As the Music Editor of Beat Magazine, Cara Williams is a busy lass. In between deadlines, sourcing content, gigs and coffees, Cara sat down for a Q&A where she shares tips and insight to the Melbourne music industry.
Did you fall into the music industry, or was it an industry you were always determined to work in?
A little of both, actually. When I finished high school I became a youth worker and the first program I was given was one for young and aspiring journalists. The program was in conjunction with Fairfax Media and I was entrusted with the role of editor. We had free reign with content; we could write on anything we wanted, as long as all the journos were under the age of 25. So I made it my mission to cover the best in music, arts and popular culture, and assigned these ultra-talented young writers with some quality stories to work on. These young writers blew me (and themselves) away with their abilities – in fact many of them still write for me today. I became pretty determined from there on, and started setting my goals higher and higher. I’m still doing that and I probably won’t stop.
What does your day-to-day job as Music Editor at Beat look like?
It’s pretty busy. I prepare for future issues of the magazine by teeing up a number of stories/interviews through various publicists and assign those stories to writers. I also source live reviewers and photographers, delegate albums for review, work with artists, management, record labels and event managers on all levels of advertising and marketing, and listen to a mountain of new music. I drink a lot of coffee, too. And go to a mountain of gigs (not complaining).
What is one myth about working in the ‘business’ side of the music industry?
That everyone who works in the industry is untouchable. It’s bullshit. Pretty much every person I’ve been lucky enough to work with is incredibly lovely and willing to lend a hand when asked. I asked for a lot of advice when I started out and I still remember those who put in the time to share their knowledge with me. Remember, advice is free, but you need to be sure to give a little back. You can’t suck someone of all their knowledge and offer nothing in return.
The summer music season is on its way! If you could only make it to one gig what would it be and why?
I’d probably opt for a smaller festival because they’re always fun and I know whichever one I choose – it’ll be great.
What’s the best bit of advice you can give to someone wanting to pave a career in the music industry?
I’m probably sounding like a broken record here, but don’t stop doing what you love – and don’t let anyone else get in the way of what you plan to achieve. Don’t be deterred by setbacks because they’re bound to happen – I’ve truly had a mountain of them and have considered hanging up the boots many times. But I love what I do and I use what are relatively minor setbacks as fuel to succeed. Always follow the fire in your belly. Oh, and be good to people you work with. Do no harm, take no shit.
Check out Cara’s work at Beat Magazine: www.beat.com.au