Born into the music industry, it was only a matter of time before Nardia Drayton also found her place in the thick of it. After spending time in the transport industry, a stint in extra acting, and working in radio as an announcer and copywriter, she found herself finally crossing back into the music world when she started radio plugging a few years ago. Moving from that into PR and publicity, the door opened at Social Family Records when they decided to get an in-house publicist working on their releases. From there her role expanded to include the label management and retail marketing side of things, as well as looking after the same portfolio for sister label, Golden Robot Records. Over the years, Nardia has worked with numerous country and rock artists, including Suze DeMarchi, Baby Animals, Jon Stevens, Sarah McLeod, The Superjesus, Ugly Kid Joe, Dallas Frasca, Amber Lawrence, Fanny Lumsden, Troy Kemp, Jason Owen, Jetty Road, Glenn Shorrock, Steve Kilbey, Mi-Sex, The Art, Moon Band, and many more. Her current roster includes some of the aforementioned, plus new signings, Gretta Ziller, High Tropics, The Cherry Dolls, and The Heartache State. We asked Nardia to give us an inside look at what her working week entails and to reflect on the high and low points of the job. This is a week in the life of Nardia Drayton.
What does your week look like in terms of tasks that you have pass across your desk?
It’s pretty much go, go, go from morning until night – and sometimes later! My week can involve all sorts of tasks depending on what’s happening at the time with the two labels I manage as well as my PR/Publicity role. It’s so varied, it’s almost too difficult to explain, but it comes down to anything from planning the album release schedules and timelines, making sure we have any artists assets we need, setting up the retail release (or multiple albums depending on the time of year), sending a single to radio, plugging, pitching for interviews and promo, coordinating this, that and the other, and making sure things happen when they’re meant to…maybe even negotiating a deal for an artist to join our roster. My usual week also involves responding to and sending hundreds and hundreds of emails, sometimes more. And listening to music – usually by our own artists, so that I know their music and albums almost better than I know myself!
What sort of meetings do you find yourself in with your role?
Most of the meeting’s I’m involved with are via tele-conference, however, the team regularly gets together for A&R and Marketing meetings. There may also be times where I’ll meet with the artists and/or their managers on occasions. Thankfully, these days, most meetings can be done via the phone, which is great especially when it’s extremely busy.
Did you attend any industry events recently?
I was fortunate enough to get up to the Gold Coast for the CMC Awards in late March. What a top night that was!!
Who did you liaise with (artists and industry folk)?
I was there to support our Social Family Records country artists (Amber Lawrence, Troy Kemp, Jason Owen and Fanny Lumsden) who were all up for nomination (very proud of them all!). It was great being there for all of them and wonderful to see Fanny take home the New Talent of the Year award. I also got to catch up with a couple of fellow publicists and some other artists I’ve worked with previously and hadn’t seen for ages, plus meet some I hadn’t met before, which was lovely!
Have you attended any gigs recently?
Being a working mum, it can be hard to get out to gigs in my limited free/spare time (what’s that?), but I did make it to Lizotte’s in Newcastle recently to see Amber Lawrence and Catherine Britt’s Love & Lies show, which Fanny Lumsden opened (Lizotte’s is my favourite venue, so if one of our artist’s is playing there, I do my best to get along and enjoy the show). On the rock side of things, free tickets to Guns n Roses in Sydney a couple of month’s back was memorable.
What goals did you accomplish this week?
It’s been another big one! We have album’s commencing pre-order, album’s almost ready for release, singles going to radio, and all sorts of things going on, so I’ve been making sure everything is lined up and ready to go, compiling and going over our PR & Marketing plans, writing media releases, radio plugging, pitching for interviews, booking interviews, checking retail are good to go, that social media is moving along nicely, all that sort of thing. And answered a myriad of emails in general…did I mention before that I send and receive a ridiculous amount of emails? Ha!
What was the most challenging part of your week?
Having enough time to fit everything in – story of my life!
What were the highlights of your week? (pros of the job)
Getting some decent interviews and promo across the line. Always a good feeling.
What were the lowlights of your week? (cons of the job)
Not getting a response I was hoping for, but that happens regularly! As a publicist in addition to my label management role, I’m fairly used to non-responses or receiving answers like ‘thanks, but no thanks’. (I’ve developed a fairly thick skin when it comes to rejection and just keep soldiering on trying to get the best for our artists that I can.)
What would be your words of wisdom for people considering a job in your field?
Be prepared to work hard and take the highs with the lows – selling records (or doing publicity) is not easy. And it’s not all about fun either (it is sometimes, I admit!) or going to gigs constantly or hanging out with famous people and it’s certainly not glamorous on this side of the fence. It’s far from it. It takes dedication, commitment, mad organisational skills, a love of music, the creative arts – and those who create it – mixed with a hell of a LOT of passion.
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