Mandy Parsons is one of the coolest people in the Christian music industry. Here’s why—after I chose to return to the world of journalism, specifically in the Christian music market, Mandy was one of the first publicists to help me out. Because of her, I was able to schedule reviews and interviews with some of the industry’s hottest artists for the youth ministry site I was working with at the time.
Then when I decided to start Backseat Writer, Mandy was incredibly supportive. Not only is she a great publicist to her clients, she takes the time to get to know the press people with whom she works.
One of the best in the business, Mandy’s been working as a publicist for 10 years. She launched her own independent public relations agency, Savvy Media Solutions, in 2004. Savvy Media provides exposure to both highly visible artists such as newsboys, Matthew West, Superchick, GRITS, and Britt Nicole, and solid record labels like Forefront Records, Credential Recordings, Sparrow Records, Inpop Records, and Revolution Art. Well-respected and always professional, it only made sense to ask Mandy to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer.
*How did you get your start working in publicity?
Upon graduating college I moved to Nashville to intern with Atlantic Records in its Christian music division. It was there that I met Melissa Hambrick, the label’s contracted independent publicist, who owned SpinCycle Public Relations. At the time, she needed part-time help with tour press for another client. I worked at my internship during the morning and for SpinCycle in the afternoons. After I completed my internship, SpinCycle hired me on full time. It was there that Melissa took me under her wing for what I would now describe as an apprenticeship. She taught me absolutely everything I needed to know about public relations.
*What are some of the fun perks of your job?
I love getting new music before it releases. Working and interacting with the artists is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as well.
* What is one misconception that people have about your job that drives you crazy?
A popular misconception among industry circles is that a successful publicity campaign is measured by the number of secured “big hits” (i.e. major network television appearances, high profile newspaper or magazine placements, etc., targeted to mass audiences). I would argue that the most effective campaigns are those that pursue multiple niche markets best served by the artist’s message/product. (side note: a great resource for those seeking to better understand the paradigm shift in present-day marketing and PR is The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott.)
*Share a crazy on-the-job story (the more chaotic, the better).
Any time I need to get a photo op with someone who is high profile I feel like a stalker. There was one instance when I waited outside Sean Hannity’s tour bus for six hours to get his photo with one of my clients. I literally had 60 seconds from when he left the venue to board the bus to get my shot.
*What’s on your desk at this moment? (Don’t clean it to answer this question!)
Ha, ha. Matthew West’s Something to Say CD and Sarah Reeves’ latest release, Sweet, Sweet Sound, a ton of post-it notes, the Associated Press Stylebook, message book of phone calls I need to return, stack of press clippings and magazines, marketing notes, my “middle- of- the- night- ideas” note pad, a book on web marketing.