Despite the COVID-19 pandemic we’re experiencing, the media business is still thriving. Publicists and industry vets have seen an inevitable increase in the demand for their services, and I had the pleasure of sitting down and getting to know one of the industry’s best, as she shared a little of her journey, as well as discussed some misconceptions about publicists, their actual role, ways creatives can thrive in this climate and more.
HHW: For those who may not be familiar with who you are, tell us a little about Lisa Persaud.
Lisa P.: I’d like to say I am a behind the scenes veteran in the (Hip-Hop) music industry. Originally from Toronto, I started out in the nightlife promotional game at the age of 14, creating flyer’s and managing web content which eventually led me to enter the promotional world, coordinating and promoting events. This built a name for me in the business. I began freelance writing, contributing interviews to other publications until I decided I wanted to create a platform for people in ALL fields of the industry – which then led to the creation of Industry Magazine. Industry Magazine was a publication I dedicated to showcasing talent both in front and behind the scenes. It manifested opportunities for me beyond my imagination.
The relationships I made from this project got me in the doors doing A&R work for Ruff Ryders, Poe Boy Records, Maybach Music and Bad Boy Records. Associations with Atlantic, Roc Nation, Def Jam etc… I became pivotal in artist development and branding. Where most people in the business would know me from these associations. Others, would probably know me from radio, nightclub parties I’ve hosted around the world, star studded events etc…
I’ve always aspired to create platforms, build brands and projects from the ground up; to be a positive impact on the community and generations to come. Which is ultimately what I want my legacy to be, hence the creation of my firm “LPR”.
HHW: How long have you worked in Publicity and Entertainment?
Lisa P.: It sounds crazy saying this out loud, but 20 years! Who would have thought creating web flyer’s and content maintenance would have led to a life long career in public relations and entertainment. The irony is, my mom use to say “you can’t make a career out of partying”… safe to say, she was wrong. lol
HHW: What intrigued you most about the field? Or more specifically, what was your eureka moment? The moment you knew Entertainment Publicity was your calling.
Lisa P.: Hmm… every opportunity I had, I learned from and was intrigued to take it up another notch. If I had to pinpoint a specific “era” I would say it was when I was running Industry Magazine. I was putting Canadians on the cover predicting their stardom before the world knew who they were. It was a sense of pride, fulfillment and accomplishment (like confirming that I did know what I was talking about) when the world did embrace them. I believe that was my moment, knowing I was able to give someone a platform, in a way contribute to their career presence and was damn well on point about it. That’s when I knew, I want to do this for more people.
HHW: Personally, I feel there are many who truly don’t understand the role of a Publicist. Can you describe what the role of a dedicated Publicist entails?
Lisa P.: A publicist creates and manages the image of a person, brand and\or company. Depending on the client, the duties of a publicist can differentiate. This is why I love the business, it is not the same cookie cutter routine everyday. The similarities would be the administrative work, which includes a lot of writing: pitches, press releases, press kits. Managing media (interviews, exposure, conferences etc…) tracking media coverage. Crisis management plans. Manage media lists and maintain relations with media. Press tour and event coordination – like I said, depends on the client and project. Overall, A lot of writing, emailing, phone calls and pulling your hair out. lol
HHW: Many place unrealistic demands on Publicists daily; never considering what is needed from themselves, as the client. With that being said, what does a mutually beneficial Client – Publicist relationship look like?
Lisa P.: Oh man, that is an understatement! To advert the unrealistic demands, I am brutally honest during all my consultations and realistic about the results. I don’t sugarcoat and I don’t take on any projects I don’t see potential in. I wouldn’t waste my time or the clients. A relationship between a client and their management and publicist, is a close and could be a rocky one. You deal with egos, impatience etc… but I always find that constant communication and being honest with each other helps us progress. End of the day, it’s a relationship – it’s going to have its ups and downs. There’s a lot of effort and emotion, as these are peoples lives and dreams placed into your hands. A responsibility I take with pride.
HHW: What is your ideal client
Lisa P.: An ideal client is one who has short term and long term goals for their brand or company. One who understands the process is lengthy and things rarely prosper overnight. Clients who are open minded. deliver content on time, communicate efficiently – make the process much smoother and possibly progress more rapidly.
HHW: What are a few pieces of advice you would give creatives during this quarantine?
Lisa P.: Now is your time to shine! I believe in being positive and productive during this pandemic. We have something we were never able to buy before – time. Use this effectively. Regroup, re-brand and promote the hell of yourself, your project, your products etc… Insights and statical margins are at its highest peak and almost anyone can capitalize on this.
HHW: Are you currently accepting new clients?
Lisa P.: At the moment, I am not accepting new clients but I am offering an “a la carte” service to prospective clients who are in need of some placements, social media management, creative content, EPKs, Biographies etc… I know at this time, many people are feeling the financial burden and cannot invest much into their image, hence why I created the “a la carte” so these people can start taking small steps towards their branding without the contractual and retainer commitment.
HHW: How can prospective clients reach you?