“As a child I wanted to be a rock star!” This is the first line she stated in my interview with Pamela Pruitt. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Pam was always driven as a child and not afraid to put herself out there. She started her life as a dancer at the age of four up until her early twenties. When it came time for her education, Pam’s mother wanted her to work. This left Pam without a college education until much later in life.
One day, Pam’s mom took her and her friends to see a concert with Smokey Robinson called “The Miracles.” They were sitting in the balcony. Pam took the liberty of excusing herself to “use the restroom.” Instead, she snuck outside and made her way backstage. She asked to speak with Claudette Robinson, Smokey’s first wife. She came out, and Pam told her she was writing for the school newspaper. Pam had such a driven attitude and said that she had to do an article on Claudette. Her wish was fulfilled and Claudette made her feel very special. Pam then scurried her way back to her seat. To this day, her mother does not know what actually happened when she used the bathroom. When she returned to school, she went to the head of the school newspaper and spoke of her idea for an article. It was unheard of for a freshman to write in the paper, but she was given permission and went to conduct her interview.
It’s this kind of drive and fearlessness that carried Pamela Pruitt towards her success. Every time Claudette and the Miracles would come in town, Pam would go to see them. She formed long lasting friendships and connections with some of the most famous people in music history. After forming these connections, she began writing music for Motown Records. Her first songs appeared on The Supremes’ album before she started partnering with Smokey Robinson. Pam and Smokey worked together, which ultimately led her to her first Grammy. The hit single, “Baby Come Close,” which Pam co-wrote with Smokey and Marve Tarplin, was featured in the background of Ne-Yo’s (Grammy-Award Winning Singer) song “Leaving Tonight,” featuring Jennifer Hudson. Pam fell asleep when the Grammy’s aired in 2008, and was awoken by her husband the next day as a new Grammy award winner.
When I asked who Pam’s most influential person was in her life/career, she stated that there were multiple people. Smokey connected Pam to the world. Marve Tarplin believed in everything she brought to the table. Barry Gordy said, “You want quality, excellence and a story.” This was implanted in Pam’s brain and she referred back to it with every song she wrote.
Pam’s philosophy for her life’s networking success is, “Remember who you are. Remember whoever you touch; whatever experience you have down the road, it could come back on you.” She advises this to artists because in this business, you may come in contact with someone who might dislike you, your music, your style, etc. When we come across these people, we cannot let them bring us down. Pam says to believe in yourself. “Believe and it shall be. If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Her biggest piece of advice that I took from the interview about networking was the Pam Pruitt Method called T.A.S., which stands for “Target, Aim, Shoot.” We have to find out what it takes to do what we want to do: research, experience, aim and go for it. Sometimes it might not happen right away, but we have to listen to the universe and listen to what’s going on around us. Eventually things will fall into place, but we must not give up.
Pam is now the director of Multi-Cultural Affairs at Rider University. For four months, she has been aiming to keep civility in society. When she sits with students, one-on-one, she feels that she is doing God’s work on Earth. When I asked where she sees herself in five years, she hopes to take this work further and to have something life-changing. However, when thinking back to “Rock Star Pam,” she joked that she would like to be Pam by day at Rider and “secret Lady Gaga” by night.