Natalie Schaffer: From Hopeless to Seeing the Big Picture

Photo Credit: Alyssa Dempsey
Photo Credit: Alyssa Dempsey

If the Spice Girls taught us anything it’s that platform shoes only looked good in the ‘90s, you need to have at least one sporty friend and of course – girl power is an essential part of life. When you run a music site, you focus a lot on dudes. Not because you want to, it’s just that’s who’s always popping up on your inbox when it comes to bands and whatnot. Unless you’re running a site for Radio Disney, then I assume the boy to girl ratio is pretty evenly split. Anyways, with that in mind – I thought I’d do something about it and while I’d love to feature lovely ladies all the time, I decided to start out with a new series; “Women in Music.” Each month will feature interviews from four women from different realms of the industry from artists to those who work in venues to this month’s – publicists.

If there was ever a person whose smile was infectious, it’d be Natalie Schaffer. We met when I interviewed Hopeless Records founder Louis Posen back in the day. I then interned under her for a few months and now I enjoy reading about her Big Apple life via Facebook. She went straight from the dorms at Cal State Northridge to working at Hopeless and now she’s living that PR life as part of the Big Picture Media team over in New York. Why feature Natalie? Well other than her good nature, I love people who come from good establishments and you can’t get more professional and personable than both companies she’s called home.

Kendra: What made you want to work in music, was there a band, a song?

Natalie: All my friends in high school were in bands and my social life was primarily going to shows in my hometown, so I was always surrounded by it and that’s how I met most of my friends. I was a huge fan of Drive –Thru Records in high school – anything they did, I loved. I really enjoy being a fan of a label, and being excited to see what comes next from them. One day I was blasting All Time Low in my college room and I thought “Oh, I wonder what label they are on!” found Hopeless Records, researched and start getting to know all of their bands and came across a note saying they were looking for interns!

Kendra: You started out as an intern at Hopeless Records and wound up working there. Advice for those in the intern game to take their position to the next level like you did?

Natalie: Be committed and show your passion for where you are and what you are doing. Be willing to learn and ask questions if you are unsure. Go above and beyond.

Kendra: Was it hard leaving Hopeless? It’s so much like a little family.

Natalie: It was. It was my first real job out of college. It was where I learned the ins and outs of the music industry. I couldn’t have asked for a better first job – everyone there really helped me to be the best I could be and I will forever be grateful to that label. I am thrilled to say that BPM still handles press for most of the bands on the roster, so we keep in touch very frequently and that makes me very happy! Also – have you seen their roster right now? It is incredible and only getting better in 2016.

Kendra: Now you’re at Big Picture Media. From what I’ve noticed, the majority of the team is female. What’s the feel like around the office?

Natalie: Haha – yes, this office is full of ladies (shout out to Paul, our general manager though). The vibe in the office is nice! We all sit together in a room, so it’s great to be able to shout out a question for help or brainstorm. It’s also nice to play a jam out loud and we all talk about how great/not great it is. It’s cool to have ladies you see every day, who have the same highlights/struggles as well. There is definitely a bond between all of us that no one from outside would understand.

Kendra: When you moved from Hopeless to Big Picture, you had to pack up and head east. Have you noticed a difference in the way west coasters handle PR compared to those over there – or is it all the same?

Natalie: I guess conference calls are a bit later for east coasters but that’s the only difference I see – ha. I will say that living in NYC has made it easier for me to hop from show to show, go from meeting to meeting, grab drinks/lunch with writers, etc. Thank you NYC subway system! West coast is much more planning in advance due to the beautiful LA traffic.

Photo Credit: suzyhazelwood.tumblr.com
Photo Credit: suzyhazelwood.tumblr.com

Kendra: Was PR what you always wanted to do, or did you start school with a different game plan in mind? If so, what made you make the switch?Was PR what you always wanted to do, or did you start school with a different game plan in mind? If so, what made you make the switch?

Natalie: To be honest, it was something I kind of fell into. I was a journalism major and my guidance counselor told me I needed to focus on an area. I asked her what didn’t involve math, and she said “public relations”. And here I am.

Kendra: I’d love if you us made a mixtape featuring five female artists on the Big Picture Media roster that best represent starting 2016.

Natalie:
Boyfriend – “Attention (Boogie T Remix)
The Suffers – “Make Some Room
Larkin Poe “Don’t
Loren – “Broken Telephone
Ohlayindigo – “Gem

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