This week’s theme is Leadership and Advocacy, where I’m going to be pulling back the curtain on how to build a celebrity brand.
To help me break this down so that you can garner these insights to incorporate into your own brand whatever stage it may be that you’re at on, whatever it is that you may be serving, I’m thrilled to be joined by my dear friend, multiple platinum musical artists Mia Martina, whose long list of hit songs include Beast, Latin Moon, Burning, Heartbreaker and Stereo Love.
She is also the co-author of an inspiring self-help book called ‘Boss Up Your Life: A Girl’s Guide to Her Dream Career’ and is a mentor to many girls and women who seek guidance on how to manifest their dream careers.
This is Part Two of our conversation:
Raj Girn: For anyone out there who feels like, when is it going to happen? When am I going to see success in my company? You just heard it right here from Mia. I mean, her very first song made her known everywhere around the world, but it wasn’t enough. It was the repetitiveness of success that actually created her brand from a known brand to celebrity status.
So let me ask you this then Mia, What is it about entertainment-centric celebrity status that makes them so irresistible to mass consumers that maybe other brands could tap into and borrow from a similar connection? Like, what are your thoughts there? Like, what is it?
Mia Martina: That’s a great question. It’s the energy. I feel it’s what you exude. It’s like you’re giving them the luxury, like the life. That joie de vivre. And they’re curious about that because it’s pop culture, right? They want to see you dressed up, dressed nice. They want to live in a fantasy with you. People want to escape. So they want to escape through you. In the end, I think that’s the best way to explain it.
So what you’re saying there is celebrity status from an entertainment brand perspective is an aspirational ideology.
It’s a chase for escape They want to escape everyday lives with you. That’s what I feel. That’s why they’re curious. They’re like, “Oh, what’s this girl doing? Oh, let’s see what she’s got going on today, because my life is so mundane I want to live vicariously through you.”
Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. So let me ask you this: If there’s anyone out there who is aspiring to go into the entertainment business, into the glamor industries, and perhaps those that are most commonly linked to celebrity status as we know it, what are the core ingredients that they need in place when starting off?
Be ready to work. Be ready to be consistent and extremely focused and make sure you leave your ego at home. That’s the best way I can put it. Because you’re there to serve the people at this point. Because if this is what you really want to be, you’re creating something for the people. So you really have to let your ego go. Leave it there at the door and just create and be consistent and constantly give them what they’re resonating with. And you can’t be all over the place. You have to pick a focus. And until that focus is starting to generate you income or even the known factor or people are starting to ask you for collaborations and things like that, you have got to stay consistent. You cannot drift away from your focus. Only when you reach success with your first focus is when you can start branching off into other things.
“You’re there to serve the people at this point. Because if this is what you really want to be, you’re creating something for the people. So you really have to let your ego go. Leave it there at the door and just create and be consistent and constantly give them what they’re resonating with.” ~ Mia Martina
I love what you just said there, Mia, because a lot of people try and put their hands in all kinds of things to try and see what will or will not work. But what I’m hearing you say is that what you have to do is to, first of all, identify who you are, be true and honest about who that person is, tap into the kind of the energy and the aura and the values that that person has and create your business from that kind of ground zero place and then do the work — do the work, be consistent and listen to the people out there who are resonating with what you’re doing and hear what it is that they’re resonating with and give them more. This is exactly what you’re talking about.
You have got to give them more because they’re your audience. You’ve got to give them so much value that they want to come see you every single day. It’s so important that you just continue giving them value and you don’t dilute who you are. And that’s what’s going to make them stay.
And that’s hard because when you get to a certain level of success where you’re continuously seeing that your formula is working — you’re the perfect person to ask this to — where is it that you feel that maybe you may not feel the same amount of passion in what you’re doing because you’ve done the same thing for so long? Has that happened to you? And if so, how have you dealt with it?
Definitely it’s happened to me with the music for sure, because I did it for so long — 10 years. So I’m chasing something new, something exciting. I still love creating music, but I need something new to excite me, a new project to get me to how I used to feel when I first started — that fire. So that’s called pivoting. So essentially you need to pivot. You need to pivot, but you can only pivot once you’ve reached that success and not get too comfortable until you’ve become a household name and you have it working for you and your you’re generating income while you’re sleeping, in your dream.
