In 2002, Tara Thomas founded the infamous Atlanta-based Slawta Houze Produkshunz, that was created to provide a vehicle for unsigned artists to have their craft reviewed, exposed and the possibility of having doors opened to them in the music industry. She and her team, partnered with dozens of experts in a variety of media-related fields, allowed Slawta Houze Produkshunz to offer premium services to their clients and effectively promote their individual artists.
Born with the gift of gab, Tara started her career in the entertainment industry while working at the Hartford International Airport in Atlanta. During her tenure at the airport she formed a partnership with Bonz to launch the renowned Slawta House and used the opportunity to hand out CDs to Andre 3000, Bob Baldwin, Clifton Powell and Larry Jackson, to mention a few. From there the young PR guru developed an interest in entertainment and began researching the dynamics of the structure of the business of music where she met Trick Daddy’s manager; from there everything started to fall into place.
Networking is a natural skill for Tara, who used it to create major opportunities for herself and others while managing the Miami-based rapper JT Money for 2 years. Her management stint opened the door to a longstanding friendship with the great Tony Mercedes. This big break gave Tara the chance to network with record label A&R managers, multi-platinum producers and A-Listers alike. The networking dynamo began knocking at power players’ doors, which led her to start working with multi-platinum super producer Dame Grease who was responsible for playing a major role in establishing the careers of major artists DMX, Jay-Z, LL Cool J and Jadakiss.
In 2009, Tara moved to New York City and began making power moves that opened the door to work with major industry players, namely Adante Ace and club 40/40, Soul Pitch Media, the infamous Mazaradi Fox and the Dumouts, CME, Mo Money, Strong Enough Entertainment, Phil Gates, Da Trappa – Rocky Road Records, Smoke of Field Mob, Bob Baldwin, Scott Parker, Keith Robinson, Zaytoven, Armadus/Badboy Producer, Chris Rich, and Mpire Records. Tara kept grinding and building her impressive resume, holding down executive positions as Vice President of Strapp Magazine as well being a consultant to Streets’ Mos Magazine.
After several years of working and networking in the entertainment business with top celebrities, artists, multi-platinum producers under the company Thomas PR Group, Tara decided to rebrand her name and company and renamed her public relations business to Tara Thomas Agency. Tara is also a Casting director for major film projects.
With an impressive list of clients and strong relationships established with major record labels, Gold and Platinum producers, songwriters, actors as well as comedians. Tara Thomas is one of the most sought after women in the entertainment business.
The KWAK team had the pleasure of spending some time with the PR dynamo, and we decided to ask her a few questions. Check them out below!
What motivated you to start your own business?
I was in a relationship with Bendrell Thomas and he was a rapper/producer. I wanted to know what was taking up all of his time and money, so I became involved. He formed SLAWTA HOUZE PRODUKSHUNZ, and the rest is history.
Do you think that women have the same opportunities for success in the industry that you’re in? What obstacles have you encountered being a female in your industry?
Yes, women can do the same things as men in the industry, but we have to be more careful. You have to trust your instincts. I have been challenged by men in the industry as far as knowledge goes, and if there was something I didn’t know, I have always had industry vets who are my closest friends to give me their input.
Tell us about your most memorable project.
Hmmmm… that is tricky, so I am going to say that working with T-Boz (of the hip-hop group, TLC) on “Totally T-Boz” was the most memorable one. But honestly, they all were special to me. I am also a casting director for major films, so God is good to me.
What do you think is the next big thing in the music industry? What trends are you seeing?
I’m not sure, since the industry is forever changing. I will say, let’s promote self-esteem to the youth that want to be in the Industry.
If you could give just ONE piece of advice to young female entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Never sell your soul to the devil. You can be great without compromising yourself.
What are you working on right now?
For the past two months, I’ve been working as the casting director for a movie titled “Vieques”, about a group of high school students whose class trip to the beautiful island of Vieques goes terribly wrong. I am working with a lot of major celebrities right now, like Mekhi Phifer, Tony Plana, Luis Guzman, Emily Kincaid, and Danny Trejo. (You can learn more about the film on the “Vieques” website.)