#FM Feline

#FMFeline: @MarieDriven of @PlaybookMG and @LizzieGrubmanPR

#FMFeline: @MarieDriven of @PlaybookMG and @LizzieGrubmanPR

Marie Driven is both the Managing Partner of Playbook Media Group (PMG) and Head of Music at power publicity firm Lizzie Grubman PR & Management. Multitasking is old hat for the seasoned entertainment professional, however, and Marie also balances event hosting and other interests with style and ease. Her background is in sales, working with top brands such as Mark Ecko and G-Unit, and she went on to document exclusive NYC nightlife events on her blog, “Marie Driven on the Scene.” Marie then formed the PR company Team Execution in 2012, and co-founded PMG in 2014. She now works with celebrities such as Stevie J, Mr. Vegas, “Love & Hip Hop: New York” cast member Swift Star, and more in publicity, brand management, and other capacities. In an exclusive interview with FM Hip Hop, Marie discusses misconceptions about her job, her plans to enter the restaurant industry, and the genius in linking with Lizzie Grubman.

FM HIP HOP: How was PMG formed?

MARIE DRIVEN: PMG got formed with a partner of mine that basically groomed me into what I am now, as far as showing me different things I could do with the skill sets that I have. My company used to be called Team Execution. I was a little young gun, and I was like… “I’m executing everybody out of this situation.” The problem was that the name was not welcoming… The guy I used to work with, Jean Jones, he came into the fold because I felt like… “I didn’t know what my direction is; some of these clients that I’m working with are not respecting me as an individual.” I needed to bring back [what] I had before, so I teamed up with Jean. …When we decided that we were going to use the name “Playbook,” it was actually to form a fuller agency, not just a PR agency– a brand marketing agency where we can give people publicity and brand management.

FM: Why did you decide to join Lizzie Grubman PR?

MD: There’s always room for growth. It took me three months to figure out if I wanted to make that move. It took me three months, and some credible people’s advice. I don’t want Playbook to be behind the scenes, because I worked so hard to build what I have… I was coming [to Lizzie’s building] to speak to her about something else, and she approached me and she was like, “Listen, I think you’re an asset, and I want you on my team.” And I said, “Lizzie, I really appreciate the opportunity, but I have my own company, and I’m not trying to take away what I built for years.”

The best thing about working with Lizzie was she allowed me to still continue my journey while I’m with her. That’s why I decided to take the position. Number one: It’s going to expand my brand. Number two: I still get to keep my brand. It’s not like I’m leaving Playbook behind. Making that decision was a smarter move for me, and it was a financial move as well.

FM: What are some common misconceptions about what you do?

MD: People think I’m a promoter…. People who don’t understand the industry, they just see you on Instagram and just think, “Oh, hey, you’re popping! Oh, so can you promote…” No, I’m not a promoter. A promoter is someone that does the club work. The difference between me and a promoter, I’m not here promoting parties. I host events; I put them together. Most of the time, they’re for the clients that I have… [Events coordination] is part of what I do. If a client is signed to me, I have to do their album release party, I have to do their mixtape release party. I have to make sure that I get the proper media out to let them see what they’re doing. That’s part of owning a media relations company. The second situation is that a lot of people don’t even know what public relations is. I don’t even understand. Why don’t you google it, because Google is so common.

FM: Is it hard for you to balance your work and personal life?

MD: You know what I do which is really not good? I kind of loop them in together… My close friends are involved in what I’m doing. And if I find an opportunity for my close friends, then they get the opportunity. For instance, my best friend, Kidear [Yomans], is a stylist. I had him style Stevie J the other day. I had him style Swift the other day. It still keeps us connected. We still get to be with each other, and I still open opportunities for him. So that’s how it works. If I’m dating a guy, he’ll come to an event that I’m doing. If we do something afterwards together, we just do something afterwards together… Anything that I’m doing, and I don’t have any time, I’ll just put everything together. But, traditionally, that’s not a good move because it doesn’t work for everybody.

FM: What are your long-term professional goals?

MD: I want to turn into a major agency, a multi-disciplined agency. I want to do music, I want to do fashion, I want to have different departments that we’re running… We are on the road to that– we’re taking on different clientele. We have a doctor, [Dr. Glenn Charles], that does hair transplants in Boca Raton, we have [the Love & Harmony Cruise] now in Florida. We’re the official PR company for the cruise line. Then we have the artistry side, and then we have the TV personality side. But I want to grow it where we have an office in New York and an office in L.A., which is going to take some time.

But my personal, long-term [goal] is opening chains of pizza spots in the south. That’s something I’m going to be working on this year. I’m going to go to Amarillo, Texas and start looking for a place out there, and from there I’m going to go to Dallas, then start seeing what areas in Florida need that spot. I want to open up a Two Bros. That’s what I want to do in the south. That’s my end goal. I want continuous income. I feel like this PR world stuff is not going to last forever, so why don’t I just start doing plan B. So that’s my plan B. I want to do a food truck as well, but it’s still going to be pizza… After people get out the club, I want to be there with the food truck… This is for New York City itself. Down south, I want the actual pizza store.

FM: What advice do you have for people currently working in brand management or PR that want to take their business to the next level?

MD: Practice. Learn new things… To polish up what you’re currently doing is very, very important, because there are new people every day that’s here to take your spot. But if you do know that you’re well-polished, then no one can take your spot. It’s just an illusion. That’s what I’m battling to do. I’m trying to make sure that I’m the best at what I do… If you’re in management, make sure that you’re trying to do the best that you can for the artist… If you’re going to do something, just make sure you do it right. Focus on what you’re doing, and just be great at it. That’s it.

FM: What are you and your clients currently working on?

MD: One of my clients is a cruise line– we didn’t even go on the first cruise yet, but the second cruise is already being promoted. [Summerfest is] the first hip-hop cruise ever, hosted by DJ Khaled. Migos is on there, Lil Yachty– leaving from Ft. Lauderdale going to the Bahamas. We have Swift from “Love & Hip Hop” that’s showcasing his artistry. Actually, his mixtape, [On Demand], is out [now]. We have [Lil Slick], my soca artist. We’re just wrapping up his soca music video called “Energy” that’s sponsored by Monster Energy drink. We’re releasing that for Trinidad Carnival, which is Feb. 27. We just signed on a new client called Jagwa; we’re releasing his single, “Chinese Food,” featuring Styles P. We have Josh Jacobs, which is a hip-hop client of ours. We’re releasing his project as well, Purple Skies, which is going to be a dope, dope situation.

The biggest one yet is Mr. Vegas’ Soul Therapy album that we’re releasing [today]. That’s going to be a new journey. He’s been doing gospel for years, but this album is so diverse… [There’s a] country element, reggae element– this guy is just multi-talented… We have Beat Author, which is a company that does beats. We’re doing a major event March 8 with Drag-On featuring Jay Major. So that should be really good as well. That’s what’s going on with the clients that we have. We are blessed because there are other clients coming in.

Be sure to follow @MarieDriven and @PlaybookMG on Twitter and Instagram!


Brownie Marie | IG: @browniemarie| Twitter: @mz_brownie

Related Topics: Stevie J Opens Up About Life, Love and the Road to Recovery on #PhoneTap


Brownie Marie

February 24th, 2017

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