Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 5/17/2021 – Tracy Lamourie is a high- profile international award-winning publicist also the Founder and Managing Director of Lamourie Media Inc., a Universal Women’s Network 2020 Woman of Inspiration Winner for the Women In Media award and the author of the upcoming book GET REPPED – Build Your Brand With Effective Public and Media Relations. She is a well-known long time advocate on a myriad of important worldwide issues and an award-winning international publicist working across industries from major entertainment projects to small businesses.
Are you seeing an influx of clients Post-COVID?
Truthfully, COVID didn’t have much of an effect on our work at Lamourie Media in terms of onboarding clients. Except for a couple of weeks in March when the world stopped while everyone everywhere stared at the TV news and tried to figure out what we were dealing with, we’ve had no shortage of clients across industries right through COVID. From the creatives – filmmakers, TV producers, actors, singer songwriters, musicians, artists and authors that make up the bulk of our original clientele to our added focus on empowering entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and helping them build their brands and their personal reputations for thought leadership.
Why are people coming to you today?
Word of mouth! Despite the economic and financial challenges many people are facing – or perhaps because of those challenges and changing circumstances, smart, strategic people across industries who are looking for ways to shine or to climb their way to success are realizing the intrinsic value of PR, publicity and earned media attention for whatever it is that they are trying to build. There’s a reason Bill Gates said if he was down to his last 100 dollars he would spend it on PR! So that’s why people who are thinking strategically are looking at earned media and PR instead of just advertising and marketing. Today’s audiences are sophisticated and aren’t impressed by messaging in ads they know you can buy. You can’t buy a reputation for thought leadership -that comes from mainstream, legit media seeing you as a source, quoting you on the regular. This builds brands, businesses, creative careers. Lamourie Media has developed a global reputation of our own – I myself have appeared on nearly 200 panels, podcasts, radio and TV shows in the last eight months alone — and industry watchers who have seen what we have done with our brand regularly reach out to us about projects. I am proud to say that ninety percent of our clientele is repeat business or referrals from previous clients.
You work with high-profile people in the entertainment world and small businesses. Is there synergy between them as it relates to PR?
Something increasingly important in this new landscape where so many have lost their livelihoods is – Differentiating yourself from the other guy – whether you’re in the creative arts in the Hollywood landscape in film or TV, whether you’re trying to be heard over the noise in the world of music, or whether you are an entrepreneur looking for investment or an executive on the corporate track. At Lamourie Media we are passionate about bringing deserving voices into the public realm, amplifying them, elevating and celebrating the important work that so many awesome people are doing across industries, around the globe – and we’re blessed that so many people continue to trust us to do that. Like I recently told Formidable Women magazine, in my eyes, every client that I agree to take on at Lamourie Media is a star in my eyes – no matter what it is they do – and it’s my job – and my passion – to make the rest of the world see that star quality in them, too.
What do you enjoy the most?
I love pretty much everything about my work at Lamourie Media – from the strategizing, to the networking to the VIP parties to the international travel but the best thing about it is the power I have to give other people a voice, to ensure that deserving voices are heard, to help a person realize their dreams and get where they want to go – whether its to bring their film Cannes or TIFF, to success in television, to bringing previously unknown artists to big industry players or to helping someone free themselves from their corporate nightmare as they build their dream that will support many. But what do I enjoy the most ? Let me take the focus away from my work for just a second on this one. Right now I’m incredibly lucky that (other than my parents) all the people I love the most live in my house! Our 28 year old daughter Haily just moved back in to the house where I live with my husband Dave Parkinson and our 17 year old son Cassidy, we’re thrilled she’s moving back in for awhile, along with our nearly son in law DJ, for the coming birth of their new baby after giving up her student apartment. So these days for the first time in years and who knows how long it will last, both kids are home, with the added bonus of our son-in-law to be – and we’re having a lot of fun planning for the baby! I was saying the other day I literally can’t remember the last time I held a baby – and that’s just sad! So what I am enjoying the most these days is family – bonding time with my daughter over mom to be stuff, hanging out with my son over pizza and episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy (he usually insists he puts my phone away in a funny role reversal!) And in a normal year, my husband and I really enjoy travel and our son seems to have picked up the travel bug as well! And then in terms of my quiet downtime on my own – at 2 or 3 AM you will often find me in a hot bubble bath smoking a fine indica and reading the latest issue of The New Yorker!
