What is your role at Morse Code and how long have you been in it for?
Morse Code is my own little company. I like to think of myself as Junior Vice President, even though I’m pretty much a one man band. I primarily offer PR, marketing and social media services. I started it back in 2012 just as a side business, whilst I was still working at Sunset Events/Spinning Top, but I’m