own company, whether management or PR or anything else. It’s such a waste of time and extra exhausting to be promoting something you don’t love yourself, just not worth it.
-Make friends with your clients! Everything is so much more fun when you’re not trying to be “professional” and are properly connecting with the people who you’re working with.
-Don’t be scared to span different genres! If you have the contacts and are capable (& obviously like the music), it isn’t a crime to want to work with artists who don’t all sound the same or fit into the same boxes!
-Make personal connections! If you introduce yourself when you send a first cold email, and actually care about the people you’re working with as a publicist, they’re going to care too. It’s all about mutual respect and care- and I think that applies to a lot of different parts of life, not just as a publicist.
-Work with people you love, (including your interns)! Work can easily become boring and monotonous, especially when you’re at home and on a computer all the time. Working with people you enjoy working with you are also talented and good at their jobs makes everything so much more enjoyable. & Remember- there are so many capable and talented people. It’s worth the wait to find someone talented, capable, and that you vibe with- no need to settle for the first person you meet or interview who is capable of the gig. There will always be people who are both capable and your people, you just have to be patient and look for them.
You are known as a master networker. Can you share some tips on great networking?
I hate the word networking. I think it kind of implies that you’re connecting with people purely for the connection. I think the biggest mistake in “networking” is approaching it based on that definition. There are always people you’re going to be connected with and not properly keep in touch with. That said, though, nothing works better than genuinely caring about people and what they do and excel at. All of my “connections” are also people who I check in with and care about. Whether that check in is a personal question about their weekend or asking about a recent event they mentioned in the opening of a press release you’re sending. Or someone you properly keep in touch with via FB message or something; if you properly care, people are much more likely to care back as well, and then want to actually support your success. I said this somewhere above, but nothing beats caring about people, and vice versa.
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?
For sure! We make sure to personalize everything. When we reach out to a potential new client, we make sure to open the chat with why we care and want to work with them, then explain what we do, link our site, and then open a conversation about collaboration. Where did you find their music? What do you feel about it? Did they release anything more recently? What do you think? Do you have any questions?
Make sure to mention all of that.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Honestly, not really, no. I’ve been in music in one way or another since I was fifteen. More So than a book or podcast, it’s all about what I’ve learned over time and what people have taught me.
Because of the role you play, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Just being kind!! I don’t love the word nice and what’s behind it. I wish i could express that to people and push them to be kinder and more caring- I think kindness is definitely lacking in so many areas.
This was really meaningful! Thank you so much for your time.