When Brianna DeMayo looks at the wall, a smile comes across her face.
Ear to ear.
The floor-to-ceiling chalkboard wall in her new Fishtown full-service marketing agency is littered with the names of Philadelphia-based rappers, singers and influencers in the hip-hop game. It’s a literal homage to the work the 31-year-old has put in to build her own brand in addition to the trademark of scores of artists in the Greater Philadelphia Region.
Taste Creators is a reflection of DeMayo herself, a lover and purist of music, specifically hip-hop. Her agency started as a blog highlighting some of Philly’s best and brightest in the game. It was only after the success of that blog – rated as one of the Top 100 best hip-hop blogs in in the country by Feedspot.com – and at the urging of some notable influencers did DeMayo realize she had something bigger on her hands here.
“My blog was getting a lot of attention on Twitter from artists and people on the business side who suggested I write full articles about this,” said DeMayo. “I woke up one morning and saw that Wendy Day had retweeted one of my articles. She’s someone I really look up to in this business and I was like ‘wow.’ That turned into me just wanting to meet with a million different artists and seeing how I could help them.”
It’s that mindset that found Taste Creators transcend from a blog into a lucrative business, one that has grown from a computer into a 1,500 square-foot warehouse complete with desks, a conference room and photo-video studio. It’s as much a think tank venue for artists as it is a legitimate agency designed to put artists in the best light.
Professional photos for your social handle or interview coaching? Yep.
Post up on the couch and take pen to paper crafting potential tracks for your next album? All good.
Anything that sparks creativity.
“People started calling me a publicist, but I didn’t even know I was doing PR work,” joked DeMayo. “I just knew that if someone was good at what they did and needed the tools to get to the next step and I had the means, I’d help them. It really happened gradually over the last 5-6 years. It’s why I’m passionate about this, because I see the grind and if you come in here with that same mindset, we’ll do everything that we can to help an artist succeed.”
The “we” in DeMayo’s comment is that, as a result of rapid expansion, she created a partnership in January with former Atlantic Records staffer Lawrence Watling. Known in rap circles primarily as “Watts,” Watling, 24, became the company’s chief operating officer, coming with skills learned during his time at the mega label’s NYC offices where he worked with a number of artists, most notably rapper Wiz Khalifa.
While he arrives with more of a business mentality as it pertains to the evolution of an artist, Watling noted he wholeheartedly shares DeMayo’s vision in putting artists in the best light.
“We wanted to make sure that everything looks so good that when your music hits a point that you’re so ready to get big, we want to make sure that everything else falls into place,” said Watling. “When I met Breezy, from a business level, we both just got it, but there’s also doing what we’re doing in Philly, which is helping artists directly or where artists come with an issue and we solve the issue and help them grow and make money.”
The list of artists is huge but mostly authentically Philly. From Marv Mack to China Mac to Joie Kathos, Taste Creators has had a hand on all of them. The team recently wrapped on a job for shoe giant Puma in which they assisted in a collaboration with fellow clothier FUBU creating video and other content all featuring indie artists from Taste Creators’ client cache. And it had its own stage late last year at the A3C Music Festival in Atlanta.
“My whole thing is turning artists into entrepreneurs,” said DeMayo. “A lot of artists feel they need to be famous and have 20,000 fans to make money; and that’s just not true. You can have 20 fans, if those 20 fans will purchase a hoodie off of you. You just made a couple hundred bucks that you can put back into your music. If you have passion and grind, our door is always open, but walk in convinced that all you need is a video or social media followers and don’t want to take the time to understand how it all works, then we’re not for you.”
But that’s OK, considering the Taste Creators have no shortage of artists putting in the work it takes to get put on.