I'm Aïda ML.

In love with branding, photography, music, discovery and media, I use this space to share some of the thing I work on, some of the things I fell for and things that caught my attention. Professionally, I’ve been working in the Public Relations and Social Media fields for over 5 years. My skills include media relations, events production, social media strategy, content production and I am familiar with basic coding, CRM, analytics, graphic design and research.

Feel free to reach out for more information.


Playlist: Warm Enough

Playlist: Sunday Feels

The Internet

Syd is thankful. She wants us to know that on behalf of the band she is a part of: The Internet. Saying it in between ad libs and repeating "thank you Montreal, I really mean it" all along the show. 

The ease with which each member of this band performs and their apparent complicity is a beautiful sight. 

Despite Syd and Steve Lacy having an extensive catalog of solo song, this concert is dedicated to The Internet's repertoire. Going back and fourth in between Hive Mind and Ego Death, you can follow the story line along the show with Syd giving the reason why/for who she wrote some of the songs she performs. 

Next to Syd, you can't ignore Steve Lacy. Moving with so much confidence and ease in his Margiela boots and rocking a hot pink velour shirt with matching gloves (it is "fucking cold" in Syd's words), he looks like what the word cool mean. Changing guitars all along the show, sometimes playing a pink one, a blue one or a green one, he takes his time to adjust them while Syd interacts with the crowd and reply to fans by telling them she loves them too before she sees Steve's nod from the corner of her eye to let the band know that he's ready to go. 

The set, designed like a living room, makes you feel that you are at one of their jam sessions. The kind of proximity that makes someone throw a box of chocolate tied in a red bow on stage. 

This vibe stays intact for the entire length of the show and makes you feel like you're hanging with some friends especially when you see Syd sitting on the couch while the Patrick raps and Steve performs a song.

Back to Syd's soothing voice when she sings the therapeutic Better With Time that she introduces by saying that she wrote it to help her fight her depression. Her ending the show with saying that performing is therapy to her gives even more meaning to her last round of thank yous, we help her feel better and she lets us know throughout the show. 

After a second 30-seconds ovation, Syd thanks the crowd and asks them if they have enough energy for another song. Not the usual encore scenario, no pretending. They're real and they're being themselves. Each band member with its own style and vibe, as if they were just chilling in Syd's parents' basement. 
The exact feeling they want to convey with this set design.


Her show starts with the audio of an interview of her as a child listing the instrument she plays and saying that she wants to be "a singer, songwriter and performer" and her performance shows you just that. She navigates easily between instruments during the first 5 minutes of the show before letting her voice do the talking. She is here to stay and her performance is how she's going to prove it.

My favorite type of content to capture during live shows is video. It's the only way to show how in sync the light show and the music notes are. Each stroke of light is perfectly in sync with the music and help frame H.E.R. in a halo but always dark on her eyes, hidden behind big glasses anyway.

In addition to the light show, a few songs were accompanied by footage of her & her band on tour and showing the complicity between them, showing H.E.R. without her glasses for only a few seconds before the moment is replaced by another frame, like a blink. A few fans were added to the montage for the empowering 'As I Am' to (I'm guessing) illustrate how this song intended to make women feel. Genius.

Another detail that I noticed and enjoyed during the show is how her logo is her stage name "H.E.R." with the letters out of focus and a little glow around them juxtaposed with the artist standing in front of it in a halo of light similar to the glow around the letters and not showing her eyes. Having a look at her Instagram account and overall social media/media presence you realize that all of her visuals are mostly pictures where you see her silhouette but no clear shape, she's always presented as a mystery. Having her perform the song that propelled her to stardom "Focus" wearing glasses to hide her eyes and standing in front of a blurry logo makes you wonder if the logo will clear up when/if she decides to let us see her eyes.

I personally think she already knows when she'll let us see more of her. If she plans on doing it but her stage name standing for Have Everything Revealed makes it feel like that's the plan.

After being brought to tears by the crowd, she thanks us and leaves only to reappear half a second later rapping like a young Lauryn Hill. Maybe the ovation took time from the scheduled break before the encore.

This was an amazing live performance. And made me want to see her perform again and in the same breath made me understand that it's artists that are this thoughtful of every details that goes in their performances that makes me want to see them live more than once to witness their growth.

She ended her show by letting us now that she was "only 21". She's only getting started.

Take Care

Every once in a while you'll hear some words that will comfort you in the idea that you're doing the right things & going in the right direction. 

After a last minute decision to make my way to Toronto for All Star Weekend I logged onto Twitter to find out that Bryan Espiritu (founder of LegendsLeague) and Ronnie Fieg (founder of KITH) were going to give a talk on entrepreneurship that weekend. 

I've been following both Espiritu and Fieg for a couple of years and their moves are nothing short of inspiring so I - obviously - signed up to attend the Shopify-powered event. 

At the hour long conversation, they discussed the importance of doing what your gut tell you is right, never compromising your vision and being committed to your goal. They also touched on the subject of surrounding yourself with a team that you feel will grow with you, help you grow and will be as committed to the vision as you are. In the words of Fieg, "you get to a certain point and from there you are only going to get as far as your team can get you". 

