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Since the age of 14 eventual ACM Music Business Alumna (2012) Emily Walding knew she wanted to be a part of the music industry. Having been introduced to bands like Green Day and Blink 182 by her brother, Emily left school to study a BTEC in Guitar and a Vocal HND. Although choosing not to pursue a performance career, Emily was still fascinated by the industry and the amount of hard work that went on behind the scenes.

ACM caught up with Emily to find out more about her journey into the music industry.

Emily’s Next Steps
After Seeking out work experience at a Metal record label called AntiCulture records, she learnt the basics: managing MySpace band accounts, making promo CD’s, photographing merchandise and collecting press clippings.

I also approached the local Heart FM station to see if they’d take me in. I did work experience for a week then plucked up the courage to ask for a job when my week was up and I was rewarded with a job on the promotions team.

In that year I realised that if I ever wanted to really work with bands, I’d need to know the ins and outs of the music industry. A friend on mine from college was at ACM studying Music Production and told me they did a Music Business course. It was the only place I could find that seemed to cover everything I wanted, so I applied. Without my time at ACM I probably wouldn’t be in the job I am now; the knowledge I experienced there gave me a leg up over other applicants. My experience at Heart FM also meant I could transfer to Heart London, Capital FM and before long I had approached Guildford’s local station Eagle Radio and ended up working there too.

“There’s so many things that crop up day to day where I can pull on my knowledge from ACM to use.”
Emily Walding ACM Business Alumna

Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since graduating ACM?
Since leaving ACM I went through the same stage as most students do. The “what the hell happens now” stage. After a few months I ended up managing a band called Dials (formed of ACM Alumni), I set up my own management company Pulling Teeth Management to help push them and finally I interned at Raw Power Management in London. (A position I got thanks to a fellow Business student).

After spending some time working in retail, I was approached by the boss of Small Town Records (a label where I worked at during my time at ACM and who I still do the occasional bit for today). He mentioned a role at a record label in London called Acid Jazz Records that a fellow Small-Towner also worked at who needed some extra help.

I got the job and was given the role of label assistant (one step above an intern) and I tried my best to fit in to my new lifestyle in London. I started off doing the basic stuff; making promo CD’s, e-mailing – it was stuff I’d done before, but I got on with it and did it well.

Over the next five months that followed I was given more and more responsibilities – because the boss liked my ability to follow direction and work quickly. After five months the label manager (and the person who got me the job) left and I was told to start thinking about the best way to find a new label manager. It was over dinner that I was shocked (and still am) to be offered the job as label manager. Apparently I had impressed them enough over the past few months that they wanted to offer it to me as they felt I was capable and deserved it.

I am now in my 3rd month as label manager at Acid Jazz and still have to stop and realise that I went from bottom of the company to pretty high up in one lunchtime! What’s been more surprising is that I’ve actually been able to do the job well.

My past experiences in a record label meant I already had a knowledge of the basic stuff they were asking of me, but my knowledge on the industry I learnt through ACM meant I could keep one step ahead of what was expected of me. There’s so many things that crop up day to day where I can pull on my knowledge from ACM to use. Hell, I even have my own assistant now!

Do you have any advice for those looking to get in to industry?
The moral of my story is work hard and don’t be disheartened if it takes you a while to find your feet. I first started off as an intern at a label aged 15, only now aged 25 do I have a proper job. But if you want it enough and work hard enough, it will work out.

Make as many connections as you can. The people around you at ACM really will be in companies you want to work with in the future.

Be proactive and ask for work experience. Take it anywhere you can get it! Even if you’re filling envelopes for your local radio station. You then have that radio station on your CV and it impresses people.I approached Raw Power for work experience when I first started ACM and got turned down. I only ended up working there because a fellow classmate asked me if I wanted to apply for the position.

Understand that people who work in the industry have had to work really hard to get where they are, they’ll appreciate you more if you work really hard too.

What was the best part about studying at ACM?
One of the best parts about ACM was the amount of connections that you can make there, you just have to seek them out! The thing I heard most when going to interviews was that my CV was impressive, so build it anyway you can!

ACM would like to thank ACM Alumna Emily Walding for taking time out from her busy schedule to update us on her progress and wish her the very best of luck for her forthcoming projects.