How I made a successful music career without becoming an artist

Want to have a successful music career but can’t sing or play an instrument? Well you’re not totally up a creek without a paddle just yet. Jemma Skidmore is living proof of that.

Ever since she was small she wanted to get into the music industry, but without any conventional musical talents it seemed like just a dream. Not so! Jemma found an alternative way into the industry working as a music supervisor and sync and brand manager.

This means she’s in charge of music databases for a load of prestigious brands and companies. She’s worked in film, TV, advertising and music – she’s collaborated with some of the world’s biggest names including Primal Scream, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Oasis, Stereophonics, Darlia and Chapel Club.

Not bad for someone who previously thought the music industry was a no-go area. We caught up with Jemma to find out how she managed it.

1. How did you know you wanted to work in music?

All I’ve ever wanted to do from a young age is work in music. But after realising I wasn’t that good at singing I decided I would  just work in the industry.

I have always been musically minded, and then went on to do a degree in music industry management at university.

My big first break was I managed to get my first job in the publishing department at Kobalt Music Group
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnkjvECEQr4
2. How did you get your business started?

I had already worked in sync and brand for 10 years before I decided to go it alone. I’d mostly been involved in music publishing for  various record labels, but after I’d had my son, I decided I wanted to start my own business.

First of all, one of the record labels I had worked with before contacted me to see if I wanted to represent them, and then lots of my previous clients started to get in touch as well.

They wanted me to supervise the music for adverts, brand partnerships and films and it all kind of snowballed from there.

3. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far? –

Becoming a music supervisor before I was 30 was a pretty big acheivement for me. I’d been working towards it for my whole working life, so to get there was special.

4. Talk us through your day…

It’s completely different most days. Generally I listen to a lot of music and spend time pitching to specific music briefs, negotiating, talking to various labels, publishers and brands and of course there’s the endless meetings.

5. What are the best and worst things about your job?

The best thing about my job is being able to make a living from what I love doing. Getting to meet loads of fantastic artists and creatives isn’t bad either.

The worst would have to be tech issues, like losing a sync after months of hard work. That’s awful.

6. What do you think people don’t realise about your job?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aatEBIZHNU
7. What advice would you give someone looking to get into the same industry?

Definitely start your own business, and you must do lots of internships first and make sure you work really hard to get noticed.

8. What are your career goals?

I would really love to supervise a TV show eventually, that’s a real pipe dream of mine.

9. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Go travel the world, you only get one life!

 

Jemma Skidmore runs a Sync / Brand / Music Supervision business called Jemma Skidmore Music Services. She’s available to work on projects through her website.

 

Now what?