Absolutely. And I know that you’ve already answered this question, but I just want to kind of encapsulate it. Is there an order in which people should build out their brand strategy? For example, should they build an audience before they sell something or should they create something and then build the audience? Like, what’s the order here?
For me — and maybe somebody else will tell you differently — I think it’s very important that you build a community first. That you’re working on your craft on the back and you’re not putting it out there just yet, but you’re focused on creating a community or a niche community of supporters. So that way, when your first thing comes out, you already have those supporters because you’re engaging with them. Even if you just have 10, 20 people, because those 10, 20 people are going to reach another 20, 40 people. Because if you’re that good, they’re going to tell their friends and their friends are going to tell their friends and that’s going to build your community. So that way, when you start putting out more product, your your community is building with them. But I find it so important to really start with a community first, even if it’s just 10, 20 followers and then focus on these 10, 20 followers, because these 10, 20 followers, who knows how many they’re going to bring you if it is good. Work on your craft on the back. Kind of see what they’re into so that you can cater to them.
“I find it so important to start with a community first, even if it’s just 10, 20 followers and then focus on these 10, 20 followers, because these followers who knows how many they’re going to bring you if it is good. Work on your craft on the back.” ~ Mia Martina
So Mia, there’s so much access that everyday people have to free and paid platforms to be able to get in front of audiences to grow their brands today. What are some of the things you feel that they need to adopt in order to get to celebrity brand status if they are a personality-driven brand?
If they’re a personality-driven brand, be authentic again. Authenticity is the key word here. You’ve got to be authentic and you’ve got to give them value. Real value. Real, real value.
I love it.
There’s nothing more that I can say because those are the key elements. I mean, we all see it. Everybody wants to be a mentor these days. But do you even know what it takes to be a real mentor? You have to have real results and real results are so important. So make sure when you’re taking advice from somebody that they actually have been there, done that, have real results. Look how they’re living their lives. What are they? Are they even who they say they are? Search before before you grasp on to them. And if you’re that person and you’re trying to be a mentor, a mentor and you don’t even know who you really are, then work on yourself. Because that’s not okay. If you’re faking it until you’re making it, because you’re educating people that think you’ve been there, done that and you’re not giving them great information, great value.
Yeah, absolutely. And I know that that’s the reason why you’ve really kind of serendipitously fallen into mentorship. I mean constantly being approached by women, by girls who want to understand how they can develop their own personal brands, their own uniqueness in this world, the way you have. I know that that’s a big part of your passion project right now. Do you want to talk a little bit about that, Mia, in terms of why you feel mentoring at this stage in your life is important to you?
Yeah, definitely. Because I feel I’ve been so blessed to experience this life and I’ve been so blessed to just live my dream and I’ve done it. But I did it with a lot of hard work. And I want every woman to feel that. I want every woman to be able to feel that inside of her. How beautiful it is when you’re actually living in who you are, in your truth, in your dream. That’s when you become the most feminine woman you can be. It’s the best feeling in the world. And I want to be able to help women tell their stories and help them become who they’re meant to be. Because a lot of the world is crazy. Not everybody has that type of support or the right network. And I want to change that. I definitely want to change that.
“I want every woman to be able to feel that inside of her. How beautiful it is when you’re actually living in who you are, in your truth, in your dream. That’s when you become the most feminine woman you can be.” ~ Mia Martina
Absolutely. So let me ask you this, then: Is the opportunity different to build celebrity status if you are a woman versus a man? Like, what have you seen be the case maybe with yourself and your male counterparts in the music world?
Oh, it’s definitely harder. Women definitely have it harder. We have to work 10 times harder. We have to prove ourselves 10 times more. We have to prove ourselves in so many level of ways and it’s difficult. It’s difficult because unfortunately, especially in entertainment, it’s still a man’s world. So that’s why it’s so important that we stick together and that we hold ourselves accountable if we’re not being authentically ourselves. We cannot compromise ourselves in any way to just get ahead because it’s going to come back and haunt you. It will. And we have got to change those things. We have got to stick together and speak up when things are not done correctly.
