The second interviewee in the ‘Inspirational Women in Music’ series is Sherrene Ryan Wells from the good old USA! I first connected with Sherrene on social media when she was promoting Malta rock band Airport Impressions who were playing Midstock Festival a few months ago.
I met her in person when she was over here on tour with them recently and she was everything I knew she’d be…. friendly, fun, supportive, feisty and an inspiring go-getter!!
Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you do?
Hello All You Music Lovers – Happy to introduce myself as promotions representative for the best indie record label in Scotland, Fat Hippy Records and for over 3 years have been part of an amazing team of passionate professionals showcasing indie bands/artists. Fat Hippy Records represents over 10 bands from metal to country and my job is to publicize and promote all local upcoming or national events, concerts and news. In addition, I help organize events, book bands, handle press releases, radio airplay, design posters and plug album launches. Fat Hippy Records is considered a geographically based label keeping independent music alive and delighted it has been growing strong in Aberdeen Scotland for over 12 years. I am also proud to be part of the team that promotes “Live at Captain Toms” music TV show. We are the best independent new music show in the UK and just wrapping up Season 4. We showcase top unsigned bands/artist from all over the UK and touring bands and stream the show worldwide for free! Subsequently I have become publicist for Fat Hippy Record’s award winning singer/songwriter, Colin Clyne going on 3 years and most recently publicist/tour manager for legendary band out of Malta, Airport Impressions. Needless to say, not enough time in the day, but so proud to work with these amazing folks who bring outstanding music to the masses.
Is working in the music industry something you always wanted to do?
I was always passionate about music and knew it inspired me. As parents, we bought our kids the gift of a concert tickets vs stuff on birthday’s or special celebrations. We have met Billy Joel, seen Cold Play, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springstein and so many epic bands. However, how my career in the music industry began certainly falls into “you can’t make this stuff up” category. My family was watching Season 3 of NBC The Voice and we caught the audition of the Scottish Rocker, Terry McDermott who perfectly belted out The Who “Baba O’Riley” Jaw dropped and was an instant fan. I joined the Facebook Fan Club and soon after was asked to head up and organize volunteer radio promotions as they knew my former career was in hotel sales and marketing. Once Terry launched his UK Tour as runner up of The Voice, I was introduced to his record label, Fat Hippy Records lead by the ever brilliant, “Captain Tom”. The rest is history as they say…. Tom asked if I wanted to join the team and help promote bands on his label. A lot more to the story, but from watching a TV show I I have one epic career in music and still feel blessed to wake up every day that I found this new career in this new chapter of my life.
Tell us about starting SRWells Music Promotions and what your hopes and dreams are for it?
Well, to be honest I created the SRWells Music Promotions Facebook page simply to have a separate format to promote Fat Hippy Records bands, Live at Captain Toms TV Show, Colin Clyne, and Airport Impressions. Right now it works as a great platform to reach music fans. As for what are my hopes and dreams for SRWells Music Promotion…… to continue to love what I do each day and only represent bands/organizations I have a true belief or passion for. I get approached on a regular basis to represent bands for music promotion and as much as I appreciate the offer and validates I am doing a good job, I feel if you take on too much, then the personal touch, the details and the time management gets a hold of you and much impact is lost.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Sherrene?
Well, let’s be honest and the most fun part is how I end my day– A nice glass of red wine or a pink drink! Albeit, the enjoyable part of my job is every day is a bit different. Over my first cup of coffee, I typically spend the first hour going through my Facebook/Twitter feed to find leads and network. Again, depending on the focus of the week, it could be finding new radio leads, writing press releases, booking a tour, researching festival application for bands, designing a poster, promoting upcoming gig dates or managing the plethora of social media pages that I oversee. I can easily pull a 10-hour day as I could sit in front of my laptop for hours. I am still learning to take breaks as I get into a zone and don’t want to stop. I still get excited when any of the bands lands a new radio station, magazine article, booking or notable press!
You’re not long back from touring Scotland with Airport Impressions as tour manager, considering you’re based in the US and the band live in Malta, how do you even begin to plan and organise something like that?
One of my favorite lines from Colin Clyne’s song “Pockets and Envelopes” is “…we are all connected by invisible lines…” Indeed crazy that little old me sitting in North Carolina USA is booking a band I never met from Malta in a foreign country of Scotland. The true beauty of this age of technology.
