Just a few years out of Northeastern University in Boston, Yuwei Huang is already one of LA’s most in-demand creative marketing directors. In just the past few years, she’s worked with everyone from up-and coming, chart-topping singers to legitimate global superstars (read: Beyonce). Recently, she teamed up with MAKO Recordings, a Hollywood-based music production and management company currently putting out music from R&B’s latest star Annalé.
We caught up with Yuwei to discuss marketing art in the digital world, her plans to bridge Chinese and American music markets, and more.
Hi Yuwei! You’ve accomplished a lot in your relatively few years in the music industry so far — what initially appealed to you about marketing and creative direction? When did you decide to pursue these professionally?
I’ve considered myself an artist at a very young age. I did ballet, played flute, piano, guitar and participated in all different types of art since I was young. I understand how much work, time, and sweat each artist has to put into their career. There are so many art forms that are unheard and undiscovered by people all around the world. That’s what really influenced me to study marketing — I wanted to learn how to present good art to the right audience.
During my second year studying Marketing at Northeastern University, I actively engaged in tons of event programming projects in the Student Union. I brought different types of artist include dancers, musicians, and comedians to our stage to showcase their talent. Meanwhile, I start building relationships with each one of the artists. We are friends and we strongly support each other’s dream. They would ask me for help on promoting their showcases, rebranding their artist websites, gaining more fans on social media, etc. From then on, I got invited by more and more organizations to help with promotion. That’s the time I started seriously enhancing my skills related to branding an artist. Start from studying social media management, researching and analyzing successful marketing cases to attending networking events to know the professionals in the field. I also studied makeup, hair design, outfit styling to photography and videography. All of these skills will inspire to branding an artist creatively. Beside the heavy workload from school, I also had responsibilities in many marketing projects with different artists. I barely had time to sleep! But I truly appreciated all the experiences and time that I had to spend with them.
You were the mastermind behind the marketing campaign for Beyoncé’s All-Female Band 10th Anniversary Concert. This sounds like a huge responsibility! What did you bring to the table creatively? What was it like working on a project with some of the biggest names in the business?
When the producer of the show, Jonathan Foo, first reached out to me, I was completely mind blown. It’s the world-class band from Queen Bey! At the moment he invited me to promote this concert, inspiration just jumped from everywhere into my head. During the promotion process, I brought up the idea of social media campaign and strategy of new media marketing to promote the show. We filmed the official trailer, produced a photoshoot for each member, promoted visual content on social media platforms. We gained thousands and thousands views and shares. And we also got the Boston globe and other media press to share the news. It was exciting for all the crew members, though everyone was also overwhelmed. At the first day of rehearsal with the ladies from Beyoncé’s original all-female Band, we were so shocked by their personalities and talent. Every lady from the band was so down to earth, they would hang out with you, encourage you, share their real thoughts and experiences on how to perform a good live show like what Beyoncé would do. They were so genuine and carrying that deeply touched me and inspired me to work harder. The rehearsals went super tight — after hours and hours of filming the footage, I had to edit 100GB of video that within 1 day. It’s a tough time for everybody, the singers, dancers, set designer, sound engineers…. However, no one on the team would ever complain about anything. With such a positive and energetic vibe, it really pushed me to move forward in my career. I really appreciated this experience.
How did you get involved with newfound star Annalé and her label Mako Recordings? Your role in marketing must have certainly played a role in her recent success
I met the producers behind MAKO back in Boston during one of the showcases I produced in 2013. We’d been keeping in touch and supporting each other’s work for a long time. After I graduated from college, I was referred by my musician friends to Herd Studio. I developed my skills in music business marketing during my time there. Producers from MAKO invited me in joining Annalé’s east coast promotional tour in February 2017. I joined the tour that included Stokley Williams in April 2017 as social media manager and chief photographer. I enjoy working with the team so much, they are super kind people. I definitely want to work with them even more and learn from these professionals. I am beyond grateful when they invited to join them officially as a new creative marketing director. I am currently focusing on bringing this super gifted soulful voice of Annalé to the Chinese market!
You’re actively involved in bringing talented musicians to Chinese markets. This sounds like a challenge given the country’s vastly different communications laws and standards — how do you see the future of foreign music gaining exposure in China? What are your goals and methods in relation to bringing Western talent to the country?
Chinese Pop Culture has its own features when compared to the Western music industry. Major media channels for music lovers such as Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube are being blocked in China. Due to this lack of platforms, less creative and new sounds can be found over there. My goal is to rebuild the bridges that connect the east and west. Bring the good music that is going to inspire music lovers. My methods would be focusing on market representation. Start from building all the Chinese media platforms WangyiYun (Chinese version of Spotify), Youku (Chinese version of Youtube), and Weibo(Chinese version of Twitter), etc, growing the fan base, get their new songs playing on Chinese radio stations, invite the artist to perform in the Chinese music festivals. From there on, I hope we could reach more local musicians to collaborate new songs together. Through collaborating with the local artist, the portfolio for the western artists would grow even stronger and it would be a good time to introduce these amazing and talented western talents to the Chinese TV Show to not only showcase them to a broader audience but also sharing the new sound of music.
What is your philosophy when it comes to collaborating on visual aesthetics and branding?
New Media Marketing is a big trend for current branding strategy. The visual presentation is one of the most essential and vital parts of the procedure. Visual content directly reflects the core value and vision of the brand. It creates a unique dimension for the audience to explore. When I collaborate with different artists, I love to hear about their vision. This decides what we go for. The color themes, what material we choose, lighting, etc. It is very detail-oriented.
What’s one aspect of your job that may surprise people?
I think my perspective of bringing collaboration internationally. It’s a blessing I have experienced many different types of work, positions with different production crews from all around the world. Not just promote the talent with artistic visual content, but also promote talents in Asia. I was in Alaska this September filming a documentary with a film production crew of China Central Television (CCTV). I introduced to the crew some of the signature work from my record label MAKO Management. And they were surprised with the new sounds that MAKO have composed and the film crew were very interested having new projects together with the musicians here from the States. I connect people globally.
Check out Yuwei’s Instagram profile — she’s constantly updating fans as to what she’s working on!