With over 36 years working in the music and entertainment industry, Chrissie Vincent, has seen it all, having worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols, to Wu-Tang Clan, JET and John Mayer. Safe to say, she knows a thing or two about making your mark and building a music career as a publicist. Now the Head of Entertainment Management at Collarts, Chrissie tells all on what it takes to have a long and successful music industry career, and in particular how to excel at music publicity.
In an industry where standing out from the crowd is key, a publicist is instrumental in helping a band, act, festival or event do just that. From securing media interviews and reviews, pitching stories, and writing press releases, to building contacts across the industry, this music industry career path is no easy feat – but helping your client grow and working across all facets of the industry makes it a rewarding one.
Steps to becoming a music publicist
Having worked with some of the biggest names in music, including The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Sex Pistols, and David Bowie – to name just a few – Chrissie has an enviable career trajectory.
So what are the steps? When Chrissie started out, there were no courses available, which meant putting in the hard yards in work experience for ten or fifteen years. Today, education is crucial in order to gain a holistic view of the industry.
Music industry internships and placements are encouraged at Collarts and a great way to get hands on experience. “It is important to see publicity in action and hear a publicist do a pitch, gain the confidence to ring media and know how to put together a schedule.”
Building relationships is key
To become a successful music publicist, there are a few crucial ingredients: communication, networking and relationships.
The reputation of the pestering publicist is often far from the reality. If you get to know publications and what content they need, you can form mutually beneficial relationships with journalists and key industry figures. Utilise your people skills, intuitive sense of what’s interesting, and be sure to go to shows, meet people in the industry, and get to know the media and journalists.
Integrity and persistence can make or break your music industry career
Working hard, doing what you love, and having a true passion for the industry are the markers of a good publicist.
“You’ve got to be really passionate about it and be persistent. Live and breathe it, otherwise you may as well go and get a job in a bank,” said Chrissie.
From the outset of your studies and career, discover what excites you the most and take on clients you believe in.
Doing a good job and having integrity is what people pay attention to. “If you have that then people will to listen. If you are going to them and sending them junk on a daily basis, then they are not going to take you seriously,” said Chrissie.
Make an impact
The best part of being a music publicist is seeing a band, act or festival grow and growing with it.
Having an impact on clients can be more rewarding than being a clog in the wheel, explains Chrissie. Working in Los Angeles for five years at Virgin Records Worldwide, she recalls being backstage with some big names including members of The Rolling Stones and thinking she will remember the moment for the rest of her life, but they wouldn’t remember her.
“I decided in that moment that I wanted to come back to Australia and have an impact on an artist and see them grow.”
She went on to do just that and chaperoned then emerging acts The Living End and Pete Murray to success. “I was instrumental in their music careers and that to me is more important than being 1 of 300 people working for The Rolling Stones.”
A music industry career that can take you anywhere
As the music industry shifts, it’s an exciting time for those who have the gumption to do their own thing.
The skills of a publicist can take you anywhere. Over the years, Chrissie has worked in music publicity, artist management, TV production, record promotion, radio promotion, music television and even started her own business.
The Entertainment Management course at Collarts prepares you for much more than just a career in publicity. Not only will you have the skills to go out on your own, but you can also leap into a career in managing an act, running a festival, working as a booking manager or agent. You really can do it all.
If you can see yourself working as a publicist, check out Collarts Entertainment Management Degree and start your career in the entertainment and music industry today!