Maxim Behar about the song with Big Sha and Lil Sha: A wonderful project that I had a lot of fun with
Host (Zhivko Krastev): The man in focus today is PR expert Maxim Behar, who made his debut on the music scene on the American R&B radio with his first single "PR We Are". He teams up with Big Sha, his son Lil Sha, and Nashville-based American country singer Sarah Haralson. The song made its debut premiere both in New York and on the Bulgarian radio. This occasion brings us together today on "Man in Focus”. I’m very happy to say hello and welcome to Maxim Behar.
Maxim Behar: Good afternoon and greetings to the listeners of the wonderful Focus Radio.
Host: I'm glad we have the opportunity here to premiere this song on Radio Focus as well.
Maxim: This is a wonderful project that I had a lot of fun with, and we were able to do it together with Big Sha and his son Lil Sha in one day in a studio in Sofia. I think it turned out well because I'm constantly tracking the Spotify listens and up until today they are about 15,000. Everybody says that for a debut and a first song, it's a very good result. I hope a lot of people like it.
Host: How did this collaboration come about? How did you and Big Sha meet?
Maxim: One day by chance on Facebook someone attacked Big Sha, I have known him for many years. I defended him of course. He then texted me that he was indebted to me, and I replied that this was not the case at all. I proposed that we record a son together. Then he started texting me 2-3 months ago to think about the song.
I wrote the lyrics. He booked a studio. Lil Sha produced the beat. The lyrics were in English because at one point we all three decided that R&B would sound better in it. That's one reason. The other reason is that we really wanted to write a song for my Public Relations business. I’ve been working in this area for almost thirty years and it is safe to say that there is a strong emphasis on English.
I wrote the lyrics in English Lil Sha edited it a little bit and in one day we recorded the song and the video. It was a great pleasure for us and a first project that I guess we will continue to grow together.
Host: It won't be the last?
Maxim: No. We were very inspired by what we did and the chemistry that came out. Big Sha himself says that never in his whole career has he recorded a song that fast. It usually takes weeks, maybe months to get everything right and ready. We did it in a couple of hours and we're very glad it worked out.
Host: You work in a field where a person's presence is within certain boundaries. In essence, can we put limits on the media image of a personality like yours?
Maxim: Yes, there should be boundaries as far as that goes. At the end of the day, we only have two words in our business and nothing more. One is Public and the other is Relations. That is, we are all public and you can do whatever you want in public, however, everyone is watching you. And if you do stupid things everyone will know you are doing so. One must behave the way one wants to behave and when one is public one can be judged very easily. And our other word is Relation, i.e., we have relationships with people. We must be careful with them. Let everybody behave as they want. However, the world is now public even because of social media, even because of all other media that can reflect all possible events in real time. When people cross a line, everyone sees that they have crossed it. People should know very well that there is no hidden cover.
Host: Actually, R&B and Hip-Hop music has undergone quite a transformation from the years it's been around and very often carries such strong social messages that other types of music couldn't express. Why do we still have this perception that the themes that are being tackled are not valuable and don't have that message that is needed?
Maxim: R&B or Hip-Hop music, which became popular in the 90s thanks to Big Sha, Vanko Edno, and many others. It's street music, it's protest music. It's the working-class music of the people on the street and that's why maybe the messages are edgier. I have been listening to American radio stations constantly so I can set the right direction for my next projects.
It's not that lyrical, it's not so much about singing about love and separation. There’s no such poetry in it at all. Rap music is No. 1 in the world right now. Last weekend I attended an international music conference organized by Ruth Koleva, which took place in Sofia. Beyoncé's father was there, the editor-in-chief of Rolling Stone magazine was there and the statistics that they brought out really struck me that rap music in terms of profits, and revenues are ten times more than rock music or other genres. I mean rap music is super popular right now.
I sent the song to a dozen radio stations in America because I really wanted to start from there. Then this station Hot 21 texted me that they really like it. They offered to launch it there. So, I started listening to Hot 21 for 8-10 hours a day while working. I've found that there are ballads, lyrics, tenderness, and harder forms of music. All in all, a very interesting development and it really ignited me.
Host: Actually, it turns out that there is something for everyone from everything that life offers us. However, there are still people who have the pretense of being elite. Were there people who asked you why you did it?
Maxim: Some people on Twitter and Instagram share that they don’t like it. That’s okay. If everyone liked this song I would be very suspicious and uncomfortable. People have different tastes. Some like chalga, some like rap, some like melodic rock, and some like hard rock. I've been to a lot of concerts this year. I saw Bruce Springsteen in Barcelona. I saw Pink in Vienna. I saw Muse in Milan. I didn't go to any big rap concerts and I'm super sorry because this project was born after all those concerts. Next year I plan to tour some more R&B places. This kind of music is not so much concert music, but more club music. But I think what we did with Big Sha and Lil Sha has very strong messages and I will be super happy if it appeals to the listeners in Bulgaria. I know Focus is a very respected radio listened to by people with very sophisticated tastes and I'd be happy if they liked it too, just like Spotify listeners did. I'm shocked by 15 000 listeners in less than a week.
Host: What provoked you to create this piece? What message do you want to give to the audience through it?
Maxim: I want to talk about Public Relations in a very synthesized way and explain that this is a really important business. It's often said that there are people who spend 20 years building an image that can be brought down in 20 seconds if you're not prepared enough and professional enough. I want to use music to say how cool it is to work in Public Relations. This is the sphere that moves and runs the world.
I am also glad that we had a lot of fun. Big Sha is a great duet partner. Lil Sha, despite being only nineteen, has sold over 200 records to many popular American rappers. He writes music and has his own studio in Chicago. This project made a good friendship and I think it worked out well. I was very critical of it though, all the time Big Sha was encouraging me and saying it was going very well.
Host: Can we say that in the social network-dominated world we live in PR represents what we are? Each of us can build a name and destroy it on social media.
Maxim: Well, I would say that PR is the thing that everybody wants to be on social media. It doesn't always work out though. I think Public Relations is about telling things in a way that people understand the bad and the good stuff. Being able to communicate them in a way that's clear, accurate, and simple so that everyone understands.
Host: Thank you very much for this interview. I'd be very happy to continue the conversation, as the topic of social media is very interesting and often featured on “Man in Focus”.
Maxim: With the greatest pleasure. Good luck and good health to the listeners of Radio Focus.
Host: Thank you.