It’s interesting you’re saying that because really there is strength in numbers. I mean, the more people, the more women, that speak up in a lot of these male dominated industries, which most industries are still unfortunately, because commerce was created for the male perspective. And so breaking that down so that we can make room for women and their value system and what they bring to the table is quite the task and we can only do it if we all stick together — be that women with women or women getting the support of allyship from men. I agree with everything that you’re saying there.
It’s so important. And honestly, it can be very scary because they threaten you. They can blackball you. They can blacklist you. They have so much more power. But if you have a strong community behind you of women that are not going to let this happen, then we’re getting ahead of here. And that’s why it’s so important for us to build a strong community of women. It’s so important because that’s the only way things are going to change.
Do you know when this whole Me Too movement started to really kind of get legs out there in pop culture? How did you feel about that, having been obviously on the receiving end of that industry, as a woman? Tell me a little bit about how it felt to you to see that that these women have the guts to stand up against the system.
Finally finally. Because I know it’s very difficult because they can end you really. And you they have the power to do so. The fact that they actually spoke up because they couldn’t live with it anymore was so beautiful. I was like, finally somebody speaking up. They have the courage. So that’s why we need to support these women until the end. We cannot not support them. It’s so important.
Do you feel that social media is the game changer here? Because this has been an ongoing struggle since the beginning of time between — men and women from Adam and Eve down. I’m asking you this because I feel it is the one thing that has actually changed the game so that people who ordinarily wouldn’t be in positions of power are starting to have a voice in social media and getting support from many other people who feel the same as they do.
But prior to social media, the game was really played by media houses and corporations that sold their narrative and controlled the narrative. Social media does not allow you to do that. It’s the masses that have the power in that domain. So your thoughts?
Oh, definitely. I think that’s the best thing about social media. Because now you can’t hide anymore. If somebody did something wrong there’s somebody that’s going to talk about it and that community is going to build and build and build. And that’s why cancel culture is a real thing. It’s true. And, in a way, it’s great because there’s a lot of people that do need to be canceled, that need to go find themselves because they’re doing a lot of wrong. It’s a balance. Of course, I’m not saying that somebody might be canceled for it for something that’s not real, but when it comes down to the real deal that’s not good, I think it’s great for the people that are finally coming together and being like, “Hey, you shouldn’t be on this platform because you’re not a good human being.”
Right. Absolutely. And I love the power of the masses.
The power of the masses. And you know what? That’s why it’s so important for women to stick together and we keep influencing the right way because again there is good and there is bad because a lot of women don’t have the proper guidance as well. So we have got to give support to these women because sometimes they just don’t know better and they’re doing what they think they need to do to survive. And we have got to make sure that they know that they’re supported in their love. And we’ve got you. If there’s a hiccup, if you did something that maybe wasn’t politically correct or whatever, that’s okay. That’s fine. We can fix that and stick together.
“That’s why it’s important for women to stick together and we keep influencing the right way because again there is good and there is bad, because a lot of women don’t have the proper guidance as well. So we have got to give support to these women because sometimes they just don’t know better and they’re doing what they think they need to do to survive.” ~ Mia Martina
We all make mistakes. You know, we absolutely did. That’s life. But knowing that you have a community behind you and that you’re supported, that’s the real game changer.
Yeah, that’s everything. I agree. So I want to ask you this, Mia: So social media has singlehandedly created the influence of marketing in the street. How are influencers different from celebrities? Now, you have mentioned a part of this already as we were chatting earlier, but I want you to really hone in on this.
Well, for me, influencing is you’re an influencer, so you’re kind of going with what’s next. You’re not an established brand, you’re just kind of going with the flow. And this new thing came out let me hop on it or this new thing came out let me promote it. So you’re more like a vagabond. You’re going with the times. But when you’re a celebrity, this is what it is. This is what you can expect. And again, like I said, you control the narrative because you have real value. And influencer doesn’t have real authentic value. It has value for their followers, yes, but not when it comes to that type of power.
That does make sense. It’s really interesting, actually. So what I feel, Mia, that you’re saying here is that celebrity brands stand for their own value system and they’ve created it to the work that they’ve done so that brands come to them to borrow off of their value system.
