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Fiona Bloom: Industry Insider

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Fiona Bloom: Industry Insider

When it comes to music, industry publicist veteran Fiona Bloom has come full circle. With over 15 years working in the entertainment industry, the media entrepreneur who hailed from London launched in 2009, “The Bloom Effect” a one stop shop company that specializes in branding, online marketing, traditional PR and special events. Bloom who considers herself as “global” because she works around the world got her start in the business in 1991 as an assistant music director at Atlanta FM radio station 94.1 WSTR. She also served as an on-air radio personality, interviewing recording artists including George Clinton and the Wu-Tang Clan while doing voice over work. In her free time Bloom also served as a party promoter. Upon leaving Atlanta, Bloom headed to New York to work with former EMI Records head Daniel Glass who felt so much in love with her spirit, her charm, her personally that he appointed the emerging music veteran to her first industry job as the Director of National Marketing after a 10 hours interview where she met “every head of every departments.” There she worked with Gangstarr, Digable Planets, Arrested Development and Shara Nelson.

With music still running fresh in her blood, it didn’t take long for Bloom to realize that she didn’t want to work with a major record label “because it was very corporate” and “[she] did not understand how they poured millions, millions of dollars on ideas that would not fly on artists that [she] felt did not deserved it.” Bloom left her job at EMI to work at Zero Hour Records, an independent label where she was the Director of Media Relations, publicizing indie rock artists to every single music major magazines.

With the success she had at Zero Hour Records her bosses gave her the nod to start her own subsidiary record label, called 3-2-1. While running 3-2-1, she became recognized for signing the critically acclaimed hip hop duo Blackalicious, additionally signing underground hip hop acts such as Rubberoom, Company Flow and Big Jus of Company Flow.

Unfortunately, because of a lack of support the hip/hop department of 3-2-1 was dropped including Bloom and all of her artists. Nevertheless, Bloom got back on her feet by running another indie label the Subverse Skool imprint under the Sub Verse Music Label, where she took Blackalicious with her before they signed to MCA. In 2001 right after 9/11 she left Subverse to pursue other projects. One of her career’s paths landed her at Joes’s Pub in New York City where she booked shows for R&B, Soul and Hip Hop artists including Jasmine Sullivan, Heston and Sonny Boy. From there she ended- up at TVT working as an event international marketing but with her heart sold into urban culture and global culture, Bloom wanted to do more thus leaving TVT to create her own public relations imprint “The Bloom Effect.” Some of her clients include Soul artists Anthony David, April Hill, Avery Sunshine, Heston, Maya Azucena, Erin Barra, Thembisa Mshaka and 2009 Grammy Awards nominee Wayna among others.

The media savvy entrepreneur who organizes and publicizes launch parties, international music events, live shows, albums publicity, digital marketing, artists and repertoire consulting, and promotion sat down with Singersroom to give her point of view on today’s entertainment industry.

Of the biggest mistakes upcoming singers do… They feel like their work is done, or they feel like oh I made it and then they sit back and don’t realize that the work starts now. They think oh I have a team now, so I don’t have to do all of this work, I don’t have to do the hustle that I was so used to doing and… I’ll let somebody else do it. Hey I got a radio team; I got PR… no that’s the biggest mistake, the mistake of not working at heart if not more now that you’re signed.

Her advice for artists…To stay calm, read as much as you can about the industry, about new development in the industry as far as technology, trying to understand all the new social networks that are coming to play… Being as detailed and comprehensive in all the deals that you do, all the license deal opportunities, talk to other artists so you can see the mistakes they’ve made, the progress that they making and the reasons why they are doing things the way they are…Do not isolate yourself from everyone else…that will help you grow.

Independent Record Label /VS major Record Label… It depends on who you are… it really all depends on your philosophies and ideas. Me personally, I’ve always been an entrepreneurial minded person. I’ve always been a leader not a follower. I’ve always been innovative and original and if you are one of those people you need to work either for yourself or with an independent company. If you don’t think for yourself, if you’re not creative and original and you really follow the masses… then corporations [and] big companies are for you.

Her thoughts on being a publicist… It’s different. I mean it’s harder than it used to be, much harder. Because even as a publicist, you know for years I had such successes getting placement in magazines; placement that I did not have to pay for, editorial coverage that was almost guaranteed [for] every single release… Back in the days we did not have social media, we did not have the internet the way it is now…and we don’t get pay more. We get pay the same if not less. Hundreds of more hours that we have to add to our monthly [tab] table just to keep up. It’s hard, I don’t mean rocket science, it’s not like chemistry or math, it’s not hard like that but it’s just hard to keep up because every day, there’s something new developing, new rolling out and if you ‘re not in the stick of what’s going on with it you’re quickly out of touch. And if you’re out of touch in this business you become irrelevant. .. And if that’s the case nobody will want to work with you. Because people don’t care anymore about your background, they don’t care anymore about your past experiences. Now they want to know what’s your success story today and what you doing tomorrow.

On what keeps her motivated…The love of what I do. The passion is what keeps me motivated. The genuine feeling that I get when I see exiting things for my artists or bringing joy to the world with the music that I am promoting; that’s really what keeps me motivated because if it was about the money I would have giving up a long time ago. You know I am not rich, I am not a multi-millionaire, I could have taken that route but I chose to do things a little bit more challenging and therefore the end results become more rewarding. And I can’t speak enough for having passion, passion and enthusiasm because honestly that’s what keeps me up in the morning at the break of dawn, excited to get to my desk of work and that’s what makes me go to bed at night. [I am] excited about all the opportunities that I have the next morning.

The independent scene in New York… I feel like the creativity here is a little stifle. I feel like New Yorkers are too concerned and too caught up in being commercial and too caught up in trying to make a quick fix. So I feel like, there’s certainly potential here because New York is not as hard as it was once…

Artists that we should know about… [Apart] from Avery Sunshine, Candice Anitra, very beautiful voice, extremely refreshingly, original, very creative. Björk meets Corinne Bailey Ray. She got an unusual voice, interesting range and the production is kind of jazzy to afro-punk to rock. She’s not afraid to take risk as a solo artist because you know at the root of her she’s soul… She’s open and …and I am excited about that because it’s going to turn a few heads.

Plans for the future…To grow “The Bloom Effect.” Expanding to a couple of other cities worldwide…and [to] continue to do the artists development and branding…

—— By: Valerie Varasse

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