She’s been in the business for over 26 years and has worked both radio and records in many different formats. The first time I actually met Myra, she was escorting Seal to sing for and hang out with Vegas listeners, while handing out roses for Valentine’s Day. “Kiss From a Rose,” Get it? The women (including myself) were crazy over it. It was then that I discovered immediately how much of a pro she was. Not only was she funny and smart, but she handled that event (screaming women and all) like a Master. Every attention to detail, no BS policy, and 100% professional with both staff and listeners.
The reason I think Myra gets the Promotion business so well is because she started in radio in North Carolina in the late 80’s. She made the transition to records as a SE Regional rep for Atlantic Records in 1991. She’s a survivor, having moved to Epic Records in 1994, and then Warner Brothers in1997. In 1999 she moved to LA after being promoted to National Promotion Manager for Warner Brothers. She worked under several regimes there, working with artists like Madonna, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, Muse and more. When I asked her what the transition from radio to records was like, she said it was easy. “I love radio, but I also love music. It was an easy transition since I went in with an understanding of radio (sort of). Over the years I’ve gotten the radio bug a few times. As much as I love my career, I missed being on the air and interacting with the audience. Fortunately, a few programming friends have satiated me with an air shift here and there over the years.”
After maternity leave in 2008, Myra left Warner Brothers and moved to North County San Diego and began working with Sony/Red and artists like Phoenix, Mumford and Sons and Jason Aldean. In 2012, she became a member of the Road Runner promotion team working projects on Fueled By Ramen, Atlantic, Elektra, Big Beat, Road Runner and other labels. After a few corporate restructures, she currently heads up the West Coast Alternative Department for the newly relaunched Elektra Music Group.
Over the years Myra has worked with many artists. When I asked her what the worst behavior she had experienced with an artist was, she had many stories to tell. “Without naming names, there was one guy in a band who once urinated on my back pack during a meet and greet. My guess is he doesn’t remember that. I also had a band incite a riot at an in-store and that was rather frightening. Add to that the loss of a radio contest winner at Ozzfest because he was kicked out and went missing for a few days while his wife was back home giving birth to their first child, and I’d say it’s been pretty interesting.” I think we (in the industry) can all relate to artists or talent behaving badly.
Among her biggest challenges in life, Dehais says, “You mean besides the twenty-one hours of labor with the birth of my son? That was challenging. That epidural at the very end was amazing though. I was also attacked by a dog years ago and went through a year-long process of facial reconstruction.” As far as her career challenges, she says, “There will always be those. It’s devastating when music companies or radio stations downsize, but we all keep going because we love the business. You get through these things by focusing on the future and not on what happened or is currently happening.”
The key to Myra’s success: “Family, my boys keep me grounded and balanced. I am lucky to have a husband who takes great care of our son while I am traveling. I think having a family has helped me to be more organized and efficient at my job. I might even be more mature than I used to be.”
Talk to me about the mentoring you’ve been doing for young women at Elektra. How important is it to mentor women in the business these days?
“Just like men, women make great executives. We are good problem solvers, multi-taskers, creatives and visionaries. Inspiring and mentoring each other is part of building a strong team and future for a business. It’s also fun and rewarding. Lately, the women at Elektra Music Group have been discussing ideas on how we can inspire and learn from each other. Back in December, the women in the promotion department hosted a luncheon to educate other departments on exactly what it is that we do. Many of them had no idea that promotion was a real adult job and that we aren’t just running around organizing meet and greets. Maria Garcia, Melanie Scull, Nadia Canales, Jes Hogan, Emma Beilfus, Chloe Strickland and I answered questions and made many new friends. Having a better understanding of what each department contributes to the success of our artists helps us all. Perhaps we inspired someone to pursue a career in music promotion. Or maybe we scared them a little?”
As for what’s next for Myra Dehais? “Cooking is a passion for me as well as traveling with my family and watching my kid surf,” she says. “Professionally, Elektra Music Group had a great launch last year. I merged from the pop radio promotion world to alternative radio promotion and have learned so much from my partner in crime and one of the best in the business, Greg Dorfman. I look forward to breaking new artists and building on our current artists as we embark on our second year at Elektra Music Group.”
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