Because their product aligns with who they are and the influencer piece of partnering with them gives them amplification for their product and service to get in front of people who are aligned to who the celebrity is. Thus will be aligned to that product. Now, influencers are people who are brought on to also amplify getting the product in front of their audiences, but this is their job. This is actually their day job.
So basically, to put it in a good way, Raj, it’s like you said, the brands come to the celebrity, the influencers go to the brand name thing.
“So basically, to put it in a good way, Raj, it’s like you said, the brands come to the celebrity, the influencers go to the brand name thing.” ~ Mia Martina
Oh, I love that. I’m sure that I’ll get a lot of people who are influencers that will come knocking on my door saying that they don’t agree. And I want to hear from you if that’s how you feel about this. That’s the differentiating factor, folks, between influencers and celebrities is that celebrity status means that you are very well known for what you stand for and influencers are people who amplify the voices of the partnerships that they create with people. So I’d love to hear what you guys have to say. Please drop it in the comments. Send us an email. So let me ask you this, sweetheart: Has celebrity status changed since you started in the game over a decade ago? And if it has, how has it changed?
Oh, it definitely has changed because of social media. You have got to be so much more active. It’s like social media is a job in itself. Like before when I started, I could work on and I could take as much time as I want to create an album because I wasn’t pressured to be on social media all day. Now, because of social media, it’s like social media comes first before your art.
Wow, you know, you’re so right. I know it just feels that way.
It really is even for me. And it’s been a hard transition for somebody like me because I’m a very private person. I’m a real artist. I like my private time and I like my private life. And I love sharing my art with you. But that’s not enough anymore because I have got to engage with you and I have got to show you parts of who I am and what I stand for on a daily basis. I can’t just disappear for a year because you’re going to forget about me because there’s so much content thrown at you every day, so you’ve got to stay relevant. And that’s a real big game changer. It’s real. It’s different times. It’s not like before. And I can’t even make a three minute song now. My cut-off is at two minutes 30 seconds because attention span is so short now. It’s a very big difference from before.
It’s interesting because a lot of celebrities also have a hard time with what you’re saying as well. Those celebrities that were around before social media like you were. That transition to always need to be intimate with their audience when that was never a part of what they signed up for when they went into the game. Like their job was what was the relationship that was created with the public. And now you add in the social media piece where people need to know what you’re doing at every single moment of the day.
Literally, like what you’re eating, what you’re wearing, what you’re into, what you’re going to post. Like it’s a full time job. It’s a lot. And if you’re a real creative, like myself and a lot of other artists, it’s difficult to adapt to that because it’s harder for us to create greatness, timeless bodies of work, because we’re so consumed with social media and social media can consume your whole day if you let it.
Absolutely. And it’s also very noisy. Like the shut off isn’t there anymore.
No. You don’t even have a chance to shut off. It’s like ding, ding, ding, ding. And you become so much more accessible and it becomes addicting because you’re like, I’m talking to you when in reality it’s like sometimes you need discipline throughout your day. You have to allocate times for certain things. And social media kind of stops you from that because it’s always on. But you’ve got to discipline yourself to only allocate maybe an hour or two a day on it.
And that’s the key here. So it’s finding that middle ground. Because the power of social media to keep you relevant as a celebrity brand is more powerful than any other form of media and engagement out there. So it’s necessary creating a balance between how much you are accessible and how much you’re able to kind of just keep to yourself is really important, creating that line in the sand. Have you been able to do that?
Yeah, I finally found that balance. I found my groove. It took me a minute to find it. I swear it was so funny. Like I was losing a lot of my followers because I wasn’t engaging at all. And I’m like okay, I’ve got to get used to this because this is the new way of doing things. And I need this for my business. So I had to really adapt to it. And at first I got kind of addicted to it. I was always on it. Then I’m like, this is crazy because I was spending like three, four hours on things just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, see what this person’s doing, that person’s doing. And I’m like, okay, this is too much because now I’m comparing. That’s not good. You know, it’s very mentally exhausting.
