We often see the works of various soca artistes buzzing around social media, on television, in the newspaper and pretty much as many places as they can appear, but, do you ever wonder about the great minds behind the artistes?
For a little over 10 years, Adanna Asson has been an entertainment publicist working behind the scenes of some of our favourite soca artistes such as Kerwin Du Bois, Patrice Roberts, Marvay, Voice, Farmer Nappy, Ricky T and Adanna Roberts. With her role involving the overseeing of the public image and all media relations of the artiste, she has a huge amount of responsibility on her hands. You might be wondering what exactly does Adanna have that makes her so great in the job, right? Simply put, she has the passion, patience and communication skills – the ability to speak, understand and write. She is tech-savvy and has a great understanding of social media and how best it can be utilised. She tells us that as a child, she was always opinionated, expressive and chatty. Those qualities have paid off in her adult career, speaking and writing to uphold that which is important to her clients and their public image.
“As I grew older I also realised that I had a knack for writing. At some stage, my love for music and the arts developed and I mentioned to a friend one day that I wanted to start a print magazine. That idea disappeared after I realised that it would not have been possible for me, financially. While chatting with her, she asked me why I wanted to start the magazine and I explained that I had a desire to help artistes tell their stories and help them gain traction on a broader scale.”
Adanna attests that it was that friend, Natasha Noel, who gave her the entrance into the field through an internship at her company. “My first published press release was one that I wrote for one of her company’s projects and I still remember how I felt. I also remember the day that she told me to Google myself and I found that I received placements in online publications. I was on top of the world.” Although Adanna knew she isn’t quite sure what exactly got her so interested in the field of PR, she knew that she wanted to be great at whatever she did and more importantly, she wanted that career path to be a representation of who she is as a person. “I wanted to be passionate about it and I wanted to love every bit of it and here I am.”
Now Adanna has her own company called Creativa Media PR (CMPR) that she describes as being both enjoyable and challenging. “I had CMPR for quite some years but I was really comfortable working behind the scenes until I made the decision to dive in fully after being made redundant from my full-time job in December 2016. After some thought, I just decided that a fair and honest attempt to do CMPR seriously should occur and I moved with that attitude.” In spite of the challenges in finding her voice and being perfectly comfortable with non-conformity, she doesn’t deny the joy in being able to see a project through and being able to deliver on any promises made to a client. “Once a client is happy, then so am I.”
When asked what’s her career highlight to date, Adanna recalled two unforgettable incidents –
“I remember sitting with my mom, Wendy Asson, and telling her that I was absolutely certain I wanted to take a chance on myself and not go back in the world of 8 am to 4 pm work. She was apprehensive and like any good mother, she spoke to me about the pros and cons. Fast forward to a few weeks later, I came back from Jamaica after going on a gig with Patrice and I get to my room and there is an envelope with my name on my bed. I opened it and it was a postcard from my mom. It was basically an endorsement of my decision and encouragement to follow through along with some money which she placed in the card. Talk about tears, I cried so hard. At that moment, any doubt that I had disappeared and all was well in my world. It was one of the most memorable gestures.
The second highlight would be the first time I received a payment for my services. I remember being extremely nervous to quote a price and when I got paid I felt like…my worth is my worth. It wasn’t about the money it was about respect for the work that I delivered.”
Although she is a woman in a male-dominated industry, Adanna believes that in any job you have to prove yourself. While some people believe entertainment PR is all glamour she mentions the countless sleepless nights, conflict resolutions and sacrifices that are all very real. “Sometimes people would see you at an event or working with a popular personality and assume that being in close proximity to a celebrity is all that the job requires but it is more than that”
Adanna continues to work behind the scenes, passionately bringing the stories and lives of many artistes to live for fans to see and love. Although the job isn’t easy she encourages young women who may be interested in the field to “be authentic and be you.” She said, “I believe in equipping myself with the appropriate tools for the trade and I advise the same. I have an AAS in Journalism & PR and a BA in Media and Communications, countless certificates in Social media management and Business Fundamentals. Learn your trade, it will get you far.”