10 Questions with ... Jules Wortman
April 3, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Jules Wortman serves as president and owner of Wortman Works Media & Marketing in Nashville, TN. Ms. Wortman is a veteran public relations and marketing strategist who has developed a number of national campaigns for record labels, authors, music and sports clients. She has headed PR and Artist Development departments at major record labels including Warner Bros. and MCA. An industry leader, Wortman has served on the board of the Country Music Association (CMA) and been an active member of Leadership Music and National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS). She is currently serving on the TJ Martell Foundation, Greater Gallatin, Gallatin Chamber of Commerce board, Hendersonville Rotary and Forward Sumner Economic Council boards, as well as a member of the 2010 Leadership Middle Tennessee class.
Her clients include or have included Chevrolet, Country Music Television (CMT), The American Country Awards, The Dove Awards, Rodney Atkins, Third Day, Red Light Management, Big Kenny, John Rich, Tim McGraw, gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee, Phil Vassar, She DAISY and others. Wortman has previously worked with Capitol Records, Sony Music Nashville, Warner Bros. Records, Bigger Picture Group, The McClymonts, Heidi Newfield, Time Life Music, Adams & Reece, Kid Rock, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Charlie Daniels Band, Uncle Kracker, Pat Green, John Michael Montgomery, Big & Rich, Rita Coolidge, award-winning songwriters Gretchen Peters and Tom Douglas, Scene Three Media Works alliance, and more.
Jules Wortman is a recognized expert in the field, having been tapped as a talking head for CNN and CMT. View her on CNN's "Road Warriors" here!
1) So let's start by talking about your company Wortman Works Media & Marketing. What are you excited about with the company in 2011?
Lots and lots--a new year for one. Rodney Atkins has a monster slam dunker coming soon. The McClymonts are ready to hit the US running this summer. Sean Patrick McGraw keeps building steam with Little Engine. My management client THE CLEVLERYS: Wow, they are something to see and the heat is way turned up. I am excited about many other things as well, including other ventures with people and my new store and design center Jewelweed Design Studio and Mercantile. 2011 is a great place to be.
2) Tell us, what about publicity draws you in and what do you think makes you such a good fit for this line of work?
I love the art of building a story, enhancing a client's place in the space and working in this business. I knew that I always wanted to do this and majored in it in college, so it was a natural for me to get going. I have been very fortunate in my career to get to work with so many amazing talents, events, charities, foundations, etc...that keep me going and growing as a PR strategist. I feel the fit suits me for many reasons, mainly, it just fits my personality.
3) Your experience includes heading up PR and A&D departments at companies like Warner Bros. and MCA. What are some of the projects you were proudest to work with while there?
Wow, there are quite a few. At Atlantic, starting the PR department with a phone and nothing else (I guess that is all you really had in the early 90s) to make contact, ha. Watching a label erupt to selling over 20 million records in less than 4 years, including the fun and unique ride of John Michael Montgomery was a highlight. David Lee Murphy (I still sing "Dust on the Bottle" at the top of my lungs) at MCA, the Mavericks and others. I truly feel that setting up the Big & Rich campaign has been a highlight, along with Blake Shelton. Both of those acts really grew and were both so different. Working with such exceptional talent and watching it grow is just so awesome. I will have to say that when I approached Kid Rock at the Grammy's in Faith Hill's dressing room saying that we needed to be working "Picture" and then helping that come into play was way cool. Once WBR started working the single it garnered 4x platinum in breakneck speed. Kinda cool in my book, a kinda random approach, but that is how a lot gets done in the music biz.
4) What made you want to branch out on your own?
A nice severance package, incoming phone calls and desire to have my own company.
5) What would you say is the most important thing you have learned since you started your company?
To understand how to work closely with your business manager, understand all the costs involved in running a 'real' company and the art of a clean, concise proposal. To respect your employees, your clients and your neighbors and understand how to manage your client roster. I am sure there is a lot more, but these are the first things that popped into the brain.
