How does Arien Rozelle, founder of the boutique music public relations firm FeelingAnxious PR, relate to her clientele? By knowing the struggle of creating something out of nothing.
After graduating with a B.S. in Communication from SUNY Fredonia (and later earning her M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from New York University), gaining invaluable experience interning with Seventeen Magazine and interning for a PR agency that represented bands such as Dave Matthews Band, Rozelle had a good idea of what she wanted to do with her life.
With a love for music that began at an early age-Rozelle credits her parents for playing Janis Joplin and The Beatles, and taking her to a Huey Lewis and the News concert as a child-and a knack for writing, she knew that she wanted to make a career out of writing about music. With this goal in mind, Rozelle packed up her stuff and moved to New York City with only $800 and her ambitions, determined to do what she loved. And that’s when FeelingAnxious began.
FeelingAnxious started out as a blog, which Rozelle and some friends from college used as an outlet to publish stories based on long form interviews with bands ranging from unknown artists who were new to the music scene, to popular bands such as Gym Class Heroes and O.A.R. At a certain point, Rozelle and her associates faced the dilemma of balancing full time jobs while still writing and doing quality work for FeelingAnxious, which was a labor of love for the music enthusiasts. Finally the FeelingAnxious contributors had to ask themselves, “Do we keep going?” The answer was no, but Rozelle wasn’t finished with music or FeelingAnxious.
In 2007, Rozelle, who still owned the FeelingAnxious domain, decided to use her contact list full of musicians that she had built relationships with, and the experience and skills that she had developed through school and work, to turn FeelingAnxious the blog into FeelingAnxious Public Relations. In making this transition, Rozelle moved from interviewing and writing about artists to actually representing the artists and working to get them exposure, and so the evolution of FeelingAnxious began.
From then on, FeelingAnxious PR grew little by little. Clients were initially introduced to FeelingAnxious PR by word of mouth amongst musicians and industry people that Rozelle had networked with throughout the years, and eventually musicians began coming to her to pitch themselves as potential clients.
Rozelle soon found herself in an office representing a full roster of clients, who she’s gotten placements for in publications such as NPR, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, AOL Music, and Performer Magazine. Rozelle compared getting a placement for her client and seeing it printed to “waking up on Christmas morning.” In talking about her work and achievements thus far, Rozelle notes that her success is made up of a culmination of little moments, such as getting an emerging artist featured in a major publication.
Maria Gironas, a current intern for FeelingAnxious PR, said of Rozelle, “I still remember her advice to us at the end of a meeting and it has stuck with me since, ‘If you are working somewhere and you don’t want to be boss someday, don’t do it.’” Rozelle is the living embodiment of this quote, as she literally decided what she wanted to do and proceeded to build her business from the ground up. This drive and certainty in her passion reflects through Rozelle’s work and the way she speaks about everything she does, with pure excitement.
Rozelle recalls feeling like she had made it when she was asked to be a source in an article for The Deli discussing music during the economic downturn. Being looked at as a reliable source of information let Rozelle know that she had achieved a level of credibility and that all of the work she had done thus far had meaning, it was valuable. This point was further validated in 2010 when Rozelle was named one of “New York’s Top PR Firms and People: The Most Influential and Connected” by Marketing Company Sparkah.com and again in 2012 when she was featured in MSNBC’s JJ Ramberg’s book It’s Your Business.
Today, along with running FeelingAnxious PR, Rozelle also works as a visiting professional lecturer at Marist College and helps out with the college’s PRSSA chapter. Erica Conover, Marist College’s PRSSA Chapter President, said, “She is a great mentor not only to PRSSA members, but to all public relations students,” discussing how Rozelle has made guest appearances to the PRSSA chapter and given valuable advice to its members.
Conover’s point was reiterated by Alex Sarlo, a senior public relations student at Marist College who plans to work in the music industry, saying, “Professor Rozelle doesn’t just teach from the textbook, she talks about her work and what she does, so the lessons we learn in class are real. Wanting to work in music, it’s cool to hear about how she made her way up and how she applies what she teaches to her work.”
When asked what she would tell students who are up and coming in the public relations industry, Rozelle advises to take chances when you’re young and have less to lose, always be nice to people, and never stop learning.
So what’s next for Rozelle and FeelingAnxious PR? Long-term: Rozelle plans to keep on doing what she’s doing, balancing representing a small roster of artists with FeelingAnxious PR, while continuing to teach. Short-term: while juggling teaching and constantly working with new clients, FeelingAnxious PR and GaluminumFoil Productions are collaborating to put on an Official CMJ Showcase featuring a lineup of emerging bands and artists.
The Third Annual FeelingAnxious PR and GaluminumFoil Productions CMJ Showcase will be held on Saturday October 19 from 7 pm to 12 am at The Rock Shop, which is located at 249 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY. Rozelle calls the showcase “a night of music” that will feature emerging artists such as: Crazy Pills, Bryan Dunn, Luke Wesley, Teen Girl Scientist Monthly, Belle Mare, and Michael Wagner. The showcase will also offer soda and cocktails from its sponsors Drink More Good and The Noble Experiment, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy great music and great drinks. The showcase is 21 and up, and ticket prices are $8 presale and $10 at the door. (More information can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/240037819478532/?ref=5)
Music is what started it all for Rozelle, and is what brought her to this point of success in her life. Rozelle told me, “Music bonds people,” explaining how people have very emotional connections with music and that when we look back to certain points in our lives, there is often a song that comes to mind. Music seems to be a constant driving force in Rozelle’s life, bringing her both personal and professional happiness.
Listening to Rozelle speak about her life and career, her energy is palpable and there is no question that she loves what she does. She managed to combine her passion for music and her writing skills to create her ideal job, as well as pursue her lifelong dream of teaching and sharing her knowledge of the craft that she has worked so hard to perfect. Rozelle’s father always told her, “Do what you love and it won’t seem like work,” and that is exactly what she has done.
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