Emily Tan's 30 year career as a music publicist is equally impressive as the roster of A-list talent she has represented. Her work ethic and values are amongst the highest in the industry. Here is to many more successful years of business and friendship between our respective business! Congratulations Emily!
EDM.com: We at EDM.com don't normally profile publicists or PR agencies, but there's been quite a bit of buzz lately on your agency, EMILY TAN Media Relations, hitting its 30-year anniversary this summer. That's quite a feat!
EMILY TAN: Yes, thank you! It's been an eventful trip and I'm still riding this wave.
EDM.com: We're sure you've seen some crazy things over the three decades you've been in business. Can you share some of the lasting lessons you've learned during this time?
EMILY TAN: I'll save those memories for my book! Don't worry, I'm not publishing a book [laughs]. I can actually sense the collective sigh-of-relief from certain members of the music industry right now.
In all seriousness, one thing that sticks with me is that everyone deserves to be treated with civility. Whether you're a LJ, the headlining DJ or the security guard assigned to the stage, I'll always look you in the eye (if only for a few fleeting moments), take your hand and try to connect with you. If you could just bottle the euphoria of sharing the perfect live set with a sea of strangers, I'm convinced there would be no more war.
EDM.com: You probably won't want to dish, but can you recall some of the most wild scenarios you've witnessed or took part in, even if you don't name names?
EMILY TAN: Some of the most exciting people I've had the honor of working with are coincidentally also the most humble. They aren't interesting to me because they're well-known; they're successful because they're magnetic, talented, charismatic in some way. You can take a look at my PR agency's roster—past and present—and you'd realize that it's impossible to name names. Each one was and is special in his or her own way.
EDM.com: We've heard a number of young journalists and aspiring publicists describe you as being "intimidating," and I witnessed a gaggle of young bloggers confess just that to you at a pre-pandemic festival. Does it surprise you that some people find you intimidating?
EMILY TAN: I've had people tell me that after they've gotten to know me, yeah. It always surprises me. I guess I give off that vibe at times, though I don't mean to. It's just that I can be really focused and kind of intense at times. If you don't know me and you're just watching me from afar, that intensity can come-off as intimidating, I guess. I'm actually a pussycat inside a tiger's body.
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EDM.com: Our editorial team is very familiar with you and your agency from having worked together over the years and it's quite clear that you have no intention of slowing down. How do you see the future of PR and the media landscape, given the current climate?
EMILY TAN: PR is not going away so long as there's independent media and an open society. That said, I think it's just technology that will change. In the future, we'll have microchips implanted into our skin or directly grafted into our neural networks. That's how we'll receive news and communicate. If that's the scenario, journalists and editors will have an even greater responsibility to publish honest, well-researched editorial, as that content will land directly into people's brains.
EDM.com: The music industry can be downright cutthroat and it's long been hyper-competitive. What are a couple of things you try to do in order to set yourself apart?
EMILY TAN: I'm a very hard worker and though I don't take myself too seriously, I take what I do seriously. I'm a nerd. Anyone who knows me knows that I give my all. I'm a very passionate person. If something interests me, I'm very focused. I'm very impatient, though. All I can do is be myself. I don't know any other way to be.
EDM.com: We've read some positively glowing testimonials on your website. They're all the more impressive considering the people giving those testimonials. We've also noticed a number of your contemporaries posting supportive comments on your Facebook page—like what a personal inspiration you've been to them. Was there ever anyone you looked up to as a role model early on in your career?
EMILY TAN: Yes, actually. Gabriella Forte. We both worked at Giorgio Armani Corporation back in the '90s. She taught me a lot.
EDM.com: What else sustains your passion, outside of work and career? What do you do to maintain a healthy "work-life" balance?
EMILY TAN: I eat a very healthy diet high in fresh organic fruits and vegetables. I exercise daily (even back when I was traveling constantly). I get plenty of sleep. I don't drink any alcohol, no drugs, no smoking of any kind, no junk food, no added sugar or salt, no cheese. I'm allergic to people who create drama and I avoid them if I can. I don't do idle chit-chat. I try to convene with nature daily. I live my life remembering that karma literally means action or intention. Karma is real, people! I try my best to put out the energy into the world I want to attract: an empathetic, loving, positive energy. Work is what I do; it's not who I am.
EDM.com: Looking towards the future, what are you most excited about? What are your big-picture goals and dreams for the future?
EMILY TAN: I'm living my dream. There is no past or future; everything is just now. All of my life's nows have been enriching, learning experiences that keep layering on top of each other to create a richer, deeper soul. Every experience has value because each one offers a lesson. I feel very grateful every day. There is so much beauty in this world. It's not always where you'd expect to find it.
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