It is a creative thing. Like you’re a creative and this is a thing for all the creatives out there. When people think about creativity or they think about creatives, I think about them always being in flow. And I think that the piece that’s always missing about real creative genius is that there is a huge amount of discipline associated with that flow. There is a time when you flow to be able to kind of see what you’re resonating with and what’s coming to you from the creative process. And there’s times that you need to do the polar opposite of that and switch off in order to be on when you need to be on.
“There is a time when you flow to be able to see what you’re resonating with and what’s coming to you from the creative process. And there’s times that you need to do the polar opposite of that and that switch off in order to be on when you need to be on.” ~ Raj Girn
And I feel that that’s a big thing that creatives have challenge with — is the discipline part of being a creative and I think that that’s something that you’ve just kind of mentioned that I feel is really important and something that you’ve really honed in on is what is that balance between the when you’re in flow to when you when you need to just be silent and still. How do you do that?
I try to operate on a schedule. I try to treat my life like a nine to five, because if I don’t, I’m going to get lost because my brain is all over the place. And I think that’s a big thing for creatives. We need a structure. We just need a list. And we’ve got to operate with the list and not drift off because once we drift off, that’s it, call it a day. You’re going to lose focus because we make it up and then you’re going to go over here and you’re going to go to Mars and I’m going to go to Venus. So I’m going to go everywhere. So you’ve got to come back down and you really need a structure when you’re a creative.
Absolutely. Let’s bust some myths about celebrity status, Mia. You are the perfect person to ask this question to. Can you share a couple of common beliefs that you know, through your own experience or through experiences that you’ve seen in your network base, that isn’t true about being a celebrity brand that is widely believed to be true by the most populous?
A couple of those I’m going to give you. Here we go. You’re always booked and busy. That’s not true. It’s not for any of us. That’s not true at all. Because again, like I said, there are cycles. So there’s your peak time and then there’s your downtime. So when you’re in that downtime, you’re not booked and busy. But people think you’re always busy and doing something glamorous every single day. And that’s not true at all.
I love that you shared that.
That’s so honest.
Yeah. I call it like it is.
I’m a straight shooter. Another myth as well is that they think we have extreme confidence and nothing bothers us. That’s completely not true. That’s completely not true. Sometimes you read messages or you get messages and we read it and it really affects us. It can really ruin your day because most artists are extremely more sensitive than the normal person.
Another thing that I’ve noticed through my experience with a lot of celebrity brands over the years is that they never seem to feel that they’re quite good enough, even though the world thinks that they are all tremendous.
Oh, my goodness. You just said that. You just said it. And honestly, I wasn’t going to say that. But we always feel like we’re never delivering to our fullest potential. We’re never really satisfied with our craft. Yeah, we always want to give you more.
And I think that’s a good thing because there’s something in this whole idea of could I do or be better that translates over into serving at a higher level, right?
Yeah, exactly. That’s so well said. You’re so right about that.
So as we get ready to round this off, sweetheart, I want to ask you this, because we’ve kind of touched upon a lot of stuff here on a high level. Can you encapsulate the key takeaways from our conversation on how to build a celebrity brand? What do people need to take away from our conversation?
Yes, the number one thing is pick a focus and focus on that until it becomes extremely successful. Be consistent every day, work on that craft and then be authentically yourself is the most important one and always engage with your foundation, which is your fan base, because they are essentially the ones that are always going to be there and uplift you no matter what happens, because they’re your believers.
“The number one thing is pick a focus and focus on that until it becomes extremely successful. Be consistent every day, work on that craft and then be authentically yourself is the most important one, and always engage with your foundation” ~ Mia Martina
Is there anything that you feel I’ve missed that you’d like to add before we close off Mia?
No, I think we’ve touched on pretty much everything.
So let me ask you this then to close off. How can people get some more of your wisdom and your mentoring tips? Where can people hang out with you on social media?
Well, you can always DM me on social media. And so pretty much everything when it’s business related or if you have a question or if you want to send me a song or something you want me to listen to because you don’t know how to put it out there. I’m there for you. I got you. I answer pretty much all of my DMs once a week on business related topics, of course. I do take a day out of the week and I answer all my DMs. That’s my journey. It’s my new journey. And I’m quite enjoying this new journey. And I’m so excited to work on other things and expanding that journey so I can give you the value that you deserve.
Through lived experience right?
