I landed in New York when I was 23 years old. I had no idea what I was going to do in a city I had never been in before, let alone one as notorious as NYC.
Back home, in Brisbane, my friends and family would look at me with utter disbelief when I told them I was going to New York. I had no job prospects, and no leads to finding one, not to mention no real friends or family in the city. But I was determined to make something work.
Now, I am one third of Golightly Media–a music PR company that represents an eclectic roster of artists that are the reason why I am excited to get out of bed in the morning. And looking back, I don’t even really know how I got here.
I was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, always knowing that I wanted to work in music in some capacity. In high school, I was always the one making mix tapes and forcing my friends to listen to bands I found on MySpace or making them stand with me while I perused the selection at Rockinghorse Records or JB Hi-fi. When I was 14 I went to what would be the first of many concerts. Chaperoned by my brother’s friend’s older sister (the only 18-year-old I deemed cool enough to escort me) I arrived bright eyed at the now defunct venue, The Arena, to see Yellowcard. Finally I was able to see a band who I admired so greatly and whose record I had listened to on repeat. But it also made me feel so small–all of a sudden I realized how far removed I was from a world that I so desperately wanted to be a part of.
So, as soon as I graduated from high school, I started volunteering at my local community radio station, 4zZz. It was here that I met Maggie Collins, the station’s music director and someone who I hold responsible for helping me find my feet in Brisbane’s own scene.
I began studying Media and Communications at Queensland University of Technology and always seemed to be keeping myself busy with internships or blogging; all while working at 4zZz in the music department, and doing the graveyard radio show on Thursday nights and the early hours of Friday mornings.
Maggie offered me additional work with her management company, Golden District, and I had the opportunity to help with day to day logistics for two prominent local bands, DZ Deathrays and The John Steel Singers.
As my university graduation date loomed closer, I felt like I was finally getting closer to the world I had first glimpsed at that concert years before. But I was even luckier that I was able to be a part of that world on a local scale. I loved living in Brisbane and the new friends I had made through music. I was (and still am!) so very proud of the local music community and scene in my hometown. But when I graduated, I was incredibly insecure and unsure of what I wanted to achieve. I had lived in Brisbane my whole life and had never done the “traveling” thing, so thought I’d give that a try. And what better place to do that than New York City.
I met Lily Golightly, my boss and the driving force behind Golightly Media, two weeks after moving to the city. I responded to a job listing, turned up at the interview (somehow wearing a matching outfit to my prospective employer) and next thing I knew I was working out of my boss’ apartment at a brand new music company.
Now, Golightly Media is based out of the Wind-up Records offices and I’ve had the opportunity to work with labels and artists I only ever dreamed of working with back in Brisbane.
Being a part of something and watching it grow from day one has been quite the trip–every day I learn something new and am so incredibly proud of what our company has achieved in such a short time.
I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given, but I will take the time to say that without Lily, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being able to work so closely with such a patient and driven individual is truly an inspiration. I am incredibly lucky to have such a strong female role model who encourages me to challenge myself every day, both professionally and personally.
Sometimes when I remember what I get to do every day I am baffled at how I even got here myself. I am still not sure what the future holds for me within the industry and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will.
My advice to anyone wanting to get a foot in the door? Go to shows, intern your heart out and get involved in any way you can–whether it’s blogging, booking shows, or even doing the graveyard shift at your college radio station. Because those things all bring you one step closer to being able to call your passion your career, and I can guarantee that it’s all worth it.