11 Questions With PR Maven Briahna Gatlin

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BG of Swank PR

In pursuit of my own musical endeavors, it was inevitable that I'd cross i-net paths with Chicago's go-to publicist Briahna Gatlin - she's good at what she does! Intrigued and eager to know more about her brand I reached out and was granted access expediently!

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Ray Dawn: What got you interested in pursuing a career in journalism?
Briahna Gatlin: I knew what I wanted to do at 17. My love for seeing something published is what made me fall in love with it – seeing my bi-line was the most amazing part. Writing is a way [for me] to release stress, express myself. Having a voice, conveying your passion makes me excited to be a journalist.

R:What are you current thoughts on the news? And do you even watch it?
B: I don’t watch it as much as I used to…it’s sensationalized a lot. [The] news tells you what to think. I remember when CNN used to break news…now it’s TMZ.

R:What made you take the dive and start your own PR firm?
B: I didn’t make any money in journalism. Because of the internet everything went down…there was [just] no money. I was writing for The Source and my paycheck bounced, [of which] I had been waiting for at least 2 months. I did a piece on The Cool Kids for AllHipHop.com and they wouldn’t pay me.

R: Whom did you take on as your first client?
B: My first client ended up being GLC – he was my first test run. I worked with him for three years.

R: With major music hubs in New York, Atlanta and California, why headquarter in Chicago?
B: I considered setting up shop in New York [but] Chicago is a consumer’s market. The reason why I haven’t left is because my foundation is here.

R: What are the ups to being self-employed?
B: Having my own schedule…I’m working for something that’s mine.

R:I’m very familiar with one of your clients, King Louie. What’s your favorite record from him?
B:B.O.N. - Every city I’m in everybody goes crazy! [It’s] definitely one of my favorite songs out of all the artists I’ve worked with.

R:What are your thoughts on the XXL Frosh List – is it still relevant?
B: Some got it too easy. I worked with Lil Herb [and] he deserved to be on that cover. [XXL] hit us up about him to do an interview…if they liked him that damn much, why didn’t they give him the cover? I took it personally because they tried to reach out so much. Tink, Dej Loaf deserved it…but because Fetty Wap was popular he gets it? Shy Glizzy had one hot song…what’s the follow-up? They didn’t pick the right people, some [spots] were bought. Journalism has changed…it’s popularity or payola. King Louie never got it [and] a lot of artists took his shit.

R:What non-touristy spot in Chicago would you recommend to a first-time visitor?
B:Uncle Remus…people from out-of-town always want to go to Harold’s! I’d take visitors to Wicker Park – there’s good shopping, good food, movies and festivals. (Her Grandfather designed the sign for Harold’s)

R: Being that you’re a devoted foodie according to your Instagram account, if you were having the Obamas over for dinner, what would you serve?
B: Stuffed peppers with ground turkey, organic chicken pot pies, kale with red peppers and mushrooms, cinnamon corned bread, smoked turkey greens, salmon croquettes or crab cakes and handmade sangria.

R:It’s Friday night and it’s time to get ratchet! What’s the first song you’re playing?
B:“Wasted” by Gucci Mane! Gucci is the Biggie of trap music.

Follow Briahna on Twitter: @briahnaj