Okay. We have all heard stories about what happens when a fan stalks an artist. While living in London, I’d learned that it was actually a deadly package from a stalking fan which drove Björk out of her London flat, back to her native Iceland. And then there’s John Lennon… But what happens when the artist stalks the fans?
Approximately thirteen years ago, I placed the advertisement pictured in this blog, in URB Magazine. This resulted in a gang of b-boys sending me and Jurassic 5’s DJ Numark (”J5″) a check or money-order for both my EP (Return of the B-Girl, “ROTB”) and for the first J5 EP. DJ Numark was fortunate enough to have mailed-out all of J5’s mail-order commitments, before his group lodged an all-out offensive legal assault on me, which ended-up becoming deadly.
For more than a year, I had to put up with all of their legal harassment and a bogus lawsuit that soiled the very name and honest reputation which I had worked over a decade to achieve.
Even two full years after I’d left LA, and was miles away, J5 continued their abuse by going onto steal from me, my namesake dotcom, and attempting to sell it back to me for $75k. Should you click T-love.com, you shall see that it is blank. Suffice to say that I didn’t give J5 a dime and now fans, friends and family can find me at either Tauralove.com, or here at Pickininny.com.
But given the ungracious nature and high-level of drama, which eventually went onto involve our distributor , Nu Gruv Alliance (”NGA”), my project was doomed to fail, pretty much from the moment it was mastered. This Kid Named Miles (n.k.a. “Music Man Miles“, founder of the Breakestra) and I never even received a copy of our own EP. And this was why the mailorder customers/fans never received their product. I don’t even know where Miles bought his first copy, but coincidentally, I ended-up buying mine, in the same store once on Vermont Blvd., where b-boy Numark actually received b-girl T-Love’s beatdown: Fat Beats, Los Angeles.
It wasn’t until almost 2002, that I would finally get my “free” copies of my own project which I’d first released way back in 1997. But they were not in my hand, as the day NGA had finally shipped the EP’s to my mother’s home in South Central Los Angeles, I was still physically in London, caught-up in the process of finishing and delivering to Virgin and Universal Publishing-London, my first album, Long Way Back.
By the time I finally had gotten through all the legal drama and got my hands on the ROTBG stock,a long thirteen years had passed. And I just felt before I officially executed Rumble Records’ resurrection, in the form of Brawl Records (and this time minus DJ Numark), I should at least try to see what I could to do, to find these original mail-order customers, and make an attempt to get them the product they ordered, a lifetime ago.
And it was at this moment that it happened: The artist began stalking her fans. I set out to find every last one of them. Since I had kept the original orders, I had addresses, so I first hit Whitepages.com. Then 123people.com, which lead me to LinkedIn, Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. I googled. It was like seventy-five orders altogether. Maybe more. After a week, the head gets fuzzy. And out of that many folks, there were only a few that I never found. It was easier than I ever thought it would be, all thanks to cyber technology. “Digital thumb-prints” arrived in the form of all things which end-up online: newspaper articles, obituaries, child-births, baby showers and marriages, even on-line lists of stores where couples were registered at, for gifts. One of my customer’s entire wedding was uploaded to Youtube.com. There were stories online of one of my customers doing good deeds for the community and for children, online promo for DJ gigs, assorted blogs. There were all kind of cool things, like some of my customers having been listed in their college papers as Honor Roll students, others were outstanding employees. Photos everywhere.
By the time I started speaking to these people, I resisted the huge urge of saying shit like “congratulations on your marriage”, or “HEEEY!!! I see you finally passed the bar exam, after three years of trying!” or “Hey man, sorry you lost your father to cancer….” And hey, I realized that it was thirteen years later. Most folks would have just said: “Fuck it!”. I further realized that between E-Bay and Amazon.com, one could buy this old ROTB project for less than a dollar. However, it is the principle here: People paid for something and never got it. AND of equal importance, these were first-ever fans—people who went into their pocket to buy me, a journalist/indie marketing consultant, doing my thang. Like that still blows my mind. Like, despite its rough and ugly start, my European adventure has been nothing but stellar. And all this beauty and fortune which I now enjoy, began with this Rumble/Pickininny advertisement in URB Mag, and these first fans who took a chance on ordering the first-ever T-Love solo project.
I am actually still kinda blown away by the fact that I found most of these mail-order customers. But more blown away by the things that happened, which I had never even anticipated: Like, getting the opportunity to get to know my fans better, and coming out of this whole experience with some new friends. And I can’t even describe how moved I was, the moment I began to, one-by-one, ship phat packages from France to USA. These packages not only contained the original item ordered thirteen years ago, but I also hand-picked, unique and special gifts for each: CDs that had been in my personal collection, rare vinyl copies of old+classic hip-hop songs. The total time it took to both find them and ship-off these old-ass orders? Two and a half weeks. Enjoy b-boys, enjoy! And keep your eye out for the upcoming Taura Love’s Picki People Compilation Volume ONE, new projects from T-Love, as well as from members of her new indie crew, Picki People.