Samii Taylor

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Business)

Year of Graduation: 2018

Seizing an opportunity advertised by one of our Music Business lecturers, Samii Taylor subsequently completed a series of internships within music public relations (PR). Currently working as a Junior Account Executive at KPPR, Samii has worked on campaigns for the likes of comedian Alexei Sayle and Steps’ Lee Latchford-Evans. In 2019, she was nominated for an ‘Outstanding MAP Graduate Contribution to Music Award’.

We caught up with Samii to learn about her experiences and the vital skills required to be successful in PR within the creative industries.

When did you first encounter music/when did your interest in the music industry begin?

Both my parents were very into live music and from an early age, they took me to a variety of gigs and festivals. The one that sticks in my mind the most is the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool.

I then began learning to play instruments/sing and study music. First at a small community-based music project in my local area, then high school, spending my holidays attending the Rock School UK workshops, leading to Leeds College of Music for A-levels and staying to go onto the BA (Hons) in Music (Business).

Alongside my studies I began putting on my own live shows, small festivals and getting involved in a variety of other larger-scale events. 

How did your interest in PR in the music industry begin?

On the BA (Hons) in Music (Business), there's a Marketing module. This module really solidified my enjoyment of creatively building ideas and campaigns to fit specific projects.

Dr Sally Rodgers, the lecturer for this module, forwarded me the details of a music PR agency who were looking for an intern. I applied and was successful.  

Could you tell us a little bit more about the internships you’ve done?

I have done 3 PR internships. The first with Hush PR, was remote with flexible working alongside my degree and weekend job. Here I assisted on a variety of EP/album launches, press days and live tours. Following my internship, I was offered paid work here as a Press Assistant, where I worked on press accreditation off and onsite at Cornbury Festival and began getting more involved in the planning and management of campaigns.

Alongside my internship with Hush PR the company director knew of another agency - Kate Stuart PR, who were looking for an intern and she put my name forward. This internship was also remote and flexible to fit in with my degree, Hush PR internship and weekend job. Here, I helped with database management, assisted on EP launches and managed an exclusive music video premiere.

After finishing my degree, I began looking for full-time work. Both the company directors at my previous internships knew of an internship with a London-based entertainment PR agency and again recommended me for the position. I began my internship at KPPR. In this role, I assisted on a variety of live comedy tours and TV campaigns. After the year, I was given a full time position and moved to my current role of Junior Account Executive. 

What key skills do you need to work in PR?

There's a variety of skills that I think are beneficial to working in PR. If I were to pick a handful, I'd say attention to detail, initiative, networking, a ‘can-do’ attitude and most importantly verbal (both face-to-face and via the phone) and written communication skills. A bonus would be empathy, it kind of links to communication, but that's a really important one. You're often an intermediary in discussions and having empathy for each person’s perspective can shine a light on the best course of action. 

What does a typical day look like for you at KPPR?

Honestly, every day differs depending on what campaigns you're working on and if you're in the office or if you're out and about running a press schedule/going to meetings. One thing, as a team we do every morning, which is hugely beneficial and important, is to read through each of the daily newspapers. This gives us an overview of what's in the news, what's currently being talked about, who the journalists are, what might be relevant to our clients. It also provides opportunity to check if our clients have been featured.

What’s been the most interesting campaign you’ve worked on, or client you’ve worked with?

This is quite a difficult question! Honestly, I love working on live tours, they all have different needs and can be really rewarding. Recently, I have worked on comedian Alexei Sayle's live tour. Here, I took more ownership over the campaign and secured some exciting broadcast opportunities, meaning I got to travel around London managing live radio and television interviews. During my internship, we worked on a lovely festive pantomime campaign with Steps' Lee Latchford-Evans – which was really fun! 

You were nominated for a UK Music ‘Outstanding MAP Graduate Contribution to Music Award’. How important is recognition such as this?

I think we all are guilty of imposter syndrome from time to time, thinking "I shouldn't be here" or "I'm not good enough" but this helped to show that I have worked hard and my work is valued. 

How did your experiences of studying at Music Business prepare you for a career in the wider industry?

Honestly, I think the Programme Leader Dr. Alex Timewell and the other lecturers on the degree helped prepare me the most. Alex knows how to get the best out of you and all of the lecturers all have varied industry experience, meaning the way they speak, teach and what they expect from you, can often match working experiences. Also, a lot of the assignments are open to a certain level of interpretation and you can use your creativity and initiative to fit the brief. 

What were the most enjoyable aspects of studying at Leeds College of Music?

I hated high-school, so when I finished and came to LCoM, it was huge for me. I loved it. I met people from very different aspects of life with different tastes and experiences, brought together by a love of music. The building has a kind of buzz that I love. I really didn't want to leave when I'd finished my degree. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in PR?

Possibly the same for all careers - I think experience is key. Get involved, be a bit of a ‘yes’ person and have a positive can-do attitude.

Also, perhaps a little bit more specific to PR - gain a level of understanding of different types of media and what kinds of journalism are out there. 

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