10 Questions with ... Cindy Heath
May 12, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Cindy Heath first got her start in the music business at RCA Records Nashville working in radio promotion and later sales and marketing. After joining Disney's Lyric Street Records in 2005 as the label's head of PR, she founded Monarch Publicity in 2010. Heath was an honoree at 2013's Music Row "Rising Women on the Row" ceremony. She holds an M.B.A. from Belmont University.
1) In 2010, you started your own PR firm, Monarch Publicity. Can you tell us a little about your firm and what you do?
Monarch Publicity is an entertainment-focused boutique PR firm comprised of myself, Heather Conley and Katherine Cook. We've taken our more than 35 years combined publicity, consumer marketing, sales and radio promotions experience to collaborate with our music, film and corporate clients to realize their vision and transform their careers. By helping make their dreams come true it makes my own dreams come true every day.
2) Prior to starting your own company, you spent many years at Lyric Street Records-can you tell us a few great memories from that experience?
If it weren't for Lyric Street's Randy Goodman and Greg McCarn taking a chance on me as their Director, Publicity, I wouldn't have the opportunity I have today with Monarch Publicity. Lyric Street was then and remains today a close family and we make it a point to stay in touch and see each other regularly. I have so many great memories of my time at Lyric Street Records, including a crazy late-night stop at Jimmy's Corner Bar in NYC with Chris Palmer and a day at Disneyland with the entire LSR crew. I also met one of my very best friends and Monarch Publicity business partner, Heather Conley.
3) How do you feel social media plays a role in publicity in the music industry?
Social media has transformed the way we approach PR in the music industry as a truly personal way to engage, activate and expand an artist's audience. One great example is the ACM campaign to announce the 2013 awards date and hosts. In my opinion, they took a non-traditional approach and it paid off in a big way by creating a big splash and increasing their audience. I also feel it's important for PR firms to have a presence on socials as well. While we are primarily driving traffic to our clients' own pages, it's yet another method for sharing their message.
4) You also work with a nonprofit known as The Shalom Foundation. Could you tell us a little about your work with them?
The Shalom Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to demonstrating Christian values while providing humanitarian aid to children and their families living in extreme poverty. The organization provides educational opportunities for children and adults, essential food and clean water for the malnourished, and medical assistance for basic healthcare and critical care needs through The Moore Pediatric Surgery Center in Guatemala City. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to witness their work first-hand and it was life-changing, both for myself and the families they are helping in Guatemala. We work with them to raise awareness for the Shalom Foundation's work and story here in the United States.
5) In your opinion, what are some of the major successes of Monarch Publicity in the last couple years?
I would say Monarch Publicity's biggest success is building a strong and diverse team who is incredibly passionate about our clients and strive to go above-and-beyond. We've helped develop and deliver our clients' stories to a broad audience and enjoyed celebrating 'firsts' with each and every one. And we've also taken on some unique projects, including movie PR and marketing, which have both challenged and developed our skill sets. I'm also proud of the time we take to give back to the community through volunteering.
6) You moved to Nashville to begin your career in the music industry. How would you say your life has changed since you took that step in your life?
This has been my dream since I visited Nashville on my 16th birthday and realized there was an entire business behind the music I heard on the radio everyday. It was that moment that I realized I wanted to work on music row. I moved to Nashville almost seventeen years ago and I'm still in awe that I'm here and that I get to make a living doing something I love so much. I can't imagine anything else!
7) You work with Country artists, but what other genres of music and artists do you tend to listen to?
I grew up on wide array of sounds including musical theater and symphonic music, but didn't really start listening to country until my late teens. I still listen to a little bit of everything, from Al Green to Yo-Yo Ma to Céu.
8) What do you find is the best way for your clients to interact with their fans?
One of the great things about country music artists is their genuine ability to remain true to themselves and relate to their fans. There are so many great ways to do this, everything from an honest message to being active in engaging with fans through socials, CMA Music Festival and M&G opportunities.
9) How do you see your company, Monarch Publicity, moving forward in the next 5 years?
Ah the dreaded job interview question! Over the next five years I would like to see Monarch Publicity continue to create new 'firsts' for our clients while tackling new challenges and expanding to offer marketing specific support to our menu of services.
10) If you could give any advice to someone wanting a career in the music industry, what would it be?
Network, volunteer for industry events, regularly review the trade media outlets, listen to music, attend live events, work harder than you think possible and treat others with kindness and respect.
1. What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
While it wouldn't qualify as a 'guilty pleasure' it may surprise most people that I am obsessed with The Walking Dead.
2. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
It sounds like a cop out but I'm really happy with my life and everything I get to see and do on a regular basis so I think I'm set!
3. You recently ran a half marathon in Nashville. Do you plan to run any this year or again in the future?
I'm getting married this fall so I'm not sure I'll have the extra time to train for a half-marathon again this summer, but I do want to try a Zombie run (see bonus question #1).