Ask The Experts – Q&A

Here is your chance to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the music business. Check out industry professionals answers to some frequently asked questions. If you are a high school or college student with questions, send them to with “Ask The Experts” in the subject.

Karen Taylor
Jill Scott. Herbie Hancock. Dianne Reeves. Musiq Soulchild. D’Angelo. These are just some of the stars whose careers and public images have been shaped by Karen Taylor-Bass, partner of TaylorMade Media. Currently, Karen is a media coach and public relations expert.

Q: What is PR, Public Relations, Publicity?
A: “PR” was the big buzz word for 2005. PR is short for public relations? According to Webster’s Dictionary – Public Relations is relations with the general public as through publicity; specifically those functions of a corporation, organization, etc. concerned with attempting to create a favorable public opinion for itself. In other words: creating a favorable opinion while dealing with the public and garnering exposure. Publicity is any information, promotional material, etc. which brings a person, place, product or cause to the notice of the public…also, the work or business of preparing and disseminating such material. Publicize… is to give publicity to, draw public attention to… As a publicist for recording artists, I made sure that the public knew about what my artists were doing by sending out their bio, press kits, press releases, and media alerts. I was also responsible for getting them interviews on television, in magazines, and as many other media outlets as possible.

Visit for additional information on public relations, upcoming workshops, books, and our student mentor program.

Mister Mann Frisby
Mister Mann Frisby has had an active writing career as author of “Blinking Red Light” and “Wifebeater”, former staff writer at Philadelphia Daily News, and contributor to ESPN Magazine and Upscale. His latest book “Holla Back…But Listen First: A Life Guide for Young Black Men” is in stores now.

Q: What is the 1st step for a high school student interested in writing for a magazine or newspaper?
A: If you are interested in a career in journalism the first thing you should do is research your options. Use the Internet and library to find journalism workshops and programs in the city. For instance, the Philadelphia Daily News has a program called Urban Journalism Workshop (UJW) that runs every summer. Sixteen aspiring journalists and photographers are chosen from local high schools for the rigorous two-week program. Ask your guidance counselor about UJW and other programs that can get your feet wet.

Also, if your high school has a newspaper make sure that you join and become an active staff member. Keep in mind that the most important thing that you can offer a potential employer are your clips. The more you write the better. And PLEASE don’t limit yourself to only writing about hip-hop and R&B. You want to try your hand at writing about sports, politics, and current events as well to show that you have range.|

The process of becoming a journalist began for me as an 11th grader at Overbrook High School. I tell you that so that you will all keep in mind how much of a hustle has to go into writing in order to succeed in the business. All of the work paid off for me, as I was only the second intern in the history of the Daily News to be offered a full-time staff writing position.
So to all of you I say, let’s get it!

Dre & Vidal
Grammy Award winning producers Dre & Vidal’s tracks can be heard on releases for Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Kirk Franklin, Destiny’s Child, Alicia Keys, Young Buck, Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake, and Glenn Lewis. Recently Dre & Vidal have delivered hit singles for Usher (“Caught Up”) and Ciara (“Oh”).

Q: What is the first piece of equipment I should buy if I want to be a producer?
A: We suggest you get a keyboard first. We use a Korg Triton keyboard right now. A drum machine would be next so you can have a way to sequence and make your beats. You can get a MPC 1000 for about $800. To start out you can buy all of your equipment used either online from E-bay or at a pawn shop. Remember, it is important for a producer to learn to write music and play instruments. We started out as musicians and have learned to play every instrument. As producers we don’t just make beats, we are responsible for every aspect of the song from the beginning to the end. The more you know, the better producer you will be.

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