Industry Advice: Sadé lawson
Editor: Lauren Demir
Photos: David Franco
Collages: Annie Mcgill
Sadé Lawson has worked at Relentless Records, working on marketing campaigns for Bryson Tiller, Nadia Rose and Bondax to name a few. She’s also had success with her event Cozy Mag, a night for up and coming artists to perform. Growing up watching her father run a live music venue she knew she wanted to be part of the music but not at the forefront. She moved to London from Edinburgh to study Events at university. She explains when she first moved to London “I knew nothing about music in the sense that I hadn’t worked in music, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have any contacts or anything.” She managed to get an internship at an events company and from that build both her knowledge and her contacts. Although originally the internship was not meant to be for a long period, she ended up staying there for over a year, “I was meeting loads of artists and industry people and I didn’t even know that that was going to happen when I started there.” After, she got a job at Sony and worked her way up from office assistant to marketing assistant. The role entailed putting the tracks on SoundCloud, making sure artists had the press and PR, updating the website and eventually transitioning to actual marketing for each artist.
At the same time as working at Sony she started a live night with her friend Neela called Cozy Mag for newer artists (OthaSoul, Sasha Keable, Flying Lotus are a few names that have performed.) Her friend started the lifestyle magazine and Sadé saw the potential for putting on live shows. “I [thought] we should use our platform to widen our networks and help other people that want to perform. And we have access to those spaces. When you have an opportunity, why waste it?” Both Sadé and Neela are a part of a creative collective of women of colour called InBloom. InBloom started out as a group of friends, all with creative backgrounds, a few into photography. After doing shoots for fun and practice, companies started to reach out to them, asking them to create concepts.
InBloom are a support and advice system for other people that looking to enter the creative industry. “Its fun doing the campaigns but its also about being able to give back. I want to be able to open that door for young people because its very difficult to get into it. Once you get through it becomes slightly easier.” Sadé is an great example of being active and just trying, even when you’re not 100% sure. “You don’t know what opportunities will come if you’re not out there. Don’t be afraid to try stuff, everyone starts somewhere. If you don’t like something thats completely fine you don’t have to like everything, but its worth trying because you don’t really know.” She's had many roles within the creative sector; marketing, events, working at a booking agency and it’s thanks to this that she is able to direct her focus and decide what she wants for her career. We asked Sadé what advice she would give those who want to get into marketing, events and the creative sector in general.
Think about the consumer you are trying to reach
The consumer you are trying to reach; someone who is interested in music but they have a every day job, they don’t go out all the time, they don’t have time to sit on every single blog everyday but they still want new exciting interesting things that they are going to be invested in, so what is that?
Expand your knowledge
Being able to work across many different artists really gives you an insight not to just promote one type of artist, even if you’re not personally interested in every single thing that you do. It’s so important to have a broad spectrum of what it is that you want to do.
Be easy to reach
[For artists] Make it easy to find information about you. Having a website, having a contact on your SoundCloud or having something that if someone wants to get in touch with you, its clear and easy to find, its really important to make it easy for people.
What part of events do you want to do? If you’re trying to make in into that being your job, look at companies that put on events, look into agents that put on these big concerts and things. Try to get experience working with them.
Its about doing research. Go to events, be around and keep an eye on whats going on. As much as you want to look at stuff online, you should be going to events seeing: how they run it, what kind audience come, what kind of music do they play, dj’s do they book?
Aim of what you're doing
What do you want to do with those events? Whats the aim of the event you are putting on? How are you going to build that network of people that aren't just people you know. If you’re doing it just to have fun then you can do whatever you want. But if you want it to be a long term thing you’re always going to have to be regenerating people that come.
Plan all you can
There is always going to be times your event just isn't busy or someone pulls out. Its really rubbish, but that happens and it happens to every promoter. Its about planning as much as you can to avoid these things happening.
Explore different options
Get as much experience in different things. Where you’re still in the field but you’re getting experience in [other] things. l I thought I wanted to be an A&R but it wasn’t until I actually worked in A&R that I realised I don’t want to do that.
There will be times when you feel like you’re struggling or you don’t know what you want to do but its just about remembering thats a normal thing to go through and that all of us have that.
Focus on your own goals
Don’t look at what other people are doing. If you’re doing good thing, you’re going to be rewarded for that regardless, its not about looking to what other people are doing as negative or positive its about getting on with the things what you want to do and achieve.