Professional Advice: Tavia Mapp on Publicity & Today’s Artists

Today’s music is all about the headlines. There what sells the current product and image of today’s superstar to the general public. Publicity is identical to air for any artist’s career, you need it to survive.

Meet Tavia Mapp, an experienced Publicist, whose past and present clients include big names like Colonel Loud (“California”), 50 Cent, and many more. As one of the leading women in entertainment, Tavia’s success is accredited to her connections and impressive work ethic. For artists, a publicist creates, control, and distribute content to influential outlets.

Today, Upcoming Hip Hop’s Boom speaks with the Brooklyn-native to breakdown what a publicist is and how every new artist could use her expertise.

[UHH]: What’s a Publicist responsibility officially?

[Tavia Mapp] A publicist manages campaigns and generates press coverage on behalf of their clients via television, radio, and media outlets.

If there is. What is the difference between a PR agent and a Publicist?

I have no idea what a PR agent is. There is a difference between a booking agent and a publicist. Most publicists hate to be referred to as a “PR”. A booking agent earns a percentage on appearances or performance made by an artist. Publicist book press, which renders no financial gain only exposure. 

Are publicists an A&R?

Not specifically but I will not take on a client unless I like their music. I gotta bump it everywhere or there will be no passion for it.

How long have you been a publicist and who are some clients you have represented before?

I have been a publicist for 10 years. I’ve represented exclusively Tweet, The Raheem Brock Foundation, Les Twins, Colonel Loud, and a plethora of indie artists. I’m not only a publicist. I am an event coordinator, brand specialist, and social media maven. Wearing more than one that allows you to have a bigger retainer.

Is there longevity as a Publicist?

Definitely! There are always new clients, new opportunities and new ways to connect with the public.

Is the publicity landscape still the same as when you first got into the game?

It’s not. Unfortunately, there is a lot of P2P. (Pay-2-Play)

Is a Publicist responsible for creating revenue for a client?

It is not the responsibility of your publicist to create funds for you. Exposure does not always equal revenue. It can assist in attaining it.

With skin in the game, based on experience, who is easier to deal with Male or Female Clients?

I think it depends on your sex. Female publicists usually work better with males and vice versus. 

At what point in a recording artist’s career should they start working with Publicists?

You should always begin working with a publicist a minimum of 2 months prior to releasing a project. It gives the publicist time to get feedback, adjust their pitch if necessary and it aligns with the promotion of the release. 

Publicity a 24/7 job?

When working on a project, you are on call. Meetings, following up, phone calls and deadlines. It really never stops until the campaign is over then it starts back up.

Where is music headed as a culture?

I believe music changes as trends change. One thing always holds true. It’s the song the artist usually hates that does the best. 

“…He (50 Cent) actually lets me do my own thing so he’s amazing. He is insightful and always has a different perspective. I spend more of my time connecting with Jeremy, his Director of Promotions. It was Jeremy who gave me the opportunity to not just be the publicist but an executive producer of the Thisis50 channel…”

What are a lot of publicists doing wrong these days?

Honestly, I believe everyone has their way. Is the way I would do it, not all the time but I have never been in the business of judging others methods.

Lastly, the most important advice you would give up-and-coming publicists?

Learn first. Don’t just assume because you know a couple of people in Media that you can do this job. Not every outlet will fit every client.  

Interested in attending one of Tavia’s upcoming public speaking engagements? Follow the celebrity publicist today on Instagram.

Tavia Mapp will be hosting a special women’s empowerment event, Future is Female Fireside Chat, this Wednesday (June 19) at the Skyline Penthouse in Downtown Los Angeles. Brought to you by D’usse Cognac, Vydia, Tailored Brows, Scalp Prodigy, and Pure Gold Collagen. Scheduled guests include Blacc Chyna, Tami Roman, Lala Milan, Kyla Pratt, and Tinashe (“2 On”) For RSVP, visit the official Future is Female Fireside Chat Ticketor page.

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