In just a few short days, I’ve managed to uproot my life, and embark on an adventure that’s sure to change my life. In a year long journey across the US and Canada, I’ll travel city to city starting a music industry meet up called Balanced Breakfast in each place I inhabit. I’ll live in each city for roughly 1-2 months, and in each community I’ll help build and strengthen their music community, one meeting at a time. All of this while running my public relations company, Muddy Paw PR, and music blog, Infectious Magazine, from the road.
Sounds pretty cool, right? But I’ll let you in on a little secret—I’m terrified. Terrified to be away from home. Terrified to fail at my endeavors, terrified to not live up to everyone else’s expectations, and terrified not to live up to my own. If I’m being honest, the music industry is a pretty terrifying place, especially for a reserved, introvert like myself.
But I’ve built a life from challenging fear, and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And in this industry, you have to trust me, fear can be your worst enemy, or your biggest ally. I want it to be your ally. Because if a shy, quiet, small town woman like myself can make this her life’s work, anyone can do it.
I got my start in the industry in 2009, after founding Infectious Magazine. I’d never dreamt of working with artists, but after falling in love with a now defunct Providence, RI band called The Coming Weak, the choice seemed clear. Simply put, I was so taken by this band that I couldn’t not interview them or not share their music with anyone who would listen. I started Infectious with the goal to help hard-working, talented, local bands get the exposure they deserved. Six years later, and with an amazing team backing me, that goal is stronger than ever.
Realizing I’d spent the last six years on the receiving end of press releases and acquired not only a slew of contacts, but an understanding of what did and didn’t work when approaching bloggers, I decided to launch Muddy Paw PR and continue my goal of helping launch artists’ careers, and gaining them exposure, and a platform to share their music and their message. Over the last two years, Muddy Paw has grown into a full-fledged, full-time, monstrous passion project that not only pays the bills, but allows me more creativity and personal growth than I could have ever imagined. I feel so incredibly lucky.
But I want you to know that it was a lot of hard work. And at the same time, it wasn’t. Because when you really want something, when you feel it deep within you, and the time is right, all that hard work will feel like a necessity, to your happiness, not a chore. Because you’ll be chasing your destiny, and without it, you’ll feel empty. When you’re ready, the world can present you with amazing opportunities, and it’s up to you to grab them and run with them. If you’re not ready to commit full-time, that’s ok too. But know that this is an industry that requires constant hustle, creativity, and hard work.
There will be hard days, and days you want to give up, but there’s always a fire inside you urging you on, and for every bad day I’ve had, there’s so many more good days to make up for it. Don’t let fear get the best of you.
My advice to anyone wanting to make a career in this industry, be it as a musician, publicist, journalist, label owner, etc., is to first decide what you want. You don’t need to be on the radio and touring worldwide to be a successful musician and make a living from what you do. You can tour, and play on a much smaller scale, and still make it your full time job. But you have to know your destination in order to carve out the right path.
Second, network. I mean it. This industry is 100% who you know, so make sure you know everyone, and don’t burn bridges.
Third, don’t wait for someone to find you. Create the opportunity you want to have. I didn’t wait for anyone to hire me to write for them, or to do publicity for their artists. I sought out my own opportunities, and created the ones I wanted to live.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll never be able to do this alone, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll move forward. If you want to work at that indie label you love, find a way to intern there, get to know the people you’re surrounded by, and make a good impression. Know your lines, and know boundaries, but don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you want.
It’s not going to be easy, and it’s probably not going to look like what you thought it would—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. If your heart is in this, you’ll find a way to make it work. And if you ever get stuck, give me a shout. I’m more than happy to help you navigate this crazy industry the best I can. After all, we’re all in this together, aren’t we?
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations, and the free weekly music industry meet up, Balanced Breakfast. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up-and-coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, they’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more. You can find them at www.MuddyPawPR.com