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Creative Consultant in the Music Industry Part 2 - Careers Behind The Curtain

Updated: Apr 6, 2023




Selina: I think your exposure and experience at different places in different roles has been the key to your early success at 23. Some people might view hoping from different jobs as a negative, but I think it’s important in the early stage of your career to figure out what you want to do and learn as much as you can. How do you navigate that?


Thelma: Particularly with traditional industries people think you should do one thing and then stick to that for the rest of your life, it’s so outdated.

The worst advice I was ever given was that I should find one skillset or area of interest and stick to it. Fuck that. I’m a multifaceted being.

I have lots of interests and the only way I’ll truly find my passion is by trying everything, especially when you’re still young. Try everything.


And don’t be scared to fail. I’ve failed at so many things, but that’s how I’ve learnt, grown and found success at others, failure pushes you to new heights.

I’ve worked so many creative jobs across different levels and areas of music and that’s helped me narrow down my skillset and what I like. For example, video is something I wouldn’t have known I wanted to do, had I not thrown myself into that side of the industry.



Selina: I'm glad you touched on that. I think people feel like you can't go from placement to placement and that they need to stay on at that place. But actually moving around different companies at this early stage allows you to experience totally different ways of working, different people, different types of projects and work, expanding your portfolio.


You’re experience grows exponentially faster than the person who’s only worked in one place. At the start it might appear that you’re moving slower because you’re staying at a lower level for longer, but actually you’ll leap past the people who only stayed in one job because all of a sudden you have way more experience.


Selina: So if someone wanted to get into this profession where should they start? I also think a lot of people including me would feel they needed a background in music or have done music at school/uni to go into the music industry and I think it's so important to know that you don’t. Would you agree?



Thelma: No!

I could count on my fingers a number of people I know in music who've done a degree that was even related to music. It’s a results oriented industry.
People care more about what you’ve done and what you can do as opposed to where you went to school or what you have studied.

I also think it’s important to start creating early on outside of your job or degree.


When I was starting out, I would message a bunch of local emerging artists, and be like, ‘Can I write you an artist bio. Do you need a press release. I'll write it. Do you need help with your artwork. I know someone who does graphic design.’ All while I was studying and working in retail. And that’s where my writing really developed.

I have so many old decks of 'release strategies' for Summer Walker and Justin Bieber that I just made at home, because I thought it was fun and interesting.


And that's the sort of stuff that these record labels want to see from you when you're at entry level asking for a job.


And build up your connections! If you’re trying to get a job or internship by applying online, I'm so sorry to break it to you but you're not gonna get it, nothing's gonna happen. You need to meet people, establish relationships and be known.

So many of my opportunities have come from people I met at events or reached out to on LinkedIn.


All the major labels have a bunch of internship schemes on their website, Sony has their annual internship programme and Universals is ongoing.


But I would say don't just apply to the big giants. I think one of the things that really benefited me was working for a smaller indie label that wasn’t quite yet established yet.

I learned so much from a small team and it really helped me get my foot in with the bigger labels.



Selina: 1000%. The key to success is being proactive and getting yourself out there, building your network, building those connections, messaging people on LinkedIn, looking at the employees list on companies linkedIn and creating your own work that’s something worth showing to people.


I’m a big advocate of telling people you won’t get a job from applying through a piece of paper, or at the very least it’s much much less likely. You get a job through your connections and actively getting yourself out there, physically.


Thelma:

I think people don't realise how many jobs there actually are in the music industry.

Anyone that’s in my circle is sick of me because I'm trying to get all my friends to come into music, there's literally a job for everyone.


There's just so much that you can do and I just really want more people to understand that about music, it isn't just writing the songs and signing people, there's so many layers to it.

There's so many positions and with the way the music industry's changing there's always new positions or new jobs being created. I was telling my younger sister about the industry and she had no idea how many opportunities there were. She was clueless.


And I think that's sort of where like schooling fails us. Because there's so many really cool jobs that people just don't have any idea about.

Selina: Well you said it! And that's why we're here, it's why I created Not Another Creative. The mission is to bring an awareness of all these careers and 'creative education'. Because if I had the industry awareness I have now when I was at school it would have changed my life. All it takes it one blog post for one person to read to alter their path.



I wish I could write up the entire 2.5 hour interview with Thelma, but unfortunately this blog post would become a dissertation. So we're stopping here. I hoped you enjoyed it and hopefully learnt something.


I'm ending it here with a clip from our call with some beautifully spoken words of truth from Thelma!



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