Don’t be afraid to have an opinion! While this is broad, it’s important because it can be one of the most difficult pieces of advice to adopt and develop. The main thing to remember is that anyone who is a true fan will sniff out when you’re inauthentic. So have a voice and lean into it because your community will be stronger when they know who you are and what you represent.

We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin and Facebook. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle versus staying power?

In this interview series, called, “How To Cultivate Community In A Click to Connect World” we are talking to influencers about how they define success and what we all need to discover about the true nature of influence. As a part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing Madelynn Elyse.

Madelynn Elyse is the Founder and President of Shark Attack Records, a boutique label services company dedicated to taking artists to the next level of their careers by ensuring they have the tools and analytics they need to monetize their art, offering services in campaign strategies, sync/licensing, graphic design, branding, marketing, and more. In her role, Madelynn oversees the operations of the company, coaches artists to be truly independent, and shows them how to use analytics to grow their careers. Since founding Shark Attack in 2016, she has collaborated with labels including Warner Music, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Wagram Records, Bungalo Records, KMG, and on campaigns with artists ranging from the smallest independents to artists at the top of the Billboard charts.

Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path and what got you to where you are today?

Shark Attack began as a home-brewed record label for my artistic projects. We were approached by labels, but having seen our friends struggle in those kinds of relationships, we opted to stay independent. That’s around the time my passion for marketing and business began to take over — thanks to my mentor Don Grierson. I started helping my friends with their releases, developing release campaigns, and assisting with digital marketing. It has just blossomed from there.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?

Before Shark Attack Records, I worked as a full-time musical artist in Los Angeles. During this time, through the journey of myself and friends, I witnessed how difficult this industry can be. When you enter the beginning stages of your journey as an artist, most people are quick to say yes to anything and afraid to say what they think or want. I have learned over the years how crucial it is to trust your instincts and not be afraid to speak up. Your perspective and opinion are valuable, even if others don’t recognize them as so in the beginning. This is your career and journey — you will never regret standing up for what you want and believe in.

We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?

Technology has changed the music industry in such massive ways that it’s easy to be overwhelmed with information. And it’s unfortunately easy to be misled about how to promote and grow. That’s why I put a lot of emphasis on educating our artists about the world of music marketing as it exists today. I’ll be honest with you, which sometimes gets me into hot water, but I think it is still essential to be forthright and transparent.

Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?

Focus on what you can control and avoid comparing yourself to others! And don’t get caught up in the chase to succeed either. Your goal should be to stay consistent and look to improve yourself always. Remember that everyone has their path — what works for them might not work for you.

Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?

Success comes in all shapes and sizes — it looks different for everyone. Success, for me, often involves what I can accomplish for the artists I work with. I am so grateful to wake up every day and use my passion and knowledge to impact someone’s career. I feel the most accomplished when I have gained an artist’s trust so they are receptive to my input, and we can work as a team to take their career to the next level.

What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?

I’m very picky about who I work with and only work with artists I really believe in. I do my best when I love the people I work with, and I find that the music I gravitate to always performs the best.

How do you reduce or mitigate stress?

To de-stress, I love to cook! It’s the only thing that really gets my brain to switch gears. I find my favorite recipes on TikTok, and my favorite influencers are @alixtrawgwe, @violetcooks, and @feelgoodfoodie. I love the challenge of taking so many unrelated ingredients and turning them into something incredibly tasty and satisfying.

I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.

1 — Have a Voice

Don’t be afraid to have an opinion! While this is broad, it’s important because it can be one of the most difficult pieces of advice to adopt and develop. The main thing to remember is that anyone who is a true fan will sniff out when you’re inauthentic. So have a voice and lean into it because your community will be stronger when they know who you are and what you represent.

2 — Focus on what YOU can control

As I mentioned earlier in the interview, focus on what you can control and avoid comparing yourself to others. We all have the habit of comparing ourselves to others on social media, but it’s always a mistake. You’re only ever seeing what they want you to see. For you, the best use of your energy is to focus on your journey and compete solely with yourself. And be ready for lulls in the process. Not everything works, but the key is to be consistent.

3 — Don’t chase numbers

This is something I try to drive home with every artist we work with. Too often, we hear from artists that they want X amount of streams or X amount of followers while simultaneously comparing their numbers to other artists. But there’s one thing I’ve learned in the music industry: things are often not as they appear. Numbers can be bought, streams can be manipulated, and engagement can be automated. Because of this, we focus on building real fans — they are far more valuable than a million empty streams.

4 — Engage With Your Fanbase

The most common mistake artists make is not engaging with their fans. When someone takes the time to comment or DM you, that’s a real victory! Your reply can take an enthusiastic listener and turn them into a superfan. I’ve seen it time and time again. I always suggest to take 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night to engage. A little goes a long way here.

5 — Don’t Exhaust Your Community

While engagement is essential for every artist, it’s also important not to exhaust your community. Some examples I have seen are through pre-save campaigns or ticket sales. I think the artist always needs to keep in mind that their fans are people too — it is a tricky balance.

What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?

Building a fanbase is like having a piggy bank. You have to deposit value into your fans, just as they do with you. So give back. That can be as simple as just replying to every comment — I always love to say that the sweetest word to someone’s ears is their name. That small and simple response can engage a fan for years to come. You’d be amazed how many artists don’t interact with their biggest fans.

As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

That’s a tough question. The movement I would love to inspire boils down to ‘You Can Teach Yourself Anything’. Shark Attack was born from my curiosity about social media analytics and how I could use it to create more opportunities and business for myself. After years of trial and error and teaching myself how to understand data, I realized that I could use the tools I have taught myself to coach artists to be truly independent and find success in it. Though it would be easy to provide artists with the answers, I use my time with each of them to explain what I recommend and why, the analytics behind everything, and the tools I use so that they can succeed with or without my services. Remembering that I can teach myself anything is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned, and I think that attitude can not only change an artist’s viewpoint but the world as well.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He, she or they might just see this. 🙂

If there’s one person I’d love to have coffee with, it’d be Jackie Saturn. She’s a legend in the industry, and although I’ve met her a handful of times, I would love a chance to pick her brain.

What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?

You can follow me on socials or visit our site:

Thank you for these thought provoking insights. Here’s to your continued success!