The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Publicist and Founder of The Bloom Effect, Fiona Bloom
By Laura B. Whitmore
In an industry with an overwhelming amount of publicists, it can be hard to stand out. But that’s far from true for Fiona Bloom, a New York-based branding and PR maven and founder of The Bloom Effect.
Bloom founded her agency in 2007, offering branding for artists, personalities, music labels and lifestyle companies. The firm offers its clients a wealth of insight/knowledge and expertise as well as the benefits of a huge rolodex of premium, global contacts – everything it takes to make sure a brand or project is recognized or discovered by the right people.
As well as handling branding, publicity, digital marketing, A&R consulting and promotion services, The Bloom Effect produces a range of events, parties and live shows. Having produced over 2000 music showcases and consulted on hundreds of album projects, the company has played a significant role in the careers of over 300 artists, including The Zombies, Avery*Sunshine, Hollis Brown, Anthony David, Raul Midon, Jesse Clegg, France Rocks and many more.
See for yourself in our interview below why Bloom is among one of the most respected publicists in the industry. Visit http://thebloomeffect.com/ to learn more.
WiMN: You seem to have your hand in so many things…what’s a typical day like for you?
FB: A typical day for me is some hardcore outreach, generally churning out press releases or alerts, and pitches to about 150 people daily. That doesn’t include venues, my international counterparts, other calls that come up and emails to answer, plus talking to my clients regularly.
In between all these I somehow manage to add in about 2 – 3 meetings in person, and on a show day I’ll leave work, head straight out and catch a couple of artists depending on the agenda. Hectic but love it!
WiMN: What do you wish artists knew about working with a publicist?
FB: I wish artists knew how to manage expectations better. Also, that we do the outreach, have the relationships, but can’t guarantee anyone to write about you or invite you to record a session or premiere your song/video.
You’re hiring us because of our connections/reputations and strong trust we’ve developed with the media. Money can’t buy that!
WiMN: What have been some of your biggest challenges?
FB: Staying up on all the technology advancements, keeping relevant, making sure my database is always current and up-to-date. Also managing lists/contacts. I have over 10,000 outlets/writers in my database compiled of DJ’s, programmers, talent bookers, writers, stringers, journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, VJ’s, tour press, bloggers, podcasters, syndication, social media/content creators, TV producers, show segments. This doesn’t even include my peers – other publicists, labels, promoters, talent buyers/ bookers at venues, festivals, sync and music supervisors, brands and overall industry.
Other challenges include traveling to conferences. When you work as an entrepreneur/boutique, you have to really pick and choose which events and travel you can budget for.
Also going after key accounts. You’re always up against at least three other pubs and firms. In fact, I just lost out on two potential clients and not because I wasn’t cut out for it, but more because they decided to go in a different direction. I can’t let it get to me; have to keep it moving. Keep it scrolling, as the kids say.
WiMN: What made you choose to work in PR? Did you have an “Aha moment?”
FB: I don’t think I chose PR; it was thrust upon me. I’d always done marketing and radio promo with other partners and for record companies, and then one day when I got let go from EMI, Mike Stuto, who used to book a popular NYC venue called Brownie’s, contacted me out of the blue and asked if I’d like to be recommended for an indie label that was a start-up looking for a publicist. I totally winged it. I convinced the label owner that I could do the job and guess what… The job was mine!
I guess my “aha moment” came when all the major labels tried to steal me asking my boss if they could take me for a bigger offer, but he would always tell them I’m under contracts which definitely wasn’t the case. Boy, did I learn from my naïveté.
WiMN: Tell us about your Efficacy web series…what got it started and what is your goal?
FB: My Efficacy Web Series really started back in 2008; wasn’t really sure what I was doing with YouTube back then. It was an afterthought, but I kind of wish I would have latched on to it then and really got it going as fast-forward to now, and I’d probably be making a serious living as a content creator. Well, we can’t be good at everything.
I started the series to really give a platform and spotlight to creative folks who weren’t getting any light on other outlets or mediums. I wanted to shine light and give a deeper lens into the artists’ career – their hobbies and other interests outside the music.
I called it Efficacy as a play on words with my company name The Bloom Effect – – the Effect- -Efficacy meaning to create a ‘desired effect’. It just clicked and I’ve kept it ever since.
I really need to step it up now, as the company who has been monetizing and marketing my channel –IND Music Network – a great group of folks, just got bought up by LiveNation TV, so my channel is in that network now. I congratulated IND Music Network, and they had mentioned they’re trimming their channels, so I was praying that they wouldn’t cut me loose! As it stands, I have nothing to worry about – whew.
I have about 158 Webisodes- that’s a lot of content. Some of the clips are super creative.
WiMN: How can our readers participate in the series?
FB: Your readers can easily participate. Have them reach out to me and I’ll send them an outline and instructions and we’ll get it going!
WiMN: What other projects are you working on that you’d like folks to know about?
FB: Other projects in the works:
- The Zombies come back for a West coast tour.
- Releasing this awesome project from Bruce Sudano called With Angels on a Carousel.
- Setting up Hollis Brown for a big splash at Americana Music Festival in Nashville + hopefully Reeperbahn and a serious tour in Europe this Fall.
- Identifying partners for the new Water Seed project ‘We Are Stars,’ and always looking for the next hot act or brand to represent.
- I’m also doing a lot of speaking engagements this summer.
- I’m working on 3 books – yep, I know that sounds rather ambitious but it’s accurate.
- I’m looking to play more of an educator role with some adjunct classes I’ll be teaching at Brooklyn Campus at LIU.
- Had this dream to produce a free-standing International Hip Hop Festival. Looking to secure partners/sponsors within the next 12 months and really make this a reality for 2018 in the desired City of Oakland, Calif.
WiMN: Do you have advice for other women in the music industry out there?
FB: Just follow your heart, live your dream and work hard, but also form alliances with other strong women.
Find a couple of mentors, do some mentoring yourself and make sure these men are on your side, too. Find those men who champion women and empower them – they’re definitely out there.
Put a great team together and learn how to follow your gut and instinct, which usually is always right. Don’t undersell yourself and don’t let them intimidate you! Know your self-worth.