Welcome to our Industry Insider series, where we talk to music biz experts at all levels to find out what they do, what they look for in artists, and what they suggest to set themselves up for success.
Judy Miller Silverman, owner of MotormouthMedia, is a PR veteran over twenty years old under his belt. Who is his portfolio of underground music scene?Thunder cat, Forest Ivory, And Autechre, To name a few – for whom Motormouth has worked on events, record releases and beyond. Motormouth representatives are second to none because they reliably kill it when it comes to making valuable online copies and column inch drums for their clients. We reach out to Silverman to discuss the paths he has explored and what he does for a successful band in his eyes.
Spotify for Artists: Describe what you do and give an overview of how you got there.
Judy Miller Silverman: I run a boutique PR agency, and we’ve always focused on promoting music and projects on the left. We work with albums and bands, events, festivals, brands and even museums and art establishments, creating their projects for media coverage. I really started to get into music around 14 or 15. My friend’s mother was cold enough to take us from Barb to LA to some concert; He took us Siuksi and flute, Relieve, And Worship Shows. When we were 16, we used to go to underground clubs to do shows and use fake IDs. When I was in college, I started writing for fanzine and music magazines. That’s when I started communicating with the preachers. They will add me to the mailing list and mail me cassettes and records and call me or use my AOL email to invite me to the show. I thought what they did was a great thing.
[So] In college, I was a major at PR and continued writing until I took my first internship at Mercury Records in Los Angeles. In the nineties, I took a job as an associate director of PR at RCA Records in New York City, where I spent almost a year. [Then] A friend connected me with a preacher named Brian Boombari, and he started motormouth on his own, and we progressed so well that I came back to LA and came as a partner. It was a scary endeavor, but he was an electronic-music expert and we both had a great love for strange underground things. Within a year our small company was doing well – we were removing money and working on an interesting project, when he decided to leave for a new job, and the company left to me. I took it and continued the legacy, building rosters over the years that we started – my own tastes and [Motormouth] Really early leftfield is heavily involved in the electronic music and indie music scene.
Motormouth Media courtesy of Thundercat Photo
Is there an artist who has inspired you to do this as a career?
I don’t think any one artist has sparked my career. The things I liked were one of a kind – e.g. Soft cells, Bowhouse, And Pleasure section– And how I started research [they] How they came and how they came to the magazine. It was early, when I was still quite young. I read all the liner notes and books on the music business and bands, since all the things I was interested in were before the internet. I read Spin Cover-to-cover when it is turned on. I hung around our local indie record store and dug into the import departments and asked lots of questions. In the preview, it took a lot of work to figure things out, and a lot of letter-writing – the actual mailed letters to the magazines I wanted to write about, and of course later, to potential employers.
So what are you looking for in the artist you want to work with?
We like to work with artists because we like them. We are emotional! We like to protest genres and have worked deeply over the years in electronic, indie, R&B, hip-hop, world, Latin and other micro-genres. [We ask]: How does it feel? Who among us here likes this, and do we think we can do better? We can also look at social, labels, streams, fanbases and other metrics – but almost always, that’s why we don’t like working with artists. We have long-standing relationships with labels and managers and agents that we believe we also have great projects to mention.
Neneh Cherry photo by Claire Shieland
We love art and music, and when art is combined with music. [And] We take a special interest in working with strong and cool women, always a blessing. I really loved it all the time Patty Smith And [got] To work with her and Kevin Shields *Coral Sea *, Which was beautiful. Not everyone on the staff always likes the same thing, and that’s great too – I always want people to find what they like and get a niche. It has to be good and have press appeal – a myriad of intangibles like the band’s style, having really original music, creating music in situations that are unique or just interesting or an interesting back story.
What is the biggest tool for an artist in 2019 from your perspective?
I think artists can do a lot for themselves in this age. When I started, there were no blogs and the internet, and we had to do research and call people and play to see and watch mail music because you couldn’t send music digitally. Now, the information to succeed is freely accessible. You can find editors, playlists, labels, managers. The problem is, many artists are moving too fast, expecting instant results and not getting out of there and playing and traveling and working long hours in the DIY state.
What is the best advice for you at the beginning of any artist?
My best advice is: do what you can for yourself before hiring a preacher, and don’t email a preacher that you want to get unsigned and a press to draw a label – it’s a cart before the horse. Promote your work locally and we’re here for you when you have a project.