Experience. Exactly. Because honestly, there’s not much I haven’t been through. So here it is.
Here it is! This is going to be your truth and you’re going to get it the way it is. So just be ready for that, guys. And that’s the key takeaway also in terms of the direction that Mia’s in today, is that mentorship is about being honest and is about truly helping a person through honesty and through experiences that the person themselves already been through and perhaps found a better, easier, more direct way of getting through the jungle than they had. And I think that’s kind of the key that I feel that Mia brings to the table through all of the labyrinths that she’s been through and the experiences that she’s gone through.
And so just make sure that you DM her. You heard it right here, she goes in the DMs and she answers them once a week. And Mia, we need you to do a some sort of a live where you do a Q&A once a week with people. I think that’s going to be very valuable for people to be able to just check you out once a week and come up with their questions. I hope you’d be open to something like that, because I think that it would add some more value to people’s lives who are struggling with a lot of things that you’ve already figured out.
Definitely. Definitely. I’m definitely planning to get those things going. I’m working on on a great project right now that I can’t really talk about, but I’m super excited about it. And you’ll see a lot more value coming your way from me. I just want to make sure that it’s presented the best possible way that I can to service you.
So are you going to come back on the show and talk about it, Mia, when you’re ready?
I cannot wait for that. Thank you
Of course Raj. And you know, Raj is probably the best mentor you can possibly get, so everybody you’ve got to listen to Raj because she gives you all the value that you can possibly get. She’s just a phenomenal woman. I think, Raj, we need more Rajs in the world.
I love you to bits. Thank you so, so much. Coming out with all the stuff that you’ve got going on right now behind the scenes, because as you mentioned, you’re a private person. You keep your projects. And that’s one thing I’ve noticed with you as well, is that you keep your projects, that this is pay heed to this, guys. If you are looking at building your brand, especially the celebrity status is, work on your stuff and talk about it when it’s ready.
Don’t talk about it and not get it done. And this is a big thing that I know Mia is very, very much the kind of person that she works behind the scenes. And until it’s ready for you guys she won’t release it. And I think that’s also a very important thing when it comes to understanding the value of your brand as well. Put your product out there when the product is worthy of being put out there in the public. I feel that that would be a key thing that I would put out there. Is there anything you want to add to that?
You’re so right about that. And that’s a very good thing that you brought that up, because I feel that’s a big part of my success. I’ve always been that way. And you see, because sometimes you can launch something and once it’s launched, you can’t take it back. No, I love to make sure that when I hit, it’s perfectly executed. It’s a blast from from the jump. Everything is calculated. Everything is thought of because you can’t take that back. Absolutely. And when you’re anticipating too much, if it fails, then you get all that energy from from your foundation and that’s not good. That’s not good. If it doesn’t go the way you want it, because there’s so many moving parts when you’re launching something and you want to launch something, when it’s ready.
“Sometimes you can launch something and once it’s launched, you can’t take it back. No, I love to make sure that when I hit, it’s perfectly executed. It’s a blast from from the jump. Everything is calculated. Everything is thought of because you can’t take that back.” ~ Mia Martina
Sweetheart, thank you so much for joining us for this really insightful conversation. A look behind the velvet rope of life as a celebrity and why building a brand to celebrity status can have its advantages and disadvantages. What a special treat for everyone to learn from you, sweetheart. Thank you so much for coming on the show and come back again soon.
Of course. My pleasure. I love talking with you. We can talk all day.
Absolutely we definitely can. And we’re going to talk so much more. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today, folks. I really hope that you got some real value from our discussion and that you understand the realities of building your brand to celebrity status and why it’s important to think about and do the work to be able to accomplish that, because weighing the good with the bad will determine your ability to take advantage of the celebrity phenomenon by being intentional with your strategy.
For more trainings like this, please subscribe to our YouTube channel at The Open Chest Confidence Academy on podcast platforms at Apple, Google and Spotify search ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show’ and I also encourage you to join our free coaching newsletter community. Just head over to our website at TheOpenChestConfidenceAcademy.com/newsletter and also join our free professional development incubator app Facebook called Transform Your Confidence because I always hop in there personally and answer any questions that the community may have. Until next time take care of yourselves.