This was honestly one of these moment where every word resonates because they are saying what you think but can't find a way to phrase properly. It left me inspired and ready to get to work on a project me and a friend have been plotting on for a little while. You need to find time for the things that you want to make happen and if need be, be a boring friend from time. 

I'm hoping that a video becomes available soon so I can update the post with it and the many gems they shared. 

The Social Networks

I was just tweeting about it and I got inspired so I figured I would write something on the subject of social networks, more specifically Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat, and why they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.


Twitter was created in March 2006 and counts 288 million active monthly users, 500 million of tweets are sent per day. (Twitter owns Vine that has 70 million users). Instagram was created in October 2010 and counts over 300 million active users (Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion). Snapchat was created in September 2011 and counts 100 million active users with over 700 million photos and videos shared by day (Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion).

Sidenote: the Blackberry became popular in the US around 2006 and the first iPhone came out in 2007.


Twitter is a network that allows you to share messages within 140 characters with the people that subscribe to your updates. You can also share pictures (and now) videos on Twitter.
80% of Twitter users are active on mobile. After losing the bidding war for Instagram against Facebook, Twitter added a feature that allows you to add filters to your photos before sharing them on Twitter. (Facebook tried to buy Twitter too for $500 million a couple years ago.)

Instagram is a photo-sharing network that allows you to take pictures and videos (up to 15 seconds), edit them with a filter and/or external photo editing app and share them. Like Twitter, the people who subscribe see your updates. Instagram can be viewed on a desktop computer but you can only share pictures through a smartphone.

Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app. You can share photos and videos (up to 10 seconds) with your contacts and they will disappear as soon as they view them (unless your contacts have jailbreaked iPhones, careful). Another feature of Snapchat is that you can share content in what's called your Story. This content will stay there for 24 hours and can be viewed by your contacts as well as people who subscribe to your channel (same concept as Youtube). Recently Snapchat added a Discover feature that allows brands to have their channel on a special tab and share content, this content changes every day. Today they added a feature that allows you to add music from your library as a soundtrack to your "snaps". Snapchat can only be used on a smartphone as well.


Twitter wins because the user is the one who makes the use that he wants out of it. Twitter allows you to engage with people you find interesting and find people who share the same interest as you. Hashtags are a great way to find these people and because YOU have the choice between 288 million users, you can change your timeline from one day to the other. You can also create lists to separate your different interests. Instagram works the same way since you pick who you follow and you have millions of options there as well. Whether you're interested in photography, travel, makeup, music, food, fitness, etc. there is a niche for you on Instagram and there's people you can follow to find what you're looking for. 
In my opinion, right now, Snapchat is one of the greatest social networking app. It is such a great tool it's incredible. Whether you're an artist, a makeup artist or someone who just wants to market themselves and show what they can bring to the table, Snapchat is for you. Because the content is limited in length and has an exclusive appeal to it (you can only share a 10-seconds video or post a photo for 10 seconds or less and it's only there for 24 hours), you are 99% sure that the people subscribing to your Snaps will view your content. Which is why Madonna chose this app to premiere her new video. This move was such a win for Madonna (trying to reach millennials - Snapchat users) and for Snapchat (the video premiered on the day they launched the Discover feature - it's Madonna, enough said). The Discover feature of Snapchat hosts channels for some big platforms (CNN, Buzzfeed, Vice, etc.) and is by default on the cellphone of Snapchat user around the world which means that your content being featured there gives you a 100 millions reach (the impressions will depends on who actually opens it). Enough said.


What these networks have in common is that they are optimized (or created) to be used on smartphones and - like the war between Apple and Samsung to have the monopole of that market shows - these are not going anywhere anytime soon. Another thing is the fact that they are a blank canvas, when you first create your account, your timeline is empty. You create your experience. You're the one who pick and choose who you follow and therefore the message you're exposed to and what you see. You can always switch things up by unfollowing/following different people and you have millions of options. The final reason is that most people love to share their opinions, what's going on in their life, etc. Plus, there is no denying that they are great networking tools, by following someone on Twitter and/or Instagram you can get an idea (idea) of their mindset and if you share the same mindset as them and possibly make new friends (sorry Drake).

There really is no denying the importance these social networks have in our society today, from being at the heart of debate about relationships to being mentioned by the likes of Kanye West, J. Cole, Drake & Big Sean to only mention artists I've been listening to recently.



This is a subject that I've seen float around on Twitter a lot since J. Cole went gold in two weeks with a very minimal (almost non-existant) marketing plan and other artists did less with way more.

The way I see it, the answer is as simple as to each his own
To elaborate, I decided to go through my three recent favourite album roll out strategies and what makes them strategies even though it does not obviously look like it.

J. Cole is an artist that is NOT out there, you have artists posting Instagram posts and tweets everyday but J. Cole is not one of them. Therefore when he is active on these social networks you pay attention because it's rare and when it does happen, there is a purpose behind it. Cole studied communication so I believe that he know what I know and one of my favourite takeaway from my 3 years of studying communication: the medium is the message.

