Top 7 Influential People in 2009

This year brought a major paradigm shift in all apsects of my life. As I reflect on 2009, I can’t help but think of the people throughout the year who have had a huge influence and impact on me personally and professionally. My personal life and my career as an artist manager and music marketer have been greatly affected by the following people and I would like to say a huge thanks to them. I am including their Twitter address and encourage you to follow them to glean some of the great stuff that I glean from them daily.

1) My wife Diana – she continues to teach me how to love everyone unconditionally.

2) Pete Orta – demonstrated true selfless giving and has been an incredible encourager and friend to me. I am amazed at the huge step of faith he has taken this year with In Triumph

3) Spence Smith – encouraged me to start a blog which has been a magnificent experience that has expanded my horizons in web 2.0.  Spence has also connected me with some incredible people this year

4) Randy Elrod – taught me so much about the power of web 2.0 which has redefined my approach to marketing. Probably my favorite person to follow on Twitter.

5) Jon Foreman – continues to create beautiful music with lyrics that encourage me to think about my purpose here on earth

6) Seth Godin – challenges the way I approach marketing daily through his blog which is by far my favorite. I am including the link to his blog as opposed to his Twitter

7) Peter Cashmore – twitters under the name Mashable and gives incredibly useful info for everything digital and connected to the internet

Music Publicist Jackie Marushka Guest Blogs

As we continue in the series of guest bloggers, I invited one of the top publicists in the music business, Jackie Marushka to post on The Music Gardener blog. Jackie currently serves as Vice President of Public Relations and Communications for Provident Music Group where she works with artists including Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Pillar, Red, Brandon Heath and others. Throughout her career, Jackie has landed prominent media coverage for her artists on outlets including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Today Show, NBC’s The Tonight Show, ABC’s Nightline, NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, 60 Minutes, CNN’s Larry King Live, CNN”s Showbiz Today, Rolling Stone Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, The G. Gordon Liddy Show, Newsweek Magazine, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Anderson Cooper 360, FOX & Friends, FOX News Live, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hannity & Colmes, Business Week, The Chicago Tribune, The Tennessean, and The Dallas Morning News.

Jackie Marushka Luttrell

Jackie Marushka

Pulling into my office parking lot this morning, I hit the “park” button on my Prius and finish listening to the track I’ll likely have playing in my head.  All. Day. Long.
(It’s a great tune so I simply won’t be able to help myself.)

Anyway, as the guitars begin to fade, I discover there’s something new here.  Something I’d missed in prior passes.  I hear a whisper of a prayer in the background as the song plays out.  With this whisper, a layer has been pulled back and in a moment, this artist has gone from lofty and untouchable to human and vulnerable; like me.  He’s made me feel something new – offered a glimpse through a new filter, and I’m inspired.

The artist is Matt Maher and the track is on one of the early pre-releases to his Alive Again CD.

This is a typical start to one of my days.  My name is Jackie Marushka and my role is that of VP of Public Relations and Communications for Provident Music Group.  Sound lofty?  It’s pretty simple, really. I’m a storyteller.  I’m passionate about getting to the heart of what an artist is all about, and helping them share their stories with the world.

How do I do this?  Well, I immerse myself in the artists’ music and then get to sit with the them and listen to what THEY want to communicate to the masses.  I take these incredibly insightful nuggets and package them in ways easily digestible to our media partners.  These media partners include (but aren’t limited to) TV, newspapers, magazines, radio and online platforms like magazine websites and blogs.

I spend a lot of time at my laptop writing bios, press releases and compiling key information.  I also spend A LOT of time on the phone.  I usually start a day with calls at 7 AM and go until 7 PM, in order to accommodate East and West coasts.

I also get to do fun things like plan street-week media events and award-show media, which can include red carpet arrival interviews and navigating Grammy winners through a maze of media, backstage.

So, in a nutshell, I get to listen to incredible music and promote some of the most inspiring artists I’ve ever met.   If you’re interested in hearing more, please follow us at and be sure to check out our roster at   You’re also welcome to follow me at, I’ll launch a blog in 2010 so please stay posted to hear the latest and greatest!

Twitter Up!

Twitter Button from As a music marketer, I have have put a great deal of effort into studying and practicing the art of Twittering. From both an artist manager perspective and as a music marketer I think it is extremely important for artist to be active on Twitter. Even though Twitter has become an adult playground for network marketing, there are real people on Twitter who are truly interested in music. The best advise I can give anyone is to “build a Twitter following who are genuinely interested in you” Forget about the rest of the marketing and porn stalkers. How do you go about building your following? Start with your fans who already follow you on Facebook, MySpace and your website. Then work on fans who attend your shows whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people each night. Make those followers feel special. Artist who don’t follow back are annoying. That screams “look at me. I’m important and you aren’t.” I’m not saying you have to follow every single person that follows you but I am saying you should follow your true fans. Create a group of your true fans with Tweetdeck and actually communicate with them. You may say “I don’t have time” To that I say “It’s your job! Make time.” You are the one who chose to be an artist, and like it or not, Twittering is now part of your job description. If you communicate, they will buy. You need them to buy in order to survive!

Something’s Gotta Give

I am thrilled to post this guest blog from my great friend, Pete Orta. Pete owns the very successful branding company, Orta Universal.

