Our new "Musical Meanders" column hosts reflections and writings from Leeds College of Music students on their own journeys as musicians and learners. Our first edition comes from Director of Alumni Records: Miranda Harmer.
“Hi, I'm Mimi and I want to own a record label,” I said, during my first 'Working in the Creative Industries' seminar. I'm pretty sure that most people thought I was a dreamer and would quietly finish the module without a second thought, but thanks to the fantastic support from my partner and co-founder Ted, my desire came true and Alumni Records was born.
Running a business whilst being a full time student is fun and rewarding, but is definitely hard work – especially when it's a label. As a Director, I have to oversee everything from contracts and promotions to being present whilst the tracks are being recorded to ensure quality control.
Imagine juggling all this whilst practising, rehearsing, doing academic work and maintaining a social life. If it wasn't for Ted and the rest of Team Alumni (newly formed in October 2013), it wouldn't have been at all possible.
Putting your trust into your team may seem like such a standard thing, but you're essentially putting your business and its reputation into someone else's hands which is, of course, difficult. But as musicians, don't we do that any way? We have to trust that our band members will show up, that our producer will mix the recording the right way, that our managers will have our best interests in mind whilst representing us. You have to trust that the people you work with will deliver the same quality that you would - which can be difficult when its your dream that you've seen transcend from your mind to the public's eyes and ears.
So how do we do it? Ted and I hold weekly meetings where we assess what needs to take priority and check that everyone (artists, producers and the Team) is happy. If there is anything urgent we focus on that (which often means late night phone calls and working into the early hours to fix whatever it is). As a Team, however, we never let it affect our academic life, as that will always take precedence.
Taking the leap from dream to reality is a hard process; and unfortunately something that we all strive for. Our aspirations can come in many forms and this is what drives me to run Alumni Records every day - to create the opportunity for the abundance of talent that can be heard both in our conservatoire and around Leeds and hopefully become a stepping stone for artists to achieve their dreams.
While we may be a small start up label, it is the passion of each member of Team Alumni to deliver good quality music and help each artist on their way to the top.
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