In a recent visit to Raleigh Studios, PR extraordinaire, Brian Bumbery, gave us his perspective of the industry where “no one really takes you under their wing anymore.” Seeing that he was essentially doing the opposite by being a mentor for a day, it was wonderful to pick his brain about the career path that he is proud of and how he faces the artists (that most of us would desire to spend just a few moments with) on a regular basis.
What is a Publicist?
We use the media as a vehicle to get (clients) points across, but we also helped them in a way where they feel confident when they get out there (in the public eye). If they are creating music, film, sports, etc. they look at press as the bad guy, but they aren’t. (The press) is going to help them spread the word.
Most important part is (the publicist) takes an artist and sits with them and helps them articulate their points and broadcast them out.
Who are you representing?
At BBGUN press, we represent all kinds of music: The Band Perry, Metallica, Green Day, Muse…. We also do corporate events publicity for City Bank and Pandora. Anything that moves us: a book, an artist, fine artist. If you love it and are passionate about it, I’d work with it.
How often are you seeking out people you would like to represent or how often do you get asked?
I don’t seek out because people have publicists already – it’s called flirting with each other’s clients. If you flirt with someone else’s, they are going to flirt with yours.
What is your journalist pet peeve?
When they don’t answer their phone calls or emails, but they are tweeting all day.
Who is your favorite band?
“The Cure,” since I was 13. It’s the only artist I refuse to meet because I don’t want to lose the excitement of meeting them.
Ever lose your cool in front of a celebrity?
I’ve met enough (celebrities) and realize they are normal people. They are not at all what you see up on the stage.
If you weren’t a publicist what would you be doing?
I would work for the state department. I love to travel and meeting people and different cultures.
What are some things journalist should look out for from a publicist?
When they commit their clients into doing a feature without asking them first. For example, the journalist saved that space for the interview and then the client says artist is passing.
Or when publicists say: “if you don’t book THIS band, I won’t let you book any of my other clients.”
Would you prefer to work with a celebrity who needs damage control or someone who is pretty ‘normal?’
When Billy Joel had his meltdown on stage, I said ‘we have to tell the truth.’
The more you lie about it; it’s going to come back. Issue the statement and it’s over.
I wouldn’t want to work with someone who is dishonest.
How proud are you?
Am I proud? Yes, but there is always room for improvement.
Do you ever get a break?
Over Christmas I had an artist die when I was on vacation… so I worked.
Worst fear to have happen during your career?
One of my clients committing suicide would be a really hard one.
Do you need a certain mentality for the entertainment business?
Thick skin; you’re going to get no more than yes.
You’re going to have a day where you get 3 great things… call it a day, go home.