Hello, everyone! Welcome to the first and only Publicity Spotlight of the week. We have been working on putting this piece together for the better part of the last month and are incredibly excited to finally share the results with all of you.
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We have mentioned this before, but the music industry is actually a much smaller community on professionals than many may believe. Everyone knows everyone, regardless of genre or label associations, and to be perfectly honest that general sense of friendliness everyone has towards one another is one of the best parts of life in the business. Today’s spotlight happens to feature someone I feel fortunate to call a friend, and her drive to help artists succeed is only surpassed by her admiration for music.
Kelly Walsh is a publicist for Prosthetic Records, one of the best heavy labels in existence today, and she’s certainly a ‘need to know’ name in the world of rock journalism. She represents some of the greatest bands in the business today, and the reason she’s been entrusted with the continued success of their public relations is due to her own relentless determination to succeed. From her early days as an intern with Century Media Records, to where she finds herself now, Kelly has poured every ounce of herself into helping others chase their dreams of having a successful career in music and through doing so has built a strong reputation for her skills in the business world.
If you have ever had the slightest interest in life at an independent label, or what it’s like to work publicity for some of the heaviest bands on the planet, make sure you pay careful attention to what Kelly shares in the conversation below. If you want to learn more about her efforts at Prosthetic and beyond, be sure to follow her on Twitter (as well as the label). Additional questions and comments can be left at the end of this post.
H: Please state your name, job title, and the company you currently work for:
K: My name is Kelly Walsh and I’m the publicist for Prosthetic Records. I also run the internship program here & do all of the label’s social media.
H: When you think of your earliest memories with music, what comes to mind?
K: My earliest memories would have to be listening non-stop to Jackson 5 “ABC” and Disney soundtracks. I didn’t grow up around a lot of music and my parents weren’t huge music fans, so my options for the home stereo were limited.
H: Every industry professional has a moment in life where they realize their interest in music is more than a simple passion or hobby, but rather something they want to make a career out of if at all possible. If you had to guess, when was that moment for you?
K: For me, it wasn’t so much a single moment as much as the combination of my discovery of music. I didn’t actually start listening to music as more than just background noise until early high school. I got introduced to heavier artists (AFI, Linkin Park, Scary Kids Scaring Kids) and started from there but I was obsessed with lyrics and finding out their meanings. I had journals upon journals of song lyrics that I’d transcribed and scribbled notes over. I’m a huge reader, so being able to combining words and music intrigued me.
It wasn’t until mid-way through college that I actually thought I could translate that into a career. I won a meet & greet/ private listening session with Apocalyptica and getting to see a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes work that went on made me realize that was where I belonged.
H: You attended college, but if my research is correct you did not focus on anything industry-related at the time. Is that correct?
K: Far from it, I actually went to school for Forensic Science and wanted to become a medical examiner. Unfortunately, I was born with hand tremors and due to those – it put a full stop to that plan. After that I spent a year studying English Literature & Shakespeare in London,UK and trying to figure out what to do with my life. Since my visa expired after a year, I decided to move to Hollywood, CA (I’m originally from Upstate New York) and attended Musicians Institute for a brief period.
H: What was your first ‘gig’ in the music industry (unpaid work counts)? Can you tell us a bit about how it came together?
K: My first “gig” in the industry was being an intern for Century Media Records. From street teaming and being at a bunch of shows, I’d met a few staff members and they had suggested that I apply for the internship. After interviewing, I was hired and I spent 6 months interning there mostly helping out with marketing and street teams. My hard work paid off and a job for a marketing assistant opened up which I applied for and was lucky enough to get hired! During my time at Century Media, I ended up taking over the internship program and restructuring it, running the street teams, and working with local promoters, venues and street teamers to promote upcoming tours.
H: What advice would you offer aspiring industry professionals hoping to get their start in the business today?
K: Work hard, ask why & network! If you’re truly passionate about something, don’t be afraid to show it. I learned the most from my internship by going above and beyond with the tasks that I was given and I always tried to ask “why” I was doing something so that I understood its purpose rather than just blindly completing a task. Networking is key! Keeping in touch with people and building relationships opens so many doors!
H: You currently find yourself at Prosthetic Records. What initially attracted you to Prosthetic, and what was the interview process like?
K: Due to budget cuts, my position got terminated at Century Media and the next morning one of my bosses, the phenomenal Steve Joh, contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do publicity. He told me that Prosthetic was hiring and he had already spoken to them about me and they wanted me to come in for an interview. The label fit me perfectly as I was a fan of some of their past roster (Lamb of God, Gojira, All That Remains) and a huge fan of some of their newer bands ( Skeletonwitch, Holy Grail). I loved that they represented a variety of genres and also that they were a smaller company. The next day I headed to their office for an interview and got hired on the spot.
H: Without going too in-depth, what does a normal day look like for you?
K: Normal, what’s that? Just kidding. I’m obsessed with making lists – they help me stay so organized. I start off my day coming up with a list of things that need to be done for each part of my job (i.e. – what needs to be posted on social media, what tasks do I have for the interns today, what interviews are due today, etc). I spend the rest of my day sending out press releases, pitches, doing tour press and the likes. Towards the end of the day/ when I get home, I spend hours reading news sites, reviews, magazines to find new ideas and keep up with what’s going on.
H: What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about life in the music industry?
K: The most irritating misconception is the “suit wearing, desk job, 9-5”er category you get huddled into. I definitely don’t wear a suit and while I may spend the day in an office, my job doesn’t end at 5. I guess it’s the conception that everyone at the label lacks creativity and are just interested in sales – which is so far from the case. I never stop working, my email is on my phone and I’m constantly checking it – I try and go out to local shows as often as I can to see new bands and I’m always looking for new opportunities for my bands whether it be music related or something they’re personally interested in.
H: How do you measure your success at your job?
K: Exposure would come to mind first. My goal is to increase awareness and make sure in addition to hitting the regular markets, I’m constantly trying to find alternative methods and increase my outreach.
H: When it comes to promotional distribution, which services do you prefer and why?
K: Definitely Haulix. It’s simple, fast and secure. Also, the customer service is incredible, I’m able to get a response usually the same day and they always go above and beyond.
H: As someone who works first hand with unreleased music on a regular basis, do you believe album leaks can be prevented?
K: For the most part, yes. Especially with using the watermark service that Haulix provides – it’s easy to catch a leak source and stop it.
H: At this point in life, what is your ultimate career goal?
K: I love doing publicity/marketing and I’m so glad that I ended up here. I would love to continue doing publicity/marketing and also delve into management. Non-music related, I’d also like to get my funeral directors license at some point and do that on the side.
H: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
K: I’d get rid of illegal downloading. Nowadays with the variety of streaming services, I don’t see the need. If you’re that cheap and won’t buy an album that you claim to love, at least stream it so the band can earn some sort of revenue for their hard work.
H: I think we’ve covered just about everything at this point. Do you have anything you would like to add before I let you go?
K: I just want to say a big thank you to my bands for being so incredibly amazing to work with!
Also, we’ve got a lot of huge releases coming out next year including a new album from our hardcore quartet TRAP THEM and the first original material from legendary guitarist MARTY FRIEDMAN in over four years!
So make sure to stay tuned to www.prostheticrecords.com for details J