Interview with Philly Brentnall, Social Media Maven at Bill Silva Entertainment and fan community manager for Jason Mraz
Meet, Philly! She’s the community manager for Jason Mraz’s fans! Pretty sweet, right? Check out my interview with her and watch Jason’s latest music video, “The Woman I Love“. (It’s been blaring on repeat from my computer for days now.)
What did you go to school for?
I studied Writing and Critical Gender Studies at UC San Diego.
How did you get your job running the fan community for Jason Mraz?
I met Jason in 2000 when I was on vacation in San Diego with my family. We first saw him play—entirely by chance—at an open mic night at Java Joe’s. Over the years he and my family kept in touch.
Two awesome women named Ashley and Andrea started a message board for Jason in 2002. They’d never met him or even seen him live before, but they discovered and loved his music through trading MP3s and asked me to get involved. I met Bill Silva, Jason’s manager, not long after, and he would check in with me from time to time to hear fan feedback on tour announcements or new music. I became the connection between Jason’s fan community and his management team, and when I graduated from UC San Diego, Bill was my first call. I loved the relationship we’d developed together with Jason’s fans and knew that I could use those connections to create new opportunities and experiences for everyone. And that’s one thing that I really respect about Bill: Those relationships between our artists’ fans and us are important to him. I’ve been working at Bill Silva Management ever since and my role has expanded to include digital and social strategy and community management for our artist roster.
Do you go on tour with the artists you work with? If so, what’s that like?
I don’t go on tour but I try to be present at as many shows as possible. When I was in college, social media allowed me to connect with Jason’s fans around the country. Now I have the resources and support to visit their hometowns when we have a show. I try to meet as many of our artists’ fans as possible; that’s one of my favorite parts of my job. It’s essentially street teaming, but a little more personal.
What’s the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on tour?
A few years ago Jason ended his summer tour at the Hollywood Bowl. It was his first headlining show there and Bill asked me to invite 100 of his super fans from around the world to join us; if they could get to Los Angeles, we gave them a tickets in the first three rows and an invitation to the after party. Amazingly, almost everyone made it. It was incredible to spend the show surrounded by familiar faces, some of whom I’d known through his fan community for ten years.
Is there a lot of pressure, knowing that one of your social media posts could reach 11.7 million fans?
It’s not pressure as much as it is accountability. I try to communicate with fans in ways that are relevant to them because there is so much information coming at them every day via social media. We’re conscious that Jason has a worldwide fan base and try to super serve his fans in a way that reflects that awareness.
Where do you see yourself and your career in ten years?
The thing that excites me most about what I do is the limitless possibility of technology and how it can enhance music. I think of what we were doing to promote Jason’s music ten years ago versus today and it’s incredible; who knows how we’ll be able to share and experience music in another ten years? I’m stoked to be a part of that.
What is your favorite venue you’ve been to with one of your artists?
Red Rocks in Colorado.
What’s your favorite song at the moment?
I love the new Tegan and Sara album. “I’m Not Your Hero” is probably my most-played track.
What advice would you give to young women who aspire to work in the music/ artists management space?
There are more women in the industry than you think and they’re not all stepping over one another to get to the top. I’ve met so many awesome women working in all areas of music, from management to marketing to promotion to touring to performance. And really, everything that I do with our artists’ fan communities applies to all relationships: Nurture them. Get out of your own way and be yourself and meet people. It’s a surprisingly small industry and you never know where those connections will lead you.
Follow Philly on Twitter – @shewhodaydreams or Bill Silva Management – @billsilvamgmt