J. Cole got so big and is able to be a (B-List) celebrity thanks to his fan base, and thanks to the time of the internet and instant communication, he only needs them to make a big BANG. So for his marketing plan, he decided to use his fan base as the medium. He went directly to the fans, had real & genuine interactions with them ($ a dream concerts, visiting fans, etc.). 
To announce the launch of his new album, only thing he did was tweet the trailer of said album on November 16th and then he let his fans spread the word. After that, he went to several radios around the US to give them a listen of the album. While in one of these cities he went to visit a fan at her house to give her her very own listening session of 2014FHD with J. Cole.  In the middle of his radio tour, he announced that he would be back to 2014, Forest Hills Drive to host a listening party for some fans who would get to hear it before everyone else. How genius is that?? I'm not saying that it wasn't genuine but it is still a genius marketing move. By inviting fans to his home and giving them the opportunity to listen to the album before everyone else, he made them feel special and part of something bigger than them; they knew what the world was going to hear before and the artist gave them access to it and was with them when they listened to it. He also played perfectly around the subject of the album which is finding your way back home when you get a bit lost in the world and brought his fans to "the only place like home he's ever known". A day after the listening sessions, the album leaks online. Two days after the leak, he releases the video for the first song off of the album, says nothing about the leak. He just tweets an iTunes link on the day of the release of the album and that's it. Meanwhile, his partner at Dreamville and very good friend Ib tweets and he asks people to show him how much albums they got. A retweet by Ib means a chance that J. Cole sees it and decides to pop up at your place so people buy tons of albums (up to 20) and tweet their pictures to Ib, more sales. Then the FMSL Tour, Fuck Money Spread Love, J. Cole decides to just go on the road and stop whenever, tell his fans where he is and meet them with their album so he can sign them. Now, if you're a fan & you haven't bought a physical copy of the album yet, you're going to go buy it in case J. Cole comes to your city and is somewhere where he can sign it for you, more sales
Like he said in Let Nas Down, he is "just a man of the people, not above but equal" and he's trying to find way to incorporate that idea in his marketing strategy and he did it brilliantly. I'm not saying that his approach was anything short of amazing and real, it just clearly had as an end goal to sell albums, because this is his job, & it succeeded. 

Now if we go back, out of nowhere Beyoncé drops an album with no promo, no announcement, no leak, no rumour. The album is just here, on iTunes and it sold, a lot. Beyoncé won. A few months before this new album, Beyoncé started the Mrs Carter World Tour where she visited countries around the world and performed old songs. This was Beyoncé's marketing plan. By reminding people around the world who she is, how amazing of a performer she is and how good her already existing songs are; she made them crave for more so when the album landed on iTunes one night, people instantly downloaded it. It was a risk on Beyoncé's end, but when you can sell out a world tour with no new songs I don't think releasing an album out of nowhere is scary to you..
Once again, very different but still a marketing plan called the Mrs. Carter World Tour.
Here is a little excerpt from an article that I had saved and that applies to Beyoncé's and J. Cole's approach: "By releasing Beyoncé as a surprise and forcing the world to hear it all at once as the full album experience it was designed to be, she seizes control of the narrative around the record. It's not about singles, it's not about sales, it's about her making a statement, and the insistence that the world should come to her, and not the other way around. This is the very best kind of hubris, and it spins her creative and commercial risk into a strength. Beyoncé is telling us that she's bigger than hits, and she's got far more important things on her mind. And she's right."

Another brilliant marketing strategy for an album was Jay Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail. Jay Z and Samsung teamed up to offer the album to the first one million people to download it through a Samsung application 3 days before the release date of the album. Three days before its release, MCHG would already be platinum. After announcing this partnership, Jay & Samsung teamed up and released mini movies featuring Jay Z and some of the biggest producers in the hip hop world working on Magna Carta Holy Grail. It gets people excited. Another tease, was the tracklist + lyrics of the songs with some words scratched out appearing randomly on Internet. More excitement being build up around the release of the album. Fast-forward to three days before the launch of the album, the day a million Samsung users get the album for free. The app crashes, the album leaks, everyone downloads it. But Jay Z still sold a million copy to Samsung so he is already platinum, the app crashed. That's not his problem. He #BreaksTheInternet and goes about his life.
This was probably one of the greatest marketing roll out for an album. In Jay Z's words: new rules.


Artists are getting more and more creative with their rollout strategy and really tailor them around their persona and need to make sure it's something that would excite their fan base and get them to tweet, talk, share and make this new album into the next big thing. A traditional rollout strategy - like the one Nicki Minaj did for The Pink Print, a really good album btw - is not enough anymore. Fans are still going to look at it and pay attention but they still need something exciting that is going to make them want to talk about it, share it. 

So, to answer to that question I've seen on twitter and couldn't elaborate well in 140 characters, yes. Artists do need a marketing strategy to launch an album, they just need one that's exciting and that will get people to talk about it and really anticipate it.