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Since the age of seven, Rachel Coomber ACM Music Business Degree student (08-10) knew she always wanted to work in music. Thanks to her Granddad (a church organist), Rachel took music lessons throughout school before focusing on Music Technology at college.
Despite being the only girl in a class of 30, Rachel’s aspirations of being a music producer/mix engineer were not dampened.
ACM caught up with Rachel Coomber to talk about what she’s been up to since leaving ACM.
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
It was actually my college lecturer that suggested ACM, when I came to the realisation that I wanted to work in the business side of the industry – rather than being a creative. Also, ACM is pretty local to where I grew up and I’d always been intrigued by it and had friends that had studied there before me and really enjoyed it.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to and who you’ve been working with since leaving ACM?
While I was studying at ACM, I was managing a local band on the side. They actually appeared on the TV show Hollyoaks and relatively quickly after the bands TV appearance, I was offered work experience with Jamie Cullum’s management company, Air MTM and was offered a permanent job. I started as Jamie Cullum’s manager’s PA and within a year I became his day-to-day manager. It was a rare opportunity that doesn’t come along very often, so I jumped at the chance and was the reason I joined ACM – to get a full time job in the music industry.
During my time with Jamie Cullum, I learnt an awful lot and met a lot of very interesting people. Not only did I gain a lot of management experience, but working for an artist like Jamie whose career crosses over into radio (his BBC Radio 2 show) and TV (he was a judge on Sky 1’s show Must Be The Music) I gained a lot of experience in other areas of the entertainment industry. I also had a brief stint of working with artists such as Beth Orton and Newton Faulkner.
Although I was very sad to leave, in summer 2012 I was offered a job with Scott Rodger’s management company, Quest. I had always admired Quest, since they managed my favourite ever band Arcade Fire as well as Paul McCartney, Beady Eye, Lykke Li and Noah & the Whale. Quest are also one of the only UK based management companies who have a US base, with offices in LA and New York. This has been incredibly useful to me in terms of expanding my knowledge of the US music industry and my contacts State side and I really couldn’t ask for a better management mentor than Scott. Since being at Quest, I started building my own roster of artists, which now includes Ruen Brothers (who have recently signed to Universal Republic Records) and Faye.
What’s been your proudest moment/career highlights so far?
Having Ruen Brothers sign their record deal with Universal Republic Records (July 2013) or getting my first gold disc for working with Jamie Cullum.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
My lecturers – in particular Chris Parles and Oli Sussat. I couldn’t say enough great things about them. They were the reasons I turned up to my lectures and I learnt an awful lot from them both.
The Industry Link Team is also an amazing resource for students; that connection with the music industry. I always loved my catch up’s with Neil Simpson when he was there. The Industry Link Team were great for asking advice and would always take time to talk to you.
So what’s on the horizon for 2013?
Ruen Brothers are playing a lot of festivals this summer including Glastonbury, Latitude, Secret Garden Party, Reading / Leeds and will then be working hard on finishing their debut album, which we hope to release sometime in 2014. They also have some exciting support slots lined up for the Autumn (2013), which I can’t confirm yet, but the band can’t wait for those!
We are in negotiations with another major label for Faye and she too hopes to release her debut album in 2014. I’m also speaking with a number of new acts re management, which is very exciting.
Do you have any advice or tips for our current ACM students?
Be aware that if you want to go into the world of management, it’s a 24/7 job and there really are no proper days off! You have to absolutely love what you do, considering the amount of time you have to put it.
Your contact book is incredibly important. Always keep in mind that the industry is very small and most people know each other – so don’t go making any enemies! I’ve always believed that if you really want something bad enough, you can always achieve your goals – you just have to put the work in and figure out the steps in which to get there.
ACM would like to thank Alumni Rachel Coomber for getting back in touch to update us on her recent work and wish her the very best for the future.
For more information about Rachel Coombe follow her on Twitter.