With no rehearsals, gigs or studio sessions right now, NYJO has been using the lockdown period to provide professional development opportunities for our young professionals.
For the last month, Head of Professional Development, Roger Wilson, has introduced a range of industry experts to members of our Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Exchange. Whether it’s marketing, promotion, tax or funding, each speaker brings a unique set of insights and experiences ideally suited for contemporary musicians at the onset of their careers.
We (virtually) caught up with the multifaceted, Amelia Ideh, after her online session “The Digital Tool-Kit“. Currently the Head of Communications at Fevered Sleep, Amelia has over 15 years of experience in arts and music marketing, artist development, production and fundraising.
Can you briefly explain the ‘digital toolkit’ and how it was developed?
The ‘digital toolkit’ I’m referring to is a way of thinking about what tools you need to present yourself professionally as an artist online, to tell your story and add depth to the experience of your work for your audience. I’ve been working in the arts and music industry for 15 years and have developed my thinking through my experiences working with lots of different artists and companies.
You worked across many roles in the music industry, how has the industry changed since you started out?
When I started out in the music industry London was a less expensive city to live in so there were more ways for young artists and entrepreneurs to test out their ideas without worrying quite as much about money. Social media was in the early stages, so generally artists needed gatekeepers such as labels, bloggers and DJs to reach an audience. That was great in some ways because the gatekeepers were doing a lot of audience development work, but there will always be downsides to the power gatekeepers hold. Now artists have much more of both the opportunity and the pressure of doing their own artist development work, communicating directly with their fans.
Why do you think it’s so important to provide this kind of support for emerging talent?
Until you’re established enough to work with a team of PRs, agents, managers, labels, publishers, lawyers etc you as an artist have to do all of those jobs for yourself, and making music in reality is only about 50% of the job. Learning how to do all of that helps you feel more empowered and less in the dark, and means you’ll be a better leader when you do start building a team around you. I think all artists should have access to honest, helpful information right from the start of their careers and I find teaching marketing to be a real joy.
What is the most important message you want the participants to take away with them?
When thinking about digital marketing, always start with your specific goals! If you’re not clear on what your goals are, you’ll end up wasting time on social media worrying about being unproductive and unpopular, instead of making a plan and creating a toolkit based on what you’re trying to achieve. Want to tour European jazz festivals? Make a list of promoters on Twitter and use it build connections with them. Want to fill your teaching roster? Collect testimonials from your students and get them on your website, then share your tips on Instagram stories.
As well as being the Head of Communications at Fevered Sleep, Amelia teaches workshops at The Roundhouse and Serious UK, judges funding for the PRS for Music Foundation, and writes for publications such as The Dancing Times, The Independent Theatre Council, and The British Council.
Amelia is also a Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow, and a former trustee of The Place (London Contemporary Dance School).
To date, Amelia been featured in publications such as The Economist, Cosmopolitan, MU Magazine, Okayplayer, Spine TV and on BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra, BBC 6 Music, Rinse FM, and NTS Radio.
If you want to know more about the who, what, where and whens of her career you can find Amelia on Linked In here.
We’d like to thank Amelia for spending to time to connect with us and hope to see her again soon!