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article imageInterview with Emily Tan of Emily Tan Media Relations Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jan 17, 2016 in Music
Acclaimed publicist Emily Tan of Emily Tan Media Relations chatted with Digital Journal about her illustrious career in music and entertainment.
What do you love most about electronic dance music?
EMILY TAN: It's not just electronic dance music that I have a passion for; it's all music. The ability to create, absorb and be emotionally moved by music is what sets us apart from lower life forms, I'm convinced. There's nothing that stirs my soul more and has literally made me weep, as….music. There's one phrase in Bruce Springsteen's "Racing In The Street" that gets me every time. U2 does the same for me on some cuts more than others.
Can tracks be as powerful as songs?
EMILY TAN: Does music need to have lyrics to be moving? Of course not. Like many of my contemporaries, I grew-up on rock 'n roll and later graduated to more subversive genres of music before settling on what’s known today as electronic dance music. (Please don't call it "EDM." That term makes me cringe though I understand it only refers to the current incarnation of electronic dance music. Remember when all music made using computers was called "techno" or "house music"? Something about the term EDM, I find so cheesy).
Emily Tan with former client  Tommy Lee (of Motley Crüe). Said Tan  “In this photo  Tommy’s cru...
Emily Tan with former client, Tommy Lee (of Motley Crüe). Said Tan, “In this photo, Tommy’s crushing my head so hard that my glasses were cracking. Tommy’s much mellower nowadays since he’s no longer drinking. But man, those were fun times.”
Rukes.com
Gun to your head, name some of your favorite tracks and/or albums of all time. Go!
EMILY TAN: Oh, shit. You’re putting me on the spot! Off the top-of-my-head, a few of my all-time favorite recordings include (in alphabetical order by artist's first name):
• Armin van Buuren f.t Jan Vayne, “Serenity” (track)
• BT, “Flaming June” (track)
• Drive-By Truckers, “Goddamn Lonely Love” (track)
• Jam & Spoon, Triptomatic Fairytales (album)
• John Digweed, MMII (album)
• John Lennon, “Imagine” (track)
• Josh Wink, “Higher State of Consciousness” (track)
• Laurent Garnier, “The Man With the Red Face” (track)
• Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (album)
• N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton (album)
• Paul Oakenfold, Perfecto Presents: Another World (album)
(Full disclosure: My voice is sampled on that album in five separate occasions. It’s very emotional when I return to listen to it, even now).
• Paul van Dyk, The Politics of Dancing (album)
• Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (album)
• Sasha & John Digweed, Renaissance: The Mix Collection (Volume 1) (album)
• U2, “Where The Streets Have No Name” (track)
• William Orbit, “Barber’s Adagio For Strings” (track)
Oh, hell. I could go on for days! Let's just stop here. I could never understand how artists could answer the question, “You're stranded on a deserted island with only three albums. Which ones would you bring?” That scenario would ensure that I would find a way off that island. How can you choose? There is so much brilliant music and I haven't even touched upon classical, country or punk rock.
Giuseppe Ottaviani  a client of Emily Tan Media Relations.
Giuseppe Ottaviani, a client of Emily Tan Media Relations.
Twenty4Seven Management
Does being an effective music publicist necessitate being a harsh music critic?
EMILY TAN: I don’t want to be one of those music critics who says, "They don’t make dance music like they used to," but……I think it’s important to educate oneself about music history and the artists and producers who helped pave the way. It’s important to be knowledgeable about the thing you’re publicizing, or at least have an opinion about it. It’s a pity that someone like David Bowie has to die prematurely for mainstream society to collectively go, “Oh, wow….he influenced so many other bands that came after him.” If you earn a living as a rock critic, I’d ask you: “Do you know who Robert Leroy Johnson is? Do you know why it’s important that you should?”
What do you love about the art of DJing?
EMILY TAN: Funny you should ask. It’s that the live DJ has the entire history of recorded music – as well as music created or sampled or written on-the-fly – in his or her arsenal during a performance! With today’s technology, a disc-jockey literally has infinite music sources. Compare that with a band playing only their own music; they basically end up performing the same, finite repertoire of songs/tracks by rote.
