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Superstar Publicist Howard Bloom: The Stars Within You

Art is an Extension of Human Soul

Summary:  Howard Bloom is the celebrated author of "The Global Brain,"
"The Lucifer Effect" and many others and was instrumental in helping the original SPIN Magazine find its soul.  As the founder of the Howard Bloom Organization,the long-time considered public relations firm where artists and record companies would go to achieve higher media status, Howard Bloom was able to tap into the heart and soul of clients such as Prince, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Amnesty International and hundreds of others by empowering the artists he represented to tap into their very essense that enabled them to "bleed their souls" in the music that would eventually touch and move their audiences of millions.  Something powerful to learn from the master of enabling the messangers to reach their audiences.

Publicity starts with the inner soul of an artist and works its way from there. It involves schooling the artist in an ability to comprehend the emotional self that has spoken through his music, but often has never been expressed overtly in his daily thoughts. Music and celebrity arise from revelation and from the validation of previously unspoken passions in an audience. By voicing his or her inner self, the artist gives voice to a multitude and for a minute sets them free or offers them something far more permanent–identity.

My neuropsychological theories about passion points–imprinting moments in childhood, adolescence, and in early adulthood–come from my work with rock stars. Musical artists easily fall into the one-hit wonder pattern. They put out a song that soars on the charts, release, perhaps, one more hit, then they disappear forever from the public eye, never to be seen–or heard–again.

My goal as a career strategist was to give rock and R&B artists an enduring career. The first task was to do a four-hour session–or several–in which we went through the artist’s life story from the very beginning on up to the present, searching for what I thought of in those days as the artist’s soul–the source of personal passion, of the unseen self–that roared and danced in her music, her lyrics, and her stage performance. The performing and creating personality is often one the self of daily life doesn’t know.
The everyday self is the one that goes through the automatic rituals of, “Hello, how are you?” “Fine, thank you, and how are you?” It has a full arsenal of clichés with which to deal with most situations that involve what TS Eliot called preparing “a face to meet the faces that we meet.” (Erving Goffman.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1959, covers this aspect of self pretty thoroughly.)  But another self reveals its existence in lyrics, music, and performance. It is often a separate personality, an interior god of sorts, a self that reveals its form only in ecstatic moments–when a piece of music “writes itself” or when in the throes of a stage performance the singer “loses himself” and is caught up in a transcendent experience.


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I went through the story of an artist’s life with him hunting for the moments in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood that had sealed themselves into the web of emotion, the moments that had woven permanent knots of passion– the hidden gods of creativity and of ecstasy. If I could find these passion points, I could find the hidden selves, I then introduced those selves of ecstasy to the everyday self, the self of hellos and how are yous. From the moment of discovery on, I did everything in my power to keep that artist in touch with these hidden selves. I also told him or her that he owed his audience not just his songs and his performances, but his life. By revealing his life and by articulating his passions, he could reveal others to themselves, he could validate them in their moments of madness or confusion, and he could bring order out of the chaos of his listeners’ emotions.

Give your audience just a glimpse of your emotional self, and you become a one hit wonder. Come to know that self and reveal it to your audience year after year-through its changes and its growth–and you become an icon, a figure who helps interpret others to themselves, who takes others out of themselves, and who validates feelings that multitudes have had but have been afraid are too insane to confess.

What is insane Feelings that have no social acceptance, no words to describe them, no validation from an other, no mirror of recognition in others’ eyes or words. If an artist gives this validation and transcendence to others, he saves their souls. He makes what seemed lunatic sane. He yanks others out of their moments of trouble and gives them instants of joy.

Give a mere flick of your most passionate self to your audience and they will stop for a moment, look and listen, then will pass you by. Give the fullness of your passionate self to others and they will hold you in their heart for a lifetime.

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