What my job entails
I'm sure my grandmother thinks that my occupation involves staring at a computer most days, playing a piano occasionally and jumping on a plane to go 'travelling' in the US. I won't lie, my life does involve a few of those things, but not as much as my grandmother (who bless her heart) would like you to believe. She fails to understand what I actually do for a living because a I'm not a doctor, lawyer, teacher or accountant (even though I have studied a Law degree - Sorry Nan).
I get a lot of questions about what I actually do for a living, how I got into the music industry and what advice I'd give to budding musicians and creative entrepreneurs. Below are the questions I get most often. I plan on sharing my music industry experiences good and bad in a project I'm working on, so I won't go too into detail there... But it is coming.
What's your job title?
I have a couple, sorry to confuse you further. I'm a creative director, music supervisor and songwriter. My generation is SO lucky! We are able to create digital business at almost no expense, form multiple streams of income, work remotely and correspond with anyone, at any time, in any country. The opportunities are endless, so why place limits on yourself?
WHAT DOES EACH TITLE INVOLVE?
Creative Director - Is the title I assume for my company Basic Black Creative or when I get hired to create digital content or style something for a brand. Basic Black Creative is a company I started in 2013 just before I went to LA for a while. We do digital content creation and brand styling - ie. a brand will employ me to create a style, website, video content, logos, photography, events etc for their business.
Music Supervisor - I work for a label on film and tv projects. I signed a deal in the US whilst I was in LA and I now travel over to the US or within Australia to write songs or place existing songs in film and TV projects.
Songwriter - I write songs, should I explain that further? It's when... (No i'm just kidding) but this is something I've been doing with a publishing label (so for other artists or myself) since I was 19. That all started with a couple of pop tunes I wrote in Sydney and expanded from there.
how do you make money from each?
At Basic Black I work with 3-4 brand per month on varying brand projects. I take 1-2 films per year and I'm constantly writing and submitting songs for other artists to use. If the artist picks them, I often get a sum for the songs and then royalties which are determined by the sales and success of the songs.
How did you get into the music industry?
Here's the short end of the story without the twists and turns: I contacted a producer I admired at 18 when I'd finished school and sent him a demo I'd recorded at home (a really bad one might I add), he liked it, we worked together, the first song we wrote together got nominated for a songwriting award and so did the next, I worked with him for a while on a development deal and wrote songs for other artists, I got US management, went to the US 3 times and on the 3rd time signed a publishing deal with a label which lead to music supervision as well. This makes its all sound easy- none of it was, except maybe the first few songs. I'll go into more detail about it all soon.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the music industry?
Develop a thick skin. You're going to be told 'no' a lot of times. Write for you and not what for what other people think you should do. I spent a lot of time working with labels and management and following what they thought would sell. Also, get out and meet as many people as you can. Success in anything in life is all about relationships.
do i need to study to do what you do?
The technical answer here is no, but I'm a big believer in too much knowledge is never enough. That's hard to understand when you're young but you won't regret having learn't something - even if it's just that you have learn't you don't want to pursue that career path. I did a year of a double degree in Education and Psychology before I switched at 19 to another double degree because I decided it wasn't for me - I'm still so glad I did it now though. I then studied a double degree in Law and Communications in amongst all the music madness that has been my life for the past 10 years. I'm so glad I did it. I love that today I know more than I did yesterday. I really believe that study should come after you find what career path you'd like to take and what you're most passionate about. In the interim, study what you're interested in and that doesn't mean that it has to be a university degree. Take classes in acting, take piano lessons, do a PT course, work with children... follow you passions in life and you're already on your way to success. Education and a willingness to learn is key to success in anything, even when you're well established.