Wouter Asselman  Benno De Goeij  Michael Seeverens  Emily Tan  Sander Reneman  Armin van Buuren  San...
Wouter Asselman, Benno De Goeij, Michael Seeverens, Emily Tan, Sander Reneman, Armin van Buuren, Sander ter Braak on the helipad at Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tom Donoghue
How long have you been a publicist?
EMILY TAN: This marks my 26th year in the workforce. There's nothing I haven't seen. You can't discourage me. I fight for my artists. This industry is my extended family and I plan to live well past 100 and definitely work 'til the day I die. I love life with a burning passion. I love people. I love what I do.
Sylvia Tosun  a client of Emily Tan Media Relations
Sylvia Tosun, a client of Emily Tan Media Relations
Hyuna Shin
What do you enjoy most about the PR industry?
EMILY TAN: PR (aka “public relations” or media relations) is simply the communications industry. The crazy thing is, I was a super introvert as a kid. I was a total bookworm nerd. Now I’m the complete opposite. I will talk to anybody and I can find something fascinating in any human I meet, from a Nobel laureate to a lucid homeless person. No human is individually significant; we are all part of a much bigger process. I suppose what I love most is that I do what I want.
Emily Tan (with right hand on neighbor’s shoulder) with assembled bloggers and Andrew Rayel (foreg...
Emily Tan (with right hand on neighbor’s shoulder) with assembled bloggers and Andrew Rayel (foreground in white T-shirt) a client of Emily Tan Media Relations, during a typical press day at the Dream Downtown Hotel, New York.
Phoebe Kwong
What is the hardest part of your job?
EMILY TAN: Time management. It’s also the most important.
What are some of your proudest professional moments over the years?
EMILY TAN: There are way too many to list here. We’ll have to do a follow-up article. [laughs]
What is the secret to a good press release?
EMILY TAN: Being an excellent writer, having perfect grammar, and knowing your target audience.
Sarah Charness  a client of Emily Tan Media Relations
Sarah Charness, a client of Emily Tan Media Relations
Jordan Tamchin
Aside from all the rave reviews and articles I've published for you over the years, what else motivates you from day to day? [laughs]
EMILY TAN: Getting to work with people like you and getting you drunk! [laughs] But seriously, a heartfelt gesture of appreciation will sustain me for ages. It’s truly an honor to work for the clients I work for. Some of the hugest compliments I've ever received were the ones spoken about me to third parties, those which were never intended for my ears. That's true love.
How do others in this industry see you?
EMILY TAN: I really don’t care what other people think of me. I would kill to protect those I love. My friends mean the world to me. I’ve had colleagues and clients describe me – in a complimentary way – as a, “PR assassin,” someone who works to “lethal effect.” I’ve been affectionately called a “pit bull,” “a beast,” “a killer.” I don’t know what it is about the homicidal imagery, but maybe I should consider changing my company name. When I’m deployed, I leave it all on the field.
Pictured  left-to-right: former San Diego Chargers defensive linebacker  “Lights Out” Shawne Mer...
Pictured, left-to-right: former San Diego Chargers defensive linebacker, “Lights Out” Shawne Merriman, Armin van Buuren (a client of Emily Tan Media Relations), a friend, Emily Tan, Sander Reneman at the 140th Preakness Stakes at the finishing line at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, where American Pharoah won the second leg of horse-racing’s triple crown.
Maryland Racing.com
What advice do you have for aspiring publicists?
EMILY TAN: There are no short-cuts. Ask yourself when you’re at your lowest point: “How badly do you want this?” Be a complete human being. It’s not enough to strive to be the “best XXX you can be.” You need to contribute something of value to this universe beyond your profession.
MaRLo  a client of Emily Tan Media Relations.
MaRLo, a client of Emily Tan Media Relations.
Marlo Music
Last words before we wrap this interview?
EMILY TAN: I’m convinced that music can help heal the world. When you stand on a festival field with 50,000 people at TomorrowLand in Belgium or Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and you see people of all nationalities smiling and waving flags of their nations above their heads while all dancing together, not speaking a word of the same language…that’s when you sense that humanity will be alright. John Lennon had the right idea. I’m not naive, but…..imagine that?
For more information, visit her LinkedIn page.
More about Emily Tan, media relations, Publicist
 
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