6) You work with several foundations including the TJ Martell Foundation and the Greater Gallatin and Forward Sumner Economic Council boards. Tell us about your passion for giving back.
I believe giving back is the key to life. Most of it should be "silent" giving, but I have always worked on a charitable pro-bono event, project or board a year. Wortman Works donates its services when asked for non-profit and worthy foundations annually and it is just a thing we do and should do. I love my community as well, and have always been active personally and professionally, so that is why I am involved in community groups and always will be.
7) Do you think that the mainstream media is more or less open to Country music than they were when you were starting in the business? Why do you think that is?
I started in the early 90s in Nashville pr, so I was kind of spoiled because it was the Brooks, Jackson, Strait, etc. era and the media was all a flitter over what was happening in Nashville. It was still a challenge to dispel the image they wanted to create, but it did have a good run, then it went south, literally. Today, we are fortunate again that the music is mainstream and Country artists are rocking all around the world. The phone calls are being answered more frequently.
8) There seem like there are so many new artists in Country music and beyond. How does a new artist get noticed?
Tough question, but with tenacity, great music, a solid plan to reach the fan. And, a good team behind them that understands the ends and outs and when needed to get that call made for distribution, etc.
9) What is your favorite part of your job and what do you find to be the most difficult?
Favorite: helping people fulfill their dreams Difficult: helping people fulfill their dreams
10) Tell us about your latest project, the Jewelweed Design Studio and Mercantile. What is this new business all about?
Here is the story : With a dream and a strong prayer, Jules always wanted to open a store that would offer fellowship, beauty and desires. In 2009, in her public relations practice, her client Sean Patrick McGraw was busy touring the country with superstar Toby Keith. She eventually met his dynamic sister, Lizzie, and a strong friendship forged into what is now considered a partnership between Jewelweed Design Studio & Mercantile and the well-established Venice, California based Tumbleweed and Dandelion. Of like spirit, Wortman and McGraw discussed their goals, their dreams, fulfilled and yet to be. Jules always wanted to open a store on a small town square akin to the very successful store that McGraw has been running for years on famed Abbott-Kenney. Her deep-rooted talent in design and custom furniture, keen eye and soulful insight has touched many. Some of her clients are fashion and movie screen icons, such as Julia Roberts, Brittany Spears, Sharon and Ozzy Osborne, VJ Martha Quinn, plus numerous other celebrities. Never mind the fact that she is one of the top "staging" and design experts and has clients all over the world, she is a contributing editor for Romantic Home and has been a regular on HGTV, to name just a few of her accomplishments in this arena. This, coupled with her desire to help promote her very talented singer/songwriter/guitar playing brother, Sean Patrick McGraw, is what brought this team together. To meet drive, determination, honesty and love of life and a strong faith-based foundation staring back at you, you know it is a divine intervention for this team to be bi-coastal with their talents and dreams
1) What is your favorite place to travel and what should we see there?
Love Spain, what a romantic country, favorite city "Toledo.' Relax and enjoy - Grace Bay on Turks and Caicos.
2) You list "rescuing animals" among your hobbies. Tell us about your rescue dog Sadie.
Well, I had another rescue, Abby, who was my little angel face and she suddenly passed a few years ago. I am involved with a place called SPA, Safe Place for Animals and we started to ABBY FOUNDATION to help place animals, raise funds for the center and for medical needs for the animals. Diana Townsend is the owner and I called her last year and said I am ready for a new baby and that next day she called and had Sadie waiting in the Sumner county Pound. My husband and I named her Sadie, the country gurl. She was a day away from going away, if you know what I mean. Man, o man, what a blessing she is to us and to everyone that meets her.
3) As an avid reader, give us some picks we should check out.
Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" is a must. I love some beach trash, anything by Jackie Collins and biographies of groundbreakers. Presidents, first ladies, etc. I really like my e-reader. Those thing are the bomb.