The Great Escape: An Interview With Rachael Scarsbrook


Written by Oli De St Croix

21 May 2019

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The Great Escape: An Interview With Rachael Scarsbrook

Recently, we hosted our first ever Music Gateway artist showcase during The Great Escape festival in Brighton! The lineup consisted of three artists from our artist development and promotions roster. Additionally, a final act won a slot by reaching out on social media via a competition. Needless to say, the support for the artists was overwhelming and the turnout was fantastic!

The Great Escape 2019 Logo

Each artist performed two 20 minute slots, and they certainly didn’t disappoint! Calum Jones, a prolific songwriter from Moray, Scotland, demonstrated his ability to craft a truly unique sound, consisting of Indie-Folk-Rock influences and with mature and powerful vocals. Competition winner Amber T, played us her debut single ‘Tick Tock’, which has racked up over a million views on Youtube. Proof that age is no obstacle for true talent! Up next was Molly., a singer-songwriter from Lancashire. Molly. graced us with her happy yet self-reflective sound, drawing inspiration from artists such as Sigrid and Florence & The Machine. Our final act, Joshua Lloyd, performed his debut single ‘White Flag’ live for the first time. Addressing struggles with mental health and encouraging listeners to ‘never give up hope’, the overall performance and delivery was powerful indeed…

The Great Escape Festival is hailed as the biggest UK showcase for emerging artists. We spoke to our Artist Development and Promotions Assistant here at Music Gateway, Rachael Scarsbrook, to discuss her press experience at the Great Escape, talks that she attended, and her key takeaways from it all…

Hi Rachael! In a nutshell, what does your industry role entail/ day to day tasks?

Hey! I am an Artist Development and Music Promotions Assistant at Music Gateway. My role involves supporting emerging artists from the conceptual stages at the beginning of their careers/campaigns and then helping promote those artists to streaming services, radio, online, TV etc.

Rachael Scarsbrook Music Gateway Artist development music promotions

My day to day tasks include sourcing independent curators on streaming platforms and contacting them on behalf of our artists, writing press releases for upcoming campaigns and strategising how best to deliver the campaigns.

How can participating in events such as The Great Escape be beneficial for new artists?

The Great Escape is a powerful event for new artists. It’s a whole festival attending to the needs of those dedicated to discovering new music and gives you the opportunity to grow your audience in a unique setting. I have seen a lot of first gigs from artists at TGE who have then gone on to become very successful!

There’s a good balance between new music fans who are in Brighton looking to find their next favourite artist, as well as opportunities for musicians to showcase their music in front of industry professionals. Meeting these people could really make the difference towards helping you jump to the next stage of your music career.

What did your duties consist of when you attended The Great Escape?

My duties at TGE were predominantly attending panels and networking events that I had planned prior to arrival, based upon their subject matter and speakers involved. I also spent some time scouting and checking out various bands at the festival. It’s always important to be in the know when it comes to the best new music!

I met a lot of industry professionals and artists, with the main intention being to make connections with influential individuals and broaden our professional network.

Rachael Scarsbrook talks Music Gateway at The Great Escape

What is the importance of attending these events and conferences?

From an industry perspective, these events are invaluable. A lot of the panels this year were angled towards the importance of mental health support within the industry. As someone who works closely with artists, I consider this to be one of the most important aspects when working alongside any musicians or creatives.

I have learnt a great deal about the importance of teams that surround an artist. I also learnt about the power of these relationships. There were panels surrounding gender diversity within music which is a subject very close to my heart. Needless to say, it was very empowering to be able to network with people from initiatives such as Key Change and Help Musicians UK, seeing how we can action change from the inside out.

What conferences did you attend, and what did you take away from each?

I attended conferences all over Brighton – my legs were very tired by the end of the weekend! The great thing about TGE is how diverse the subject matter of these panels were. All of them encouraged questions and discussions afterwards which were very beneficial to be involved with. It very much felt as though I was a part of TGE on a bigger scale. The access to established industry professionals was very inspiring (as I am somewhat new to this side of the industry).

What advice did you pick up on that artists could benefit from (i.e quotes, etc…)

There was a lot of advice given by experienced professionals. I think I spent a lot of time speedily typing quotes into the notes section of my phone! For the sake of time, I’ve picked five of the most memorable quotes that stayed with me…

Rachael Scarsbrook talks Music Gateway at The Great Escape

“Having value for yourself as a musician is the most important thing you have to learn & carry with you” – Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1

“Music stops. The tour always ends. But if you have other outlets, then it’s easier to be a consistent part of society and maintain a much healthier balance” – Laurie Vincent, Slaves

“50% of all new Fender players are women and that is really changing the way we approach our branding & how we connect with both artists and consumers” – Bryce Carr, Fender

“Whenever you’re starting something new, you have a tendency to doubt. It’s especially hard for young women to get over because of the narratives we experience from a young age” – Millie Turner, artist

“There’s always a moment when bigger mainstream media are going to come on board with your brand. But to get there you need to build that fan base and grow your audience” – Liz Goodwin, Glassnote Records

Finally, which performances made the biggest impressions?

I was very intrigued by Girl In Red before the festival, so I had to check her out! After watching her set I was blown away by how eloquently and confidently she owned her queer coming of age narrative. She’s an incredible guitarist and I think her talent is empowering and affirming for a lot of people.

The set by Self Esteem encompassed typical pop style and Rebecca Lucy Taylor’s humour really shone through! Lastly, a band called Buzzards Buzzards Buzzards were recommended to me by an American friend. The venue was packed to the rafters and although I could hardly see the actual band – their energy was unparalleled!

Special thanks to…

Everyone who came down to the showcase, and those who got involved and helped make mission #MGTGE19 a success!

A special thanks to The Pipeline for hosting the showcase at their venue, and also to Jake Peet for his fantastic photography!

Interested in taking part in opportunities like this? Or keen to learn more about what our Artist Development and Promotions team can do for you? Get in touch!

If you haven’t already, Sign Up to Music Gateway, and take advantage of our 14-day no-strings-attached free trial!

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