23 Feb Jaime Sloane Discusses Her Career Experience
By Danielle Ilag
*This interview is older and was in our Issue 66 magazine.
Jaime Sloane is a public relations, marketing, and communications professional who grew up around the music and entertainment industries. Naturally, growing up she always wanted to be a music journalist so she started writing concert reviews at 14-years-old. As a music publicist, she does more than what is expected within her role. Luckily she thrives on chaos so her work is always interesting.
Through her company, JSloane Creative, her clients shine as they’re given the opportunities to share what they want their music to convey, as well as who they are as a person. Jaime has more than a decade of experience spearheading campaigns and she is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon!
What is it about the electronic dance scene that made you fall in love with it?
When I started college in Gainesville, Florida, the electronic music scene was exploding. I had always been more of an indie music fan, but I attended a Steve Aoki concert my second night at the University of Florida and immediately got hooked on electronic music. I love to dance and groove, so instead of hanging out at bars after class, I was front row at electronic shows every week. There’s nothing better than that feeling of getting lost in the beat.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Growing up, I always wanted to be a music journalist, ever since watching Almost Famous as a kid. In high school, I joined the newspaper and became the entertainment editor. I have been sneaking into local shows with fake IDs since I was 14 years old to write those concert reviews.
I was lucky enough to attend college in a city where electronic music was taking off. I quickly got involved with the local promoters and started helping to run marketing and promo for shows. During my freshman year of school, we brought Skrillex, Tiesto, Alesso, and Wolfgang Gartner. Every week I was seeing a headlining DJ and loving every minute of it.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you first decided to work in the music industry?
I grew up around the music and entertainment industries, so nothing really surprises me anymore. My mom was the marketing director for one of the largest country music festivals in the country and I helped her run the meet and greets before I was even in my teens. My dad was a sales manager for various TV and radio stations. I pretty much knew exactly what I was getting myself into and I thrive on the chaos.
During festival season, what is your least favorite aspect of your job?
Although I love to travel to different festivals around the world and handle onsite press logistics, it definitely takes a toll on my personal life and relationships. When you’re out of town 10 or 20 weekends a year, you miss a lot of birthdays, events, milestones, and just general quality time with friends and family. Luckily, a ton of my close friends also work in electronic music, so I get to bond and hang with my friends onsite.
Is there anything you’ve done for work on a daily basis that others might be surprised about?
As a music publicist, I wear a lot of hats. Traditionally, my role is to secure coverage and promotional opportunities for my clients. With that being said, I also often receive requests outside of the typical realm of garnering editorial write-ups and that’s actually one of the most fun parts of the job!
I’ve helped clients commission remixes, advised on branding and social media strategy, pitched unsigned records to my record label contacts, created opportunities for doing social good for several charities, and a ton of other undertakings that a standard publicist usually wouldn’t be involved with. It keeps my work interesting and allows me to flex my creative muscles.
What habits have you formed that have either directly or indirectly helped you become a global communications manager?
I’m a chatterbox and I love to forge new connections with the people around me. When you’re working a festival backstage, you can meet hundreds of people a day!
Years ago, I started a note on my phone of the people I meet at events, writing down a few words about who they are, what they do, and what we spoke about. Then when I get back to the office, I send them a quick note saying that I enjoyed meeting them and I’d love to keep in touch.
Those organizational and follow-up skills are key to fostering and maintaining meaningful relationships.
Tell me more about JSloane Creative and how you came up with this. How would you define this brand?
JSloane Creative is the culmination of years of learning about the many needs of clients. I would say JSloane has a total “can-do” mindset. If there’s something we don’t do in-house, we know resources that can get it done. We never say “we can’t”… we say, “how can we?”
This agency takes my love of writing, storytelling, and overall creativity and pairs them with an artistic sense and a feel for what will work. While I have specialized in music because of my years of experience, I have been taking on non-music clients, too. Every time I learn something, my client roster gets the benefit of the breadth of my experience.
Who are some artists that you’ve promoted independently on JSloane Creative and what are you looking for in an artist to promote?
Current and previous clients include artists like Gareth Emery, Yolanda Be Cool, and Motez, as well as record labels such as Sweat It Out and Space Yacht.
I tend to represent artists who have unique backgrounds and interesting narratives because that makes it easier and more fun to pitch them for coverage! PR is a great story-telling tool for an artist. It’s an opportunity for the artist to share their experiences and background, their inspirations, and the message they want their music to convey.
When I start a new campaign, I conduct an ‘artist discovery’ informational interview so that I can identify compelling storylines that will help communicate the client’s vision. Oftentimes, an artist doesn’t even know that they’re sitting on a goldmine of a fascinating backstory. It’s super rewarding to help an artist get their message across in an engaging way.
What do you think was your biggest struggle to get to where you are today? How did you overcome this?
I’m the type of person who enjoys doing a million things at once. My brainstorm sessions are super fun and creative, but I’m often left with too many ideas to synthesize and effectively run to successful completion. So I’d say my biggest struggle has been thwarting distracting, grandiose thoughts, and instead focusing on the task at hand. I am a bit of a multitasking madwoman.
