This article was originally published on KCPR.org.
One last hurrah before they all had to face the real world – that is what Mikaela Duhs was embarking on with her college friends when she got the call that would change the trajectory of her life. She was on her way to Outside Lands in 2018 when she was offered a job for Shore Fire Media, a “boutique” public relations firm in Brooklyn, New York.
Duhs is a Cal Poly journalism alum and wasn’t expecting to get the job.
“I didn’t have an ‘in’ or anything like that, and you know not that that’s a bad thing at all, I just was very proud of that for myself,” said Duhs.
She worked as the Arts Editor for Mustang News, the video director for KCPR and, eventually became a disc jockey for the station as well, during her time at Cal Poly.
Despite being a journalism major, her writing always took more of a prose shape and her professors called it more “descriptive” over journalistic. Additionally, she had always gravitated towards the art scene at Cal Poly in her coverage. This helped lead her to where she is today.
“This is the dream gig of what I would want to be able to do, you know? Be able to write about bands and represent them to the media,” said Duhs.
Duhs is now working for artists such as Grandson and Noga Erez. She even came full circle from her time with KCPR with one of her current bands, Chicano Batman. During her latter years at Cal Poly, Duhs interviewed Chicano Batman, then last year, in 2020, she worked on their “Invisible People” album campaign. She said working on that campaign was “one of the most fun experiences ever, because they’re one of my favorite bands.”
She said she already had a “semi-relationship” with Chicano Batman and mentioned one day while working with them that she had met them previously during her time at the station. They remembered her from the interview and even congratulated her on coming “so far” in her career.
“I think for me, because I originally wanted to do – recording an interview in college that was super bad quality – and now getting to like run their full album campaign, that got them tiny desks and Pitchfork reviews and stuff that they had really, really wanted,” said Duhs. “That was a really, really meaningful campaign.”
Her favorite part of her job, however, is getting to see her artists perform.
“Even if you’re working with a client who you’re not super into their music, even getting to see them perform, I think is still really, really special,” said Duhs.
This aspect, unfortunately, has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is something Duhs is looking forward to returning to.
“I work with some pretty cool people, but I would love to get to see them perform and meet them in person and hang, but that is just not the reality which is is sad,” said Duhs.
One artist she is excited to experience this with post-pandemic is Noga Erez, an Israeli electro pop singer-songwriter. Due to COVID-19, Erez’s album campaign was extended, so Duhs is ready for people to listen to it since she’s had it on “non stop” for a year.
“I 100% know that Noga Erez – she was in my 2020, like Spotify wrapped 100% and will 100% be in 2021,” said Duhr.
Erez is actually the artist, if given the opportunity, that Duhs would choose to spend the day with and hang out, in a less structured, professional setting.
“I’m just obsessed like, beyond obsessed. She’s the coolest person on this earth,” said Duhs.
In addition to representing artists, Duhs also works for organizations in New York, such as the Arts Students’ League of New York. This 146 year old institution resonates with her since Duhs is an artist herself.
“I really enjoy my work with art institutions, so I used to work with the Art Students League of New York … where like Georgia O’Keeffe studied and Jackson Pollock and all these people,” said Duhs.
Recently, Duhs was promoted from resident fine arts publicist to Account Executive for Shorefire and she will navigate this new role moving forward for the company.