When I decided that I was going to move into covering music full time I wasn’t exactly flooded with advice from people already in the industry, and most of the advice that was thrown my way was pretty rubbish. However there was one name that kept popping up from people in bands and around the local music scene and that name was Emma Scott. The reason why soon became obvious.
Fast forward a few months and I have had the pleasure of reviewing many of the artists which she works with through her radio plugging company Pluggin Baby as well as attending gigs that she has promoted. In fact as a result of having my name attached to reviews of her acts I have received some of the biggest reviews of my career, and that is because Emma’s reputation in the music industry especially in the West Midlands is beyond impressive. A quick glance at her musical CV will show you why.
Starting out in 1988 and she has worked for numerous radio stations including Kerrang!, hosted shows backstage at Download festival, worked as a club DJ, an A&R at an independent record label, as well as lecturing at various music colleges. She can currently be found championing new artists through her radio plugging company Pluggin Baby as well as promoting gigs through Emma Scott Presents… Oh and if that wasn’t enough she’s also and author.
Last month Emma released her latest book If It Was My Band into the world to try and give up and coming artists a guide as to how to further their careers and get their music heard. There are only so many badly written emails you can receive and massively unprofessional bands you can encounter before you start to go up the wall. (Trust me on this one) So a few weeks ago I had a chat with the woman who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of ‘a day off’ to get the inside track on the book and find out what comes next.
MO: First of all working with you and reviewing many of the artists that you have at Pluggin’ Baby I can only imagine how busy you are so how the hell did you find time to even write a book!?
It was a struggle near the end, for sure!! There were a few tears in front of my editor-friend on numerous occasions towards the end: “I can’t do this!” “I’ll never finish it!” and many other gems like that. Poor woman. Before that, I just wrote little bits each time something inspired me or made me angry! I’d just jot it down and refer to it later. The whole process took about three years in total. It was really just the last six months that it became quite hard to fit it all in. I threw some 18 hour days just to get it done. I was very relieved when I handed it over to the designer to deal with!
MO: You have mentioned that one of the motivating factors behind writing was the book was the amount of time you spent saying ‘Why did you do that?’ And ‘If it was my band I would have done this…’ but was there a tipping point where someone did something you couldn’t believe that drove you to finally put pen to paper?
Yes, the book was written because of the daily frustrations whilst working with musicians that approached me for radio play, advice, gigs, record deals etc. There were hundreds of those moments to be honest, but they weren’t always negatives. If I saw a band do something really well, I’d make a note of that too – and that would appear in the book as well – to try and inspire other bands to do the same.
MO: Following on from that do you have any industry pet hates? Something that artists keep doing which just drives you to distraction?
A lot of bands I’ve come across think success is going to come to them as they’re “so good” and they sit back and wait for it to happen. They can then become egotistical, lazy and presumptuous and ultimately wreck their own chances of success. So, I guess in a nutshell, it’s having the wrong attitude that gets my goat, and having the wrong attitude and a big ego is even worse!
MO: If you could give one tip to an aspiring artist (Apart from buy your book!) what would that tip be?
Find out as much about the music industry as possible. Research is the key. If you want to release a single, get all the information you can about it beforehand, so you do the best job possible and it gets the best chance to be heard by people. Having a half-arsed or slightly clueless approach isn’t going to work. That said, everyone makes mistakes as they climb the ladder – if you keep learning as you climb, you’ll get there in the end.
MO: You have already revealed that you want write more books in the future, are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about your next project?
At the moment, I’m busy promoting the If It Was My Band… book by talking to as many people as possible about it and speaking to the people who’ve bought it in order to find out what has worked best for them. After that, I want to do a re-write of my first book on getting radio airplay and then I’m going to finish the book on getting gigs. I have also part-written a guide to working in radio and my autobiography. That will probably never see the light of day though – there’s simply too much going on in my day to day life! Maybe when I retire…
MO: As someone who has already achieved so much in the music industry and seemingly had a go at and often had huge amounts of success at pretty much everything what does the future hold for Emma Scott?
I’ve had a very long career so far – more than I could ever have dreamed of – and I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved. In many ways you could say I’ve had the dream job, but it was never without sacrifice and I’ve always put the hours in and am a bit of a workaholic. Since giving up full time radio last summer, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of working for myself on Pluggin Baby and achieving great airplay results for my clients and I’ve (mostly) enjoyed writing the book to help musicians achieve their dreams – so I guess, more of the same – but maybe a day off every week would be nice;-)
‘If It Was My band ’is out now.