Welcome to the next installment of BTM, a place where we get to shine a spotlight on some of the hard-working people “Behind The Music”; the artists managers, booking agents, publicists, indie label owners, music website editors and so on.
This week’s spotlight is shining on Anna Fitzgerald from TMRW Music Group. Over her career she has been one of the main people behind the publicity and promotion for some of Australia’s biggest dance acts like PNAU, Peking Duk, FISHER and Kilter just to name a few, and also launched a charity netball competition for the music industry called Ricochet Ball alongside songwriter, DJ and producer KLP.
Tell us who you are, what you do, and who you represent?
My name is Anna Fitzgerald and I’m the Director of Publicity & Promotions at TMRW Music Group. This involves working across our various labels including etcetc, Hussle, Astrx and Risqué. I handle the radio and TV servicing of our new releases, plus service blogs and other media outlets. I also liaise with our DSP partners and also undertake artist relations for our roster of local and international artists. I also do PR for our touring and events companies, Poster Child and Soapbox Agency, plus other special events and tours.
Artists I currently work with include PNAU, FISHER, Jax Jones, Duke Dumont, Loud Luxury, Timmy Trumpet, George Maple, Kilter, San Mei, Luboku, DOOLIE, Savage, Kult Kyss and lots more!
Traditionally we have been focused on electronic music, but now sign and release music from artists across different genres like Saint Lane who is a rapper from the Gold Coast via New Zealand and San Mei who is more indie-pop.
How did you get into this line of work?
I always wanted to work in music – I started going to gigs and festivals when I was 12 or 13 (shout out to my first gig – C&C Music Factory at the Hordern!) and would save my money to buy concert tickets and CDs (yes, CDs). After finishing high school I did a Media & Communications degree at uni and while I was studying I worked part time at HMV (a music retail store for anyone too young to remember them!). After uni I worked at a couple of PR agencies but didn’t enjoy the agency side at all. After working in London for about 18 months, I came back to Australia and ended up getting a job at Albert Music (an Australian label and home to acts like AC/DC) working for the CEO, Fifa Riccobono. This was my first full-time role in the music industry and even though I was working as an assistant to the CEO, it was a great foot in the door in the industry. From there I moved to Warner Music and got a job in the publicity department, then after a few years I moved over to Sony Music as National Publicity Manager. I worked at Sony for a few years and worked with some big name artists, and then took a short break from the music industry and worked at Channel 7 for about 18 months. I ended up missing being in the music industry and moved into my current role at TMRW Music (previously Ministry of Sound Australia) about 6 ½ years ago.
What are some of your biggest achievements?
It’s always great seeing an artist achieve their goals and being able to be a part of that journey. I absolutely loved working with Peking Duk early on in their career. Seeing them grow to where they are now makes me very proud. Adam, Reuben and their manager Bennis made my job a joy and I’m lucky to have stayed great mates with them.
PNAU have had a huge resurgence over the past few years and I’ve loved seeing their music take over the airwaves, win ARIA Awards, go multi-platinum and see people sing along to their music at festivals. I still get goosebumps in those moments!
I’m also very proud to have started a charity netball competition, Ricochet Ball, with KLP last year. In our first year we raised over $24,000 for charity and we hope to raise even more this year. We wanted to bring together people from the music industry in a healthy environment and everyone had a great day playing sport and raising money for charity.
Our second tournament is happening in October this year. Check it out here: www.facebook.com/events/391026098153740
Tell us one thing that you would love to see change or happen that you feel would help make the music industry a better place?
Probably cutting back on its connection to alcohol and partying. I’m all for socialising and love a night out more than anyone, but I think we have to respect a person’s decision not to drink if that’s what they choose.
Over the past few years I’ve put more of a focus on health and making sure I have a balance rather than going out every night. And also I think we need to strive for more support for mental health issues.
Touring can look glamorous but can actually be really hard and isolating when you’re away from home a lot and playing every night and not sleeping. But I think slowly people are becoming more comfortable at speaking up when they are struggling and learning when to take a break or ask for help. One of our goals with Ricochet Ball was bringing together people from the industry to do something active that doesn’t involve drinking. Usually we only ever catch up with industry friends at gigs or festivals, so doing something active was a nice change!
What is your most favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
My job basically entails talking about music all day which is pretty great!
I’m also in awe of all the creative people I get to work with. I am not musical myself, so to be surrounded by songwriters, producers, singers and performers is really inspiring. Helping artists turn something they love doing into a career is pretty special.
But it’s the people you work on a day-to-day basis with who make work enjoyable. I have some great colleagues who are also great mates and most of my best friends are people I’ve met through working in the industry. I think when you’re working long hours and also socialising together it really bonds you. I couldn’t get by without the mates I’ve made along the way and I treasure having these close friendships for the past 15 or so years. Being able to attend festivals and gigs and getting to travel for work is fun, but it’s even more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by people you actually want to spend time with!
What is your least favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
The late night/early start combo has always been a struggle. But luckily I don’t have to do many 5am call times for breakfast radio or TV interviews anymore!
I was never able to sleep the night before if I had my alarm set for 4.30am and had to pick people up and get them to a live interview. And also the stress gets to me at times, but I think that happens in every industry. But overall I always say I’m very lucky to have my dream job. Not many people have that privilege!
Where do you see the future of the industry heading?
More flexible working hours and working remotely. Doing business on a global scale. We need to have an international focus to be competitive. And more of a focus on female identifying and indigenous artists. There’s still a long way to go. And there’s sure to be a lot of technical developments or disruptions that I can’t even predict. At the beginning of my career people were still sending faxes and posting out CDs, so things can change pretty drastically over time!
What do you do to unwind outside of the industry/work?
Exercise is super important to me. I love working out outdoors, spending time at the beach, and I also love going to an 80s aerobics class called Retrosweat (check them out here). It combines my love of 80s music, exercise and dressing up! I always leave on a huge natural high!
Also my guilty pleasure is watching bad reality TV. I love switching off in front of an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or similar. It’s my escape time!