We caught up with our 2021 Breakthrough Award winner Gabrielle Wilson, 21 to see what invaluable advice she can share with young people starting out in the live events music industry and how she has spent the last 18 months …
How did your passion for the production industry begin?
When I started, I didn’t know what constituted as production, it was primarily due to my interest in these jobs that I took part in them. The more I got to discover while working them made me gradually fall in love with the industry. When I found out Tour Management was a future job opportunity, I loved the idea of it and after working the first gigs with Woolfie (Tour Manager for the Blossoms) I realised that this would be my end goal.
How did you get into the production industry?
I just sort of fell into that to be completely honest. I ran a couple of charity gigs before starting university. While doing my A levels I came to the understanding that I didn’t want to do a traditional job in the industry. I found event management by chance and opened a prospectus for the university of Lincoln, basically promising myself that whatever came up, as long as I was qualified, I’d study. It opened up on Event management. Since I’d run a couple gigs when I was younger and enjoyed it, I did more research and found out that music event management was an actual job and went with it.
Did you even know then how to start your career?
No. I had no idea and didn’t know it was a career path at the time since it’s not spoken about in colleges or in schools. I never had anybody that was connected to the music industry, and Rotherham doesn’t exactly have a huge music scene, so I had to figure a lot out by myself.
Did you do a course? If so, where?
Yes, I studied Event Management at BIMM Manchester.
Was there anyone who influenced you along the way to get to where you are today?
Meds and Woolfie. They’ve sort of been like festival parents to me. Both met me in the first two months of me starting out and have been nothing but kind and patient. They taught me a lot of what I know, they guided me through the industry, letting me grow and learn from my mistakes. They’re exceptional at their jobs and are people I look up to. They definitely don’t give themselves enough credit. I wouldn’t be where I am without them, I wouldn’t have been able to navigate through the music industry without them. Everybody needs their own mentor and I aspire to be like both of them. Also Jon Green. I worked a lot with him on MIF and the level of knowledge and care he puts into his work blows my mind. In terms of working with him, he’s very honest in his feedback but in a caring way. My family have always been very supportive, even if they don’t fully understand it. Their support makes it easier when things get a little bit rocky.
How old were you when you won your Breakthrough Talent Award in 2020?
I was 20 years old.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve done so many different jobs in the music industry that it’s very difficult to pinpoint a specific career moment. If I had to point out one though it would be working with Blossoms because even though it was for one tour, that confirmed to me what I want to tour manage and that also gave me the confidence to take a step back and take a bit of a risk to try and grow organically with an independent band.
I’ve done so many different jobs in the music industry that it’s very difficult to pinpoint a specific career moment. If I had to point out one though it would be working with Blossoms
How have you spent the last 18 months?
I graduated from university, I did a festival season and then started work at BIMM. Continued working as a promoter rep and recently started managing an independent band called Spangled. I’m really enjoying it and I’m excited to grow with the band and face any challenges that come my way.
What was your highlight of 2021?
2021 has been a rough year for everyone, particularly in the music industry. I think the highlight has just been finding my feet in the industry and understanding what my strengths and weaknesses are as well as what the parts I enjoy are. Having been my second festival season minus lockdown, I think that finding my niche and starting to focus on that is a highlight in itself. Right now I love teaching and managing Spangled.
What would your advice be to yourself 5 years ago?
Stop stressing and just see what happens. It’ll be difficult, but it’s worth it.
Any advice to anyone who wants to work in this industry?
Not everything is going to go perfectly all the time. Sometimes what feels like a step back isn’t. There sometimes feels like a lot of pressure and it feels like everyone’s doing better than you, but if you’re happy with where you’re at stick to your path!
What are you most looking forward to this year?
In 2022 I think I’m most looking forward to being able to get back to work and finding new opportunities and learning again! Developing my relationship with Spangled, and taking a step out of my comfort zone by working with a smaller band and trying to build them up. I’m also looking forward to finding my feet again, figuring out what I do and don’t enjoy and where I want to be this time next year!
Gabi will be joining us at this years TPi Awards on the Production Futures table on Monday 23 May 2022.