A client on American Idol? After spending my career in mostly business to business public relations, marketing communications and more recently content marketing for the chemical manufacturing industry, I now have a client who is a very talented singer and songwriter. But that is not the point of the story. The point is to introduce an extremely bright, talented young person who at the age of 16 was organizing national publicity for a new song. Not a cover of a song by someone else but an original tune. A new song she had not just performed but had helped write. Her name is Mary Desmond. You can read more about her in the release below. The surprise (and frankly source of pride) for me was how I came to know her and what I learned from her.
Last summer I had just started getting serious about consulting on a full-time basis and it was slow going. Anyone who transitions from employee to entrepreneur will tell you that this is not an easy change. To get the ball rolling, I had done several things to introduce the business including press announcements and even some advertising on Google. One afternoon my phone rang. A nice young lady on the other end asked if did press releases? Yes, I do! She described a new song she had co-written with another songwriter and that they were looking for publicity. The release was for their song ‘Lily’ which has a touching story behind it, but we’ll save that for another time.
I wrote the release, put together a media list and went to work. The news was reasonably well received by the entertainment media, and her You Tube hits on the song jumped from a few hundred to over 10,000 in just a couple of days. Noteworthy results for an original song by accomplished artists, though neither was a household name.
A few days later I spoke to Mary again about her schedule and the possibilities for her to make time for some interviews. She replied, “I have school during that time.” School, of course. I wondered aloud where she went to school, thinking it was probably UCLA, USC or Cal Berkely. “I go to Mission Viejo High in Orange County,” Mary said.
During this time, Mary had paid her bill on time and was easy to work with and understood the value of publicity. That she was a wise beyond her years as a 16-year-old was what was interesting. I do not know what anyone else was doing when they were 16, but organizing public relations campaigns for my career was not on my list. So what can the rest of us learn from this story? The value of focus and determination.
Mary has a single vision and goals for her career. She works hard on achieving those goals every day. While she experiences occasional rejection, she shakes it off and keeps going. Of course, she is talented and has a great family and those things count. But what counts more, in my opinion at least, is just the sheer grit, sticktoitiveness and optimism a girl in southern California has for her future. That is remarkable.
Since then we have had the chance to work on several things together, including work to help benefit the California March of Dimes. Along the way her father asked me to help promote the non-profit “High Hopes Head Injury Program” where he and Mary’s mother both work. They too achieve great results and inspire me as well.
Regardless of how things turn out for Mary on American Idol, my opinion is that young Miss Desmond will be extremely successful. I appreciate the example she sets and hope others will as well. And yes, a guy who spent most of his adult life doing public relations work for a really big chemical company, now has a client on American Idol. Isn’t that cool!