GETTING TO KNOW // Media Maven Tracey Zeeck

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For those of us who thought being a Media Maven meant being an open book to the public — enlighten yourself to the backstory of the original Tracey Zeeck of Bumbershoot PR.

When you were little you thought you would grow up to be a _____________ . 

I always wanted to have my own Italian-American restaurant. I would even make little menus and seat my family and everything. My mom comes from Sicilian and Calabiran immigrants, and that culture has always been part of our world. Of course, I also wanted to be a detective and play keyboards in a new wave all-girl band.

Favorite color:

Really vivid colors in nature do it for me. Bright blue skies. Deep green wet grass. Shocking pink sunsets. Red-orange leaves in the fall. Fleeting intensity, I guess.   Is that a color?

Favorite Band:

My first concert was Willie Nelson in the 70s. The last time I saw him was at Red Rocks outside of Denver a couple years ago, and I became pretty emotional at the thought of how this one man has provided the soundtrack for my entire life. I’ve never met him, but I feel like if I did, we’d ‘get’ each other. He’s a modern folk philosopher and his songs are simple and touching.

It was at this stage of your life you decided Communications / Publicity was your JAM:

I have a very chaotic brain, and it sometimes works to my advantage. I fell into PR, though. I wanted to be an art teacher, I thought. But teaching was too hard (Pausing here to thank all teachers. You don’t get paid enough and your work is among the hardest I’ve ever experienced.) Then I thought I’d be a fine art major. I realized I wasn’t good enough to make a living at that. So I finished college late, with a piecemeal graphic design degree. I am not at all talented in that respect. But I am definitely a fan of good design. I somehow ended up as a copywriter for a group of radio stations. So I started to ‘design’ with my words, I guess. Then a promotion into the marketing department there led to my eventual understanding of the communications process, and how to maybe redirect public opinion. At some point in this process, I evolved into knowing what people like and how to make win-win situations for clients and publics. I’m happy when my people are happy. That’s probably why I am good at what I do. I’m also crazy when my people are wronged, which drives my competitive side.

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Number one thing you see people (CLIENT OR PRO angle) do wrong in
Communications / Public Relations:

You start to go off in the wrong direction when you lose your real voice. With clients and employees – and anyone really – we stress the importance of being proud of who you really are. And telling *that* story.
If your true story isn’t good enough to share, you’re doing it wrong.

A Personal Hero of yours:

My mom. She was married very young, never went to college, and had SIX kids when she finally figured out how to leave our father… which probably saved her life, if not some of ours. She went on to work three jobs
to have enough money to feed and clothe the four of us who were still at home at that time.

Beautiful Photos provided by QUIT.

AUTHENTIC MINUTE // A Short Convo with Samantha Crain

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Oklahoma Indie Musician / Songwriter / Producer — Samantha Crain shares an authentic minute with us discussing the Americana genre and how music found its way into her days. 

You are being called out into the spotlight globally for your influence in the genre of “Americana” — can you talk about your progression here as an Artist?
I don’t really like being lumped into the Americana genre. I don’t feel like they are accepting or supportive of me in the Nashville branch of that world. I’m assuming the subject matter or the way I write lyrics doesn’t fit their mold, or the arrangements I use on songs, doesn’t sound old timey enough for them. I’m not trying to sound of another era. There are plenty of influences I have from other eras but I’m aware that I am a 21st century writer and I think it is important to own up to that. I think what I do is more accepted by the singer/songwriter crowd and the indie rock crowd. Either way, I am an American, singing songs, mostly, about my experiences in America, so for that reason, I should be categorized as an Americana artist. But when I started playing, Americana wasn’t really a scene yet. At least not really in name, and it wasn’t as big and organized as it is now. My progression as an artist has been only reliant on a grass-root fan base, the Americana world really hasn’t championed me in any way. Not like they have with Fullbright or Parker.
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“Either way, I am an American, singing songs, mostly, about my experiences in America, so for that reason, I should be categorized as an Americana artist.”
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Music has been with you since what time in your life?
My dad and his brother played folk rock music together when they were growing up and that sorta filtered into my childhood…listening to them play together at church or family gatherings.
Also, my grandma, had this great free- styled jazzy way of playing southern baptist hymns, and I loved to listen to her play. I always loved music but didn’t really see myself as talented in a musical way, and wasn’t really interested in writing or playing music until I got out of high school. I became a little more introspective, more thoughtful, and this playing guitar and writing was a product of that.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Samantha Crain live, she is performing Myriad Botanical Gardens tomorrow (July 4 @ 8pm) and at the upcoming Make Guthrie Weird on July 12th @ 7:30pm. She has a free download of her amazing song, The Miner and more about her upcoming European tour here!
Stay tuned for our full interview in upcoming Issue4!