Can you share a few examples of campaigns that you are most proud of?
I’m so proud of so many – of all of the fantastic people I have had the pleasure to work with. Since this is the Hollywood Times, I’ll keep my answer mostly focused on entertainment projects. My continuing work with R & B artist Jimmy Dennis will forever be a highlight – it’s been four years this week that he was released from Death Row after 25 years as an innocent man, and today instead of speaking out trying to save his life, I get to tell people to download his incredible music on all streaming platforms. Hollywood industry folk who haven’t heard his name yet, should expect to hear it soon.
One of my first clients once I turned the skills I had learned in advocacy to my professional life, in my early freelance days, before we built Lamourie Public Relations which turned into Lamourie Media Inc, was Professor Angela Sadler-Williamson. Angela, not only an educator but now an award-winning filmmaker and author is the cousin of the Civil Rights icon, Rosa Parks. She hired me to do media work for her film My Life With Rosie – and it’s one of the most amazing moments of my professional life that I was privileged to sit among two rows of direct family members of Rosa Parks – someone who was like a myth, a hero to me – watching the screening of the documentary that you can now find on Amazon Prime, at the Detroit Film Festival – and if that wasn’t enough my name came up in the credits. I still can’t put into words what a true, true honor that was.
Discovering the incredibly talented, preternaturally mature then 13-year-old BOLU last year when she performed at an event in support of Black Lives Matter put on by my awesome friend and longtime client Kelly Addison of Kelly’s Green Lounge in the tiny town of Orono will also always be a highlight. Not only her incredible song Make It Right but her spirit truly were something the world needed last year and this year too – and seeing her develop now as a professional recording artist and the wonderful new music she is making after we got her on TV across Canada, in Australia and now as we begin to make inroads for her stateside. Kevin MacDonald, a Seattle radio host, said he thinks she will be huge in the USA, and I firmly believe when the right people hear her music and meet this brilliant, award-winning kid whose already made a huge impact in less than a year of public life she will find the place she deserves on any stage she wants to be on. By the way, I want to give Kelly at Kelly’s Green Lounge huge props for this, because the world would never have heard of Bolu this year if Kelly hadn’t put her on that stage. And by the way – check out the really cool stuff Kelly’s Green Lounge is doing . They totally pivoted during Covid from being just a brick and mortar space to what is fast becoming a canna themed TV channel, with lots more planned. I’m thrilled to be working with award winning new artist Count Klassy, who like me is based in both Toronto and Los Angeles – an exciting artist breaking barriers of homophobia and hip hop, with talent that crosses genres. One of my favorites is the canna friendly song GOOD VIBES, which Skunk magazine called a highlight of 2020 in terms of cannabis themed songs! We look forward to the world opening up with cross border travel being hassle free again so the two of us can do Beverly Hills and West Hollywood together since we didn’t know each other when we were last in LA! Flaev Beatz is an incredible new artist making a name for himself out of Atlanta, Georgia – his new video is fire, and he’s definitely another talent that I expect to see blow up, find his stuff on all music platforms – and you can also check out his podcast, We Don’t Play – he’s a music industry pro with professional business training so he really knows his stuff in all aspects of the game. Marc Chiasson out of Canada is a talented new musician client who is interested in music, made by musicians, playing musical instruments – the way artists did for decades before computers took over the game. His major interest is soundtracks and soundscapes – and I look forward to introducing him to Hollywood filmmakers to his work – he’s passionate about the marriage of music and movies.
It’s amazing to me that I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with important new musical artists, emerging artists – and also have had the chance to work to bring attention to the work of culturally and historically important artists of yesteryear. I was privileged to work with Document records this year – Document is a UK based storehouse of the most incredible music – over a century’s worth of American musical history, owned by the most beautiful couple, Gary and Gillian Atkinson, who are passionate about the music and the people who created it – and we’re talking some of the most well known music of our collective memory. They truly curate this history with the utmost love and respect for it. They’ve got a ton of fascinating projects going on and their blog is a storehouse of valuable knowledge – and anyone licensing music for film or TV should really check out their catalogue – and their incredible, important documentary film, Searching For Secret Heroes – “True story of how a young couple set off, in 1962, on a quest to make a pioneering film documentary about the blues in the harsh, segregated southern states of the USA.” And speaking of film, let me tell you a little about some of the projects that have got me really excited about my work in film and television! I’m working with some truly incredible film makers – so watch for my flaming red hair at the Academy Awards sometime soon – at least that’s the vision and the plan – and it would not surprise me even a little bit considering the caliber of the artists I’m working with!
