When record boss Ferdy Unger-Hamilton spoke at a recent industry event his advice for aspiring artists was straight down the line: “Get on and do it”.
Unger-Hamilton started out as an A&R man back in 1992; Gabrielle and Portishead were early signings. These days he heads Columbia Records UK and has George Ezra and Calvin Harris on his roster.
Speaking at BBC Music Introducing Live earlier this month, he said the key for anyone looking to break through was to be proactive.
“Ask yourself: what happens if I do nothing? Do everything that you can and would like to do. That way you’ll meet more people in the industry. Do it all: videos, songs, shows, content, podcasts. Create a stir.”
The days of holding back material until you had a full album ready to go, or waiting until you’ve been signed by a label, are long gone.
“Don’t wait. Keep the music coming out as much as you can. Get a dialogue going on and don’t lose your listener base.”
Unger-Hamilton said that nothing counted more than life experience. “I look for involvement and participation. I couldn’t care less if anyone has a degree. Although if you do have one, I won’t hold it against you.”
One artist who personifies this “get on and do it” attitude is Rex Orange County – who has self-released two albums to much acclaim. Ironically, Unger-Hamilton wishes he’d signed Rex OC himself, but the Brit School graduate, who was second in the BBC Sound Of Award, has managed to make it on his own terms, and doesn’t need a label behind him.
MAIN IMAGE: Rex Orange County during Outside Lands Music Festival at Golden Gate Park San Francisco, California (Photo by Daniel DeSlover/Sipa USA)