You have led promotional campaigns for so many great artists. What are the three best tips you can share to be able to work with the top artists in the industry?
- Speak to artists like they’re real people; don’t put them on a pedestal
- Don’t let big egos get to you
- Foster relationships with your colleagues and keep those relationships alive by checking in, not just when you need something
How important is social media?
Social media is incredibly important! It’s a great way for artists to directly connect with their audience, provide context for their releases, and set the stage for what’s to come. It’s a chance for their authenticity to shine through.
What is the biggest impact you hope to make in the dance music culture?
I’m definitely more of a behind-the-scenes publicist because I like to let my clients shine and take center stage. I hope I can make an impact by helping artists to define and hone their narratives, then securing coverage that allows artists to speak their truths into the world.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
The highlight of my career so far was when I spearheaded press efforts at Ultra Japan. I oversaw the onsite media area and liaised with nearly 100 music journalists from around the world. It was a blast coordinating onsite interviews between the artists and writers, then watching as the artists would charge onto the stage ready to rock!
Give an example of a time in your career where you took a risk and failed and one where you took a risk and succeeded?
As a publicist, I take risks every day by pitching writers I don’t know. Sending blind pitches that sometimes fall on deaf ears can be stressful. Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting by my computer just waiting for a reply.
Before COVID-19 kneecapped the concert industry, I used to connect with writers by taking them out for drinks or inviting them to exclusive shows but now I’m left to send emails out into the ether and hope for the best!
A lot of times, I think the story I’m pitching is newsworthy, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t connect with the writers. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you have to report back to your client that their story didn’t receive the coverage you felt it deserved, but that’s the risk you take by putting yourself out there!
The biggest risk I took that led me to succeed would be when I took my job at Ultra Music Festival. I had been working in LA at a fantastic music marketing agency for six months when I got the call from Ultra that they wanted to create an in-house Global Communications Manager position for me.
I was in a great position socially and financially in LA, so it was tough to give up the life I had lived for 6 years and relocate to Miami. But it was ultimately the right call because I thrived running onsite press for Ultra’s various international festivals and handling our global messaging. Working with Ultra allowed me to expand my public relations experience from national to worldwide, and provided me with invaluable experience.
How do you define success in what you do?
To me, success means loving what you do while being in a comfortable financial situation and maintaining a work-life balance.
I have so many friends who run themselves ragged daily working in the music industry for pennies, and I get it because I’ve been there. But I’ve realized that at the end of the day, no matter how passionate we are about our clients and our work, it’s still just a job, and we’re all replaceable. It’s important to recognize that campaign wins and successful pitches don’t automatically equate to genuine happiness.
Success for me is being able to run creative projects that sustain my lifestyle, while simultaneously fostering interpersonal relationships and taking time to read, hike, ski, dance, and laugh.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make something of themselves in the music industry?
Develop meaningful connections with the people you come in contact with! The music industry is small, so it’s important to have peers who will recommend you for job opportunities or help you in various capacities.
The music industry is all about relationships because we all want to work with people we like. Be kind to everyone you meet because your paths will definitely cross again down the road.
What inspires you daily?
I’m inspired by my clients’ resilience during this entire pandemic. So many artists and labels I represent lost a majority of their income when touring revenue shut down. Instead of giving up, artists have pivoted into alternative creative avenues such as streaming on Twitch for tips, selling merch and NFTs, and even launching their own record labels. It’s incredibly moving to see how this industry has not only survived, but thrived, and it pushes me to work harder every day.
What is one thing that has given you a sense of purpose during this difficult time we’re still living through?
I used to live at the airport, sometimes hitting 15 festivals each year. That’s been my norm for nearly a decade. I didn’t even realize how much time I spent out of town until the pandemic hit. Being home has allowed me to focus on growing my own PR business and getting my health right. Instead of enjoying free drinks backstage and hungover binging on fast food, I’m eating healthier and exercising a ton more, although my favorite workout is still sweating it out on the dance floor.
What are your main impulses to write about music?
I’ve been writing about music for 15 years, and I love to tell stories that matter. When I pick artists to write about as a freelance journalist or to promote as a publicist, I try to select acts that are putting out meaningful music that touches your soul. Of course, some music is better suited for the club than it is for emotionally introspective listening. With those artists, I will still write about them if I feel their background and message is impactful or inspiring.
What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your career?
When I started as Head of PR at Dim Mak, I was still quite green and a bit intimidated. Two months after stepping into the role, I was tasked with spearheading press efforts for Dim Mak showcases at both South By Southwest and Miami Music Week. Since the conferences run back-to-back, I flew straight from LA, to Austin for SXSW, then finally to Miami on little sleep.
It was a daunting task for a 22-year-old, but I quickly rose to the occasion and sorted out incredible coverage with crossover outlets including Vice, MTV, Billboard, LadyGunn, and more. After successfully executing the press at both showcases, I knew I was meant to be a publicist.