One more on the documentary side, I’m really hoping more people in the US will soon see the incredible Canadian documentary Jacks Garage, tagged as the movie big pharma didn’t want you to see – but it’s one everyone really should see for a fascinating perspective on healing, cannabis, and cancer by the incredible documentary team of Kim Saltarski and Karen Wookey, who both have hugely impressive CVs in the world of film and TV. They’re also working on a documentary about an incredible group of people that call themselves MEND – serving, educating, and healing their community with cannabis. Kim has a lot of fascinating film projects past and present – an incredible documentary filmmaker passionate about the stories he tells – his work is really worth checking out! I couldn’t be more excited about the work of a brand new filmmaker I’m working with, George Atkinson of Effortless Films, UK. George had some involvement in Document Records’ Searching For Secret Heroes that I mentioned earlier – but his real passion is getting the incredible stories he has in his head on film where the world can see them – and the world certainly is responding positively already to his very first release, a hugely affecting, emotional short film called GRACE which has been getting huge response from the major industry players who have seen it so far – including kind words from one of the founders of a leading international film festival, and a big win – Best First Time Director from the prestigious European Cinematography Award – literally right out the gate, like two weeks after I saw it – and I was one of the first to see it! I’m hugely honored to be thanked in the credits. This is only the beginning of Atkinson’s career – industry watchers are agreeing with me that he’s going big time. He’s got some fascinating projects in the pipeline – the first that we started working on together, The Secret Of Svalbard – the intriguing, groundbreaking show that will answer the question “what does Svalbard near the North Pole have in common with famed 19th century inventor Nikola Tesla? We expect this series to develop a passionate fan base – I can’t wait until audiences can see it. We were also supposed to join George in New York City this spring – another trip that Covid nixed – to scout out locations for a feature film he’s got in mind that I think will really resonate with audiences.
Recently I started working with Timothy Allen Coons, a rising filmmaker and actor star out of New York who currently has three stunning films doing the film festival circuit, gathering high profile industry awards across North America from Toronto, Canada to Long Beach to Los Angeles to Oregon to Nashville – and even as far away as the United Kingdom, audiences and industry players are reacting extremely positively to Ezra and The Unicorn, Sixty Acres and a Mule and to the brand new Fable of The Hired Guns & The Woman Who Cried Witch. I know there is a feature profile of Timothy coming out soon in the Hollywood Times, so I’m excited for my friends and colleagues in Los Angeles to become more familiar with his work – he has a very distinctive vision and every one of his films is powerful. He’s as compelling an actor as he is a screenwriter and filmmaker.
On the African continent, I’m super proud to be working with Anita Erskine, one of Africa’s 100 Most Inspirational Women, and one of Ghanas 100 Most Powerful Women, an actress starring in a popular soap opera as well as hosting the sixth season of SHEROES Of Our Time. Not only am I doing PR and media work for this amazing international power woman and her projects but she has asked me to Executive Produce the coming international version of the series – hoping to interview high-profile women of African descent from around the world. We’re working on the plans for that now, it’s been delayed a bit by COVID and international travel restrictions as Anita prefers to be intimate and in person, not via Zoom!
