Featured: Music Industry, PR, entrepreneurship
Meet Nancy Lu: lead storyteller of NYC-based Fancy PR, lover of music, and BHP 2009 alum. After graduating with a BHP and Marketing degree from UT, she delved into writing for magazines, coordinating events, and running point on press for up-and-coming musicians. We recently got to visit with Nancy about Fancy PR and her experience in the music industry.
You have held a host of social media, PR, and editing positions in the music industry. Can you walk me through how you got into this industry and got to where you are today?
If you’re the self-starter type, there can be low barriers to entry to the music industry. I’ve typically erred toward playing it safe when it comes to life decisions and my career was no different. I first toyed with the idea of a summer internship at a major label, but at the time, most internship openings were unpaid, and you could only apply through a company portal, as opposed to Recruit McCombs. I didn’t hear back from any of them. I took that as a sign that music wasn’t the path for me, and subsequently picked up internships at a research company, GM, and finally an advertising agency. Upon graduation, I started working for a healthcare consulting company. I thought I would love it, but ultimately the job wasn’t for me!
While working full-time as a healthcare consultant, I also maintained a music blog with a fellow BHPer, John Michael Cassetta, and found it to be a soothing outlet from the day job that I hated. I eventually started covering music at a few other places, and that transitioned into some event planning for those outlets as well. At this point, I had the “aha! moment” realization that I needed to actually give the only thing I’ve consistently cared about the old college try. So, I moved to New York. Through a friend of mine, I was able to secure a summer internship at a music publicity company. Fast forward through moonlighting as a cocktail waitress, running a pop up shop for a couple months, and working as a social media manager at a photo and illustration agency, to finally being offered the opportunity to do press in-house at an artist management company.
One big takeaway I have from my journey is that there is no one way, right way, or right time to break into the music industry. If there’s something in your life that you’re deeply passionate about, go for it! Hard work and gratitude will get you there and even if it doesn’t work out, now you know and you’ll have no regrets.
What is Fancy PR and what work are you doing there?
We’re a music publicity company that started in May 2014, based in New York City and L.A., and we handle promotions for music artists and events. As a publicist, my job is to tell the artist’s story in a compelling and meaningful way. When we are considering onboarding clients, we weigh whether or not we think that artist will have longevity in the industry, and whether we are personally passionate about their music. I am very much a believer in teamwork and in the adage that no man is an island, so it’s nice to have my partner, Nick, to bounce ideas off of, and to have another perspective.
What inspired you to jump into the deep end and start FancyPR?
I found myself in a part-time PR position barely able to pay rent. The experience and team were wonderful, but with almost no disposable income nor promise of full-time employment in the immediate future. I was looking to change my fortune. I interviewed at a few different places but none of those opportunities panned out. After several months of interviewing and becoming more frustrated, I decided to break off on my own. It was not my first choice, but having the support of friends made it possible. I feel very fortunate that Fancy PR has been able to stay afloat for this long because it definitely takes a village! I think entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing, but only with a solid business plan in place, because like everything else, there are pros and cons. It’s important to live in the present but also be mindful of the future. Most importantly, you have to have a solid support structure of friends and family.
How do you think your BHP and Marketing degrees from UT aided you in what you are doing?
The most helpful class in BHP for me was BA 101H. It might seem like a simple thing, but writing emails is seriously an art! Accounting was also useful because knowing basic bookkeeping is so important when it comes to keeping track of finances. Business owner or not, everyone should know the golden rules of accounting! Overall, being around people who were driven and crazy intelligent in BHP felt constantly motivating. I hope that motivation is something I’ve been able to carry through to my professional career.
What kind of activities were you involved in while at UT?
I was involved with HBA, Senate of College Councils, Mortar Board, and Orange Jackets. HBA was the first organization I joined as a freshman and was a part of for all four years. These student organizations gave me an idea of what it’s like to work within a team structure of my peers, delegating and also handling a multitude of tasks. I also worked as fundraising coordinator at KVRX for a year, and it was an amazing outlet for me music wise at the time.