Our latest exclusive interview is with Margaret Tra, an Australian writer and publicist (Stimulated Media) and director of Stimulate Your Soul, a Hip Hop, Soul and RnB website. We connected with Margaret a few weeks ago and needless to say, we hit it off immediately due to our mutual love of DOPE music. We have some things cooking that I can't get into yet, but I can tell you about our Q&A with Margaret below as we discussed who she thinks will be the Australian version of Drake, how she got to this point as a globetrotting entrepreneur, what prompted her to create Stimulate Your Soul and Stimulated Media, and much more.
Enjoy our exclusive interview with Margaret Tra and then go to the Stimulate Your Soul website for the latest and greatest in Hip-Hop and urban music, and follow her on social media. Lastly, be sure to read her newly published article "5 Tips For How To Get A Music Blogger's Attention".
Who do you think will be the Australian rap artist to break through in 2018 and gain an international audience? In other words, who is the Australian Drake?
Sampa The Great, hands-down. She’s already garnered international success and toured a bit of Europe already. I think she’s on the cusp of breaking-out even more this year. I followed her journey from the beginning, when I first saw her opening for a friend of mine’s gig I knew straight away, this lady is going to be big. Fast-forward a few years later and she’s progressed so well. Her lyrical content has gotten more deep, more meaningful and her production process has upped the ante. She’s the future of hip hop in Australia and I can place all my bets on her that she’ll kill it in the music industry.
What do you enjoy most about Hip-Hop, or urban music in general?
I got into hip hop a bit later in life, yes when I was younger I loved Biggie and Tupac, but then in my teen years I went full into electro. I wasn’t liking the rap that I was hearing, but then people started introducing me to old school rap. Like The Pharcyde, De La Soul, Dilla and ATCQ. I was a bit behind, so excuse my late pass but once I heard them it was all over. I was in love. I love the way it makes me feel free, happy and in the moment. No other genre has that affect on me and I feel so privileged to be working in the hip hop industry.
Tell us how you got to this point as a business woman and international globetrotter.
It first started when I was working at a B2B (Business to Business) media company. The content was bland, and I found myself going to gigs afterwork. From being at the back watching to then meeting the artists’ themselves was a truly life-changing experience for me. They were actually real people just like us. Normal. Actually I found that they wanted us to treat them normal. Which is why I still have these wonderful who were once contacts now I can happily call my friends. I always wanted to be a music journalist but I never felt like that would be a reality. So I thought now that I can actually speak to them, why don’t I just create a blog. There wasn’t an urban/underground hip hop blog in Oz so I thought that’s my niche. It was nerve wracking and I thought who is going to ever take me seriously. But I did it, 7 years ago. From there things just kicked-off over the years, my blog garnered attention then people were asking me to manage them and do PR for them. So I thought, I’d try it. That’s my motto always, just try it, if it fits it fits, if not - let it go. Luckily for me, it fit. Really well, that I established a PR company called Stimulated Media, and have worked on so many tours and releases both locally and internationally. Working for the likes of R.A The Rugged Man, Brother Ali, The Pharcyde, Big Daddy Kane and so many artists’ I admired. With the travelling the world part. We live in a world where we don’t even call anyone anymore. So I noticed that when I was in Sydney I wasn’t having any meetings, my clients all referred to me via email and trusted me to get the work done. So even though, now I am currently sat on the seaside of Turkey and it seems like I am on holidays, I am actually working 3 tours and on a single release. I can’t really complain.
What prompted you to create Stimulate Your Soul and Stimulated Media?
I was sick of seeing mainstream artists’ get exposure and the indie artist get no love at all. I wanted to create a platform to help musicians get their music out there to their audience without paying an arm and a leg. That’s why I created the blog, and in many ways that’s why I created the PR company. I see so many artists’ fall down the hole because they have no idea how to get there music out there. When they see what a good publicist can do, they notice that their music is really being heard and their happiness makes me happy. That truly is the end goal isn’t it?
Who has been your favorite interviewee thus far? Why?
That’s a tough question, and really one that I never know how to answer. I think it would have to say Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde. I’ve met him before and I just asked for an interview, had to have been 7 years ago now. Wow, I am old (laughs). He’s just a really humble guy and honestly has helped me grow as a creative as well.
What advice do you have for an artist who may be seeking PR or management representation from a firm such as yours? How will they know they are ready?
It’s always good to do your research, with any publicist, you have to make sure it is the right one for you. Make sure they take artists’ that are in-line with your style of music, and it’s always good to get references or recommendations from people as well. And also make sure that they are honest with you, if a media doesn’t dig your music, ask them why and if they tell you the truth, that’s a good thing. I never sugarcoat anything to my artists, I give them advice on how to brand themselves and make sure they know what they are getting into. The media can be a pretty ugly world, but if you’re working together it really can be incredible.
You’re ready for a publicist when you’re ready to take your music to the next level. If you have no idea how to get your music out there or how to reach an audience it’s always good to get a publicist. Sure you can do it yourself, but sometimes it’s just nice to leave the creative stuff and management and PR stuff separately. It can be pretty draining to do it altogether yourself.