In Canada I work with one of the country’s most famous broadcasters and television hosts – Steve Anthony has been familiar to Canadians for four decades as one of Much Music’s original VJs and morning TV – today we’re working on several projects together, some in entertainment, some in the exciting world of startups! Speaking of exciting startups – HiBnb also has a bit of a basis in the world of TV. It’s power woman founder, Elizabeth Becker, spent two successful decades in the industry – first in Canada where she was known on camera as a YTV host, and later behind the camera as a director, during which time she spent a few years living and working in Los Angeles before returning home to Canada where she ultimately decided her heart was in the emerging cannabis industry much more than it was in the world of TV. She told me for a news article one day, people tell you to do what you love in business, and that she realized that was cannabis – so she looked around for a way she could find her niche in the industry – and boy, did she ever hit on a brilliant idea when she thought of HiBnb! Essentially, HiBnb is challenging AirBnb for the niche cannabis market – and if you don’t understand how needed this is to the cannabis community, you’re likely not a cannabis consumer! Even non users are seeing the enormity of the impact of this idea on the potential billion dollar canna tourist market though – I’m so thrilled to tell you that last month Elizabeth and HiBnb won an important industry award for innovation and disruption in the short term rental space in the UK – a country where cannabis is not legal and stigma against it is still very strong – and investors are putting their money where their mouth is – though they are still looking for more, the company recently also celebrated their first half a million dollars in pre-seed funding. I wanted to mention the HiBnb story here, because the filmmaker behind Jack’s Garage is also looking at doing a documentary following Elizabeth’s journey to the top with this groundbreaking startup for TV. And, Hollywood friends – get at me if you want an invite to the star-studded launch party we’re hoping will be happening in L.A this Fall! Funnily enough, Steve Anthony, the major Canadian TV star I mentioned before owns Anthony’s Escapes, some super high end properties – one in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada, which has developed quite a reputation as the place to visit in Canada -and one in Mexico – and he’s listing the Canadian one on HiBnb – so you truly can get celebrity level accommodations on the site as well as easier on the wallet budget stays and everything in between! Anyway – that’s just a small glimpse into SOME of the projects we’re working on here at Lamourie Media! As you can see Covid hasn’t slowed us down a bit!
Is traveling back on for you? What are you looking forward to in the future?
I cannot wait to get back to Los Angeles. We’ll likely be doing a month or two at minimum every year in L.A on the other side of all this. Networking in Hollywood and Beverly Hills always turbo charges my business – and opens up doors for my clients – I make friends and connections everywhere I go – so I have to make sure to go there a lot to keep in the swing of industry things! I’ve also been told by different clients that there are trips to Ghana and to Mexico in my future, I’m still planning to get to New York with Effortless Films, and I’ll likely be back in Vegas for MJBizcon to keep my eye on developments in the international emerging cannabis industry, which will likely always be a passion. I have things to do, places to go, and people to see, but if I can put it all into two words it would be : PALM TREES.
Tell us about your upcoming book GET REPPED – Build Your Brand With Effective Public and Media Relations. Why is it so important for small businesses to start out with a PR strategy? (please share a few tips from your book) (Where can we find it?)
In my experience, 80 to 90 percent of solopreneurs or entrepreneurs heading small to medium sized businesses have literally never considered a PR firm to build their personal brands. At the corporate level, of course, the Communications Department or in-house publicist is a common thing – but that rarely translates to the entrepreneur. Even those in-house corporate communications departments, though, are focused only on old school press releases and media advisories. Again, often ignoring huge opportunities for big time media attention, and for the smaller media that can be just as effective in helping to build your reputation as a thought leader – and your customer base. Like my clients, I myself am frequently featured on high-profile panels and podcasts around the world and recently, the host of one of them made a great point when interviewing me on this topic recently. He said that as entrepreneurs and business owners, we are great at what we do – but “we don’t know what we don’t know .” He was so right! What he meant, is that we all have blind spots that we don’t even know we have. We often overlook things of great value to us, just because we don’t know about them. That struck a chord, because I am forever educating entrepreneurs of all kinds of the specific value of PR, public relations and media messaging – as it could pertain to their businesses and their personal “brands” as experts in their fields. After just six weeks of working together, one of my clients recently told me that I “changed her business and her life.” And when I asked in what ways, she said, you’ve made investors take us more seriously, and that even friends, family, past co workers started paying attention and saying things like, “it looks like you are doing well!” with that perception of success- because the successes are being seen – leading to more excitement around the brand and more success. In terms of tips – the number one thing to understand is the difference between advertorial – advertising – and editorial – being a source, of interest to the newsroom and reporters and podcasters. Learn the art of the pitch! If you have more time than money, you might want to try some of this yourself but remember that if not done well, it’s just as easy to burn bridges to those limited media outlets as it is to build them. So if you can, consider working with a publicist, even if it’s just for a month or so, so that you start to understand how you are presented, you get that pitch, and I promise your mind will be opened to all the amazing possibilities you’ve never seen or thought of before. I work internationally, so anyone ethical and awesome reading this who would like a little media attention can feel free to reach out to me to see if I think we’re a good fit! You can find GET REPPED soon on Proprietary Publishing’s page, on Amazon, and you’ll also be able to order personalized autographed copies at lamouriemeda.com – and if cross border travel is a thing again, I’d like to do a little L.A Launch party for my book too!
