Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, DMX, and Dionne Warwick all have something in common—they’ve had the privilege of being advised by PR guru, industry veteran, and founder of Double XXposure Media Relations, Angelo Ellerbee.
Known as the Henry Higgins of Hip-Hop, Ellerbee has been credited with saving, revitalizing, grooming, and steering the careers of some of the top artists we know and love today.
In his most recent venture, Ellerbee placed 46 years of acquired entertainment industry knowledge in his new book, Ask Angelo, where he shares advice, stories, and insider tips on the industry that we about hear so much, but know so little about.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Ellerbee for the inside scoop.
Black Enterprise: What, exactly, are artists asking you for when they come to you?
Ellerbee: The who, the what, the when, where and why of, particularly, the music business and how to navigate the many roadblocks and circuitous routes on the path to success.
What advice do artists seek the most from you?
How to get fame and make that money, if they’re new to the game, and how to stay in it and maintain some relevance, if they are more established in the business.
What is the primary PR nightmare mistake most artists tend to make?
Not investing in themselves and presenting a less than impressive public image. Scared money seldom makes any in this business and to expect me to use your iPhone selfie for your promotional imaging is ridiculous. Another, which I heavily address in my book, is being unprepared for an interview and unaware of how to present yourself in one.
What do most successful artists have in common?
A tenacity that goes way beyond the first few failures, and a team of not ‘yes men’ but ‘success men’ (and women)—people who enable your best and disable your potential worse.
When, in your opinion, is an artist ready for the industry and potential success?
When they accept that the success they envision may not be what is handed out in the industry, and if it is, there will be costs. When they’ve tallied up those costs and know what they are willing to spend when it comes to body, mind, and spirit. Then hit GO.
To what do you attribute the success of your media relations company, Double XXposure?
My clients and their willingness to entrust me with the PR or management aspects of their careers. Also, my unfailing decision to deliver the best to those same clients.
What is the most profound insight you’ve personally gained from 46 years in the industry?
The tenets of loyalty vs. disloyalty. I have seen much of both in that time.
What inspired you to write a book detailing your experiences?
You know, the music industry has changed into almost a whole new animal and I am one of the ones who got to watch it go from analog to digital, from no videos to mostly videos, and I got to see massive, legendary success stories unfold. I did it as a black, gay, Newark,[New Jersey]-born male with zero chance for my own success—and in a reputedly homophobic genre such as rap most of the time. Now if that doesn’t belong in a book, what does?
If you could offer the most pertinent advice to an aspiring artist, what would that be?
Know what you’re getting into; it’s a business and a game. The game has uniformed players on the field, and until you understand what the business entails you’ll seldom become a player—you’ll only get played.
Gain industry insight of your own when you Ask Angelo.