Orta Universal

I believe in having a good work ethic, but a few years back I ran out of steam.  For the first time in my life I was lost. I believe all of us reach this point at some time, it just depends on how long our resources last.  My self-discipline, self-confidence and the self-serving purpose of my life fed everything but my spirit; the real me inside was dying.  As I was at the bottom of my life and couldn’t collect any answers for myself, I remember finally thinking, this is not the end. There was nothing there for me and I didn’t want to go out like that, I wanted to do something, besides die a slow death.  My faith deepened as time went on while the soldier inside of me still desired a good fight to feel alive.  I started making calls to people I knew and apologizing for my self-serving motives in the past, most never recognized it in me but I recognized it in myself.  I would ask, “What I can I do for you?  What’s your dream?  What do you want to accomplish this year and why?”   Not having value left in what I had done, I was forced to see my own value apart from my accomplishments or lack there of.  That mind shift immediately began to help me peel away the layers to see the true identity of the people around me. My world started to transform, suddenly I was talking with someone’s son on the phone, having lunch with someone’s husband, having a meeting with some kids father, who was just trying to put food on his family’s table.  I grew a heart for them because I knew how it felt to be alone on my journey and I didn’t want anybody else to experience what I had felt.  I started digging into their lives and helping them break through the thick glass wall they once built through failure and disappointment.  I fell in love with humanity and started to serve it.  As they would reveal their need, I became committed to their dreams and their ideas.  I put everything I had into to helping them make it happen.  I pushed their ideas to the next level as well as provided the tools to be effective.  I really wanted people to win.  I started asking questions that would help define what they did and how they did it.  I was not only branding them, I was branding my fire within them. The power of giving is a force that has no mercy, it’s an aggressive current that absorbs peoples skepticism, doubts and fears.

Something happened to me, I was alive, and without any strength of my own. If I ever think about me, I still feel lost, but it’s just a reminder of what my life is like without the love for other people. What’s funny is that in my time of despair, I would always say. “Something’s gotta give” not knowing that the something was me.

– Pete Orta “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.” – Paul the Apostle

One Cool Dude!

That cool dude below, for those of you who don’t know, is Carter Beauford, drummer for the Dave Matthews Band. When I say cool, I mean really cool!  I already knew Carter as one of the best drummers to ever hit the rock/pop scene, but after spending some time with him in London, I now know the super nice and cool side of Carter!


#7 Twitterer in Brentwood, TN!

This morning I randomly plugged my Twitter user name into and it appears I am ranked #7 for the Elite Twitterers in Brentwood, TN  It was initially exciting but then the horrible sin of envy kicked in as I peered at the number 1 Twitterer. I asked myself why are they better than me? What are they doing that I don’t do? How can I overtake them?  But then I remembered all of the great things about #7. First of all that puts me in the Top 10! The number 7 is associated with perfection as God created the earth in 7 days. The number 7 plays an incredibly significant role throughout the Bible as a holy number. 7-Eleven has the ultimate Slurpies! 7-up is the Uncola and my favorite all time best fitting jeans were made by 7 For All MankindRob Thomas is #7 on the Billboard Rock Album Chart this week. Hannah Montanna is #7 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart this week and Garth Brooks Double Live is the #7 all time best selling album in history.

I am feeling kind of special now and thinking maybe I should throw a #7 party! Come on and follow me at


Lifework 2.0


Last week Artist Garden Entertainment had the opportunity to attend Randy Elrod and Spence   Smith’s Lifework 2.0 seminar again. Lifework provides a wealth of web 2.0 knowledge  that helps us as artist managers and with our music marketing. One great bonus with the seminar is that they allow alumni to attend future seminars at no cost. This has been a huge help as there is so much information being taught in a single day. It sometimes takes me a few times to really grasp the techno talk and Randy and Spence are constantly introducing new developing web 2.0 techniques. Lifework is responsible for the Music Gardener blog. I didn’t have a clue as to how to begin to blog until taking their class. Even though I still have much to learn, I finally have a solid understanding of blogging, Twittering and SEO. If you work in any aspect in the music world, I highly reccomend taking their next class!

Noiseblock Music Group

Artist Garden Entertainment made a trip to Muscle Shoals, Alabama last week to visit Noiseblock Music and their beautiful recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Gary Baker, songwriter who penned “I Swear” (John Michael Montgomery and All 4 One) “I’m Already There” (Lonestar) and many other hits, built this incredibly beautiful studio in Alabama about 2 1/2 hours south of Nashville. We really enjoyed hearing some of their vision for Noiseblock Music Group as we spent the morning with Gary and his business partner Greg Boyd. Noiseblock is looking to get word out that they are a nice alternative to Nashville or Atlanta for making a record. The studio sits in a quiet little town about 2 hours and 20 minutes south of Nashville that forces you to relax and be creative. What a great environment to do some recording!

On my visit, I also had the opportunity to spend some time with up and coming artist Shane Baker. Expect to be hearing more from Shane in the near future as he is writing some great music and quickly building a following in the south.

We highly recommend Noiseblock Studio to any artist or producer looking for a new great place to record.

Rudy Vaughn Band

We have a winner for our Music Pick of the Month! The Rudy Vaughn Band from Atlanta, GA is our pick this month. Click on the music Pick of the Month tab to learn more. The Rudy Vaughn band will be playing the Hard Rock Calling festival in London June 26-28 on the same bill with Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and The Killers.


New Blog Design Unveiled!

The new Music Gardener blog has arrived! I recently made the transition from a blog to a blog. My good friends Spence Smith and Randy Elrod have given me much encouragement  and help in making the transition. So many new great bells and whistles that I can’t wait to use as we explore the world of artist management and music marketing. Hopefully you enjoy the new design as much as I do.