We were excited when we landed Midstock Festival in November of last year which gave us ample time to properly build a tour around the festival date. And because of my years with Fat Hippy Records out of Scotland, I built a great network of folks in the industry who were amazing with their support for the band to book venues and radio play, including you PR Owls!! For this tour, I wore many hats and spent countless hours behind the scenes calling venues, booking venues, promoting the tour, booking radio shows, writing press releases, properly advertising, coordinating with the band and building a fan base for Airport Impressions. Although they are legendary in Malta playing to MTV Isle of Malta to 50k fans, in the UK they were virtually unknown. So in the end, we were all pleased we had such a successful week in Scotland and gained so many new fans! We cannot wait to return and are feverishly filling out applications for UK Festivals for 2017.
It was a huge success, you and the band were loved everywhere you went, what were some of the highlights of the tour for you?
Hands down seeing the band performing at Midstock Festival was one of my highlights. I was grateful to have the man who brought the band to my attention, Richard Alan Hubbard from Channel Radio by my side and I aint gonna lie… We both had a wee tear in our eye out of pure pride to being witness to the day. All our hard work came to fruition. The second highlight was our final gig in Edinburgh at Stramash… outstanding crowd singing, dancing and loving the band’s show!! When they broke out the cover song of Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” and everyone was singing and dancing.. ( even me ) my heart was filled with joy! Priceless moment I won’t forget. All the long days of planning worthwhile.
Other than the fantastic AI’s, who are some of the bands and singers you want everyone to know about?
Oh boy.. that is a loaded question for a PR person! All of them!! Not sure there is enough attention span of your readers to hear about every band I promote. Please go check out www.fathippyrecord.co.uk for all the great bands!!! But, I am excited that Fat Hippy Band, Ray Brower is the winner for the 2017 Hellfest MainStage! Thrilled for the guys and cannot wait for one of top metal bands kicking butt in France next year.
I would be remiss not to highlight Mr. Colin Clyne as he holds a special place in building my career. Colin is an award-winning singer/songwriter with Fat Hippy Records and asked me to be his publicist. When I read his credentials of 2x winner of Best Acoustic Act with San Diego Music awards, featured artist with NBC in a top 12 list of best singer songwriters associated with San Diego in amongst, Tom Waits, Jewel, and the late Jim Croce and finally his album “The Never Ending Pageant” was produced by Grammy Award Winning Engineer, Alan Sanderson, (The Stones, Elton John, Ryan Adams, Burt Bacharach) .. Ummm I was a bit nervous as new promoter in the business to take on this role. But, I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together and so happy he saw my passion, resourcefulness and tenacity to get something done regardless of my years in the music business! Airplay on BBC Radio 2 with the legendary “Whispering” Bob Harris was a highlight for us. For that special occasion we did a quick skype call and toasted each another for reaching that goal! My three years as his publicist has offered me a great foundation to learn all facets of the music industry and proud that along with airplay on many great BBC stations, fabulous album reviews, song writing awards, magazine covers, Ireland tour, and so many wonderful gigs throughout the UK we have become dear friends. Colin took a risk with a “newbie” in the business and so happy he did as I’ve met so many amazing people because of my role promoting his album. Heartfelt thank you goes out to Mr. Clyne.
Music PR isn’t a 9-5 job, how do you balance other aspects of your life with it?
Well, I am sure my husband and son would say I worked too much, but I simply lose track of time as I love what I do! However, I am still learning to balance my time as my first priority is to my family until my son is off to college. Although I do not have to set this schedule, the 4am-5am wake alarm due to the time difference because I am located in USA and bands in UK and Malta certainly makes for an early start. However, with my last tour with Airport Impressions to Scotland, it sure made adjusting jet-lag much easier. As with any career, it’s all about balance, but when you love what you do, again, it doesn’t feel like “work” per say, but a taking a break is always healthy.
What was the first record you bought and what was it you loved about it?
Oh man, to be honest I have fond memories of my Walt Disney records that I used to sit and listen to for hours as a toddler… but my first record… perhaps The Beatles. I loved every song and have a special memory of laying the floor with my brother for hours just listening and singing. But, if you want true confessions… my favorite vinyl was my Shaun Cassidy record — I kissed that cover over and over!!!
What’s the best piece of PR advice you’d give to young singers or bands just starting out in music.
But besides that… UTILIZE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS. In this 24 news cycle you need to stay relevant and hopefully catch fans eyes in the social media stream. Drives me nuts when bands do not promote their gig dates, music or engage with their fans! Why be on social media? Even if you are a support band for a concert, promote the gig!!! It only benefits everyone involved!
Where do you want to be career wise this time next year?
As happy as I am today. I always said if I am not enjoying what I do, feeling passion for the artists I represent or feeling full-filled then I will stop. I hope I am blessed to continue in this great field of music promotion, meeting so many extraordinary people and building my music library of some killer independent/unsigned bands! LET’S KEEP INDIE MUSIC ALIVE!!