Share your thoughts on diversity and the media.
Diversity in general is something that we all need to be working on across industries, ensuring that we are conscious of and fighting barriers to entry for diverse populations – Black and Indigenous people, people from other countries and cultures, women in industries still dominated and controlled by men etc. And of course in the media – so I use all of my platforms, and any influence I have in boardrooms or on entertainment projects to advocate for diversity, equality and fairness. The entertainment industry, like all industries, is more powerful when diverse populations with different experiences are involved, bringing their talents and perspectives to the table, strengthening projects – and telling stories that we all need to hear.
You are very passionate about human rights. Tell us about Jimmy Dennis.
I wouldn’t be a publicist today if my husband Dave Parkinson and I hadn’t met Jimmy Dennis when we were 28 years old in 1998 – Jimmy Dennis was 27 years old and in his 5th year as a factually innocent man on death row in Pennsylvania. His story is an inspiring, enraging, precedent setting, incredible one – from death row to success today as an internationally recognized RnB artist – in Rolling Stone, BET, on SiriusXM, around the world. But it was a long hard, twenty year road when we were penniless young activists working entry level sales jobs, learning to make webpages (my husband ) and learning to write a press release (me) in order to tell the world about an innocent man they were trying to kill in Pennsylvania. He was ultimately released in 2017 and by that time we were international award winning publicists. We smile that we have literally been talking about Jimmy Dennis for 23 years – for the first 19 years desperately trying to attract the attention we hoped would save his life, and in recent years to say “Find his incredible music on all streaming platforms!” THAT’s a Hollywood story if I’ve ever heard one.
You were named as one of 500 Women Who Should be Recognized for their Achievement in Cannabis. Tell us about your work.
I already mentioned HiBnb, one of my current projects in the canna world….I really am thrilled about that one and the Los Angeles launch we’re planning with some big names and help from other true industry power women – from the world of film and TV and from the world of cannabis, so that’s something I’m really excited about right now! I’ve been working in the fast growing international cannabis industry since 2012, writing for various publications, representing a myriad of cannabis related clients : authors, signing doctors, activists, advocacy groups, infused brands, craft producers, canna celebrities, educators, makers of unique products , and more. I saw my role as unique – working with the media to ensure a positive representation of cannabis medicine, cannabis consumers and cannabis businesses has been a big part of my work, doing my part to reduce the stigma that developed from the “Reefer Madness” propaganda over a hundred misinformed years. I’m super proud to have been featured in the “Women Of Great Influence” issue of Cannabis themed Skunk Magazine and I was also referenced in Dana Larsen’s Illustrated History of Cannabis In Canada. I’ve spoken at O’Cannabiz Conference in Toronto and the Grow Up Conference and Expo in Niagara Falls and at Hempfest Canada’s Hamilton, the city near Toronto that I live in today when I’m not in Los Angeles! I also graduated from the North American College of Pharmaceutical Technology’s Educational Two Day Certificate Course on Medical Cannabis, Investment, Economic, License, Career Development & Current Regulations”. In 2019. I started developing a presence in the international cannabis marketplace with work in Jamaica and attending global cannabis conferences in Malta to focus on the European marketplace and Las Vegas for North America wide industry networking.
What message would you like to leave readers with?
I always say – you didn’t get this far to only get this far. And that goes no matter where you are in life – if you’ve found some success but you still have epic goals you want to reach – you can do it. You didn’t get here to stop now. And to those who might need a little encouragement, and that is a lot of us right now, including a lot of successful people wondering how the heck they are going to navigate the somewhat changed circumstances we’ve found ourselves in – keep going. If you are discouraged, if you don’t feel like a success, if you feel like jumping off a bridge – don’t do it. You’ve beat a lot, got through a lot, ignored those who tried to do you harm, you made it ! If you are reading this today you are a success, because, brother or sister, you are still standing, and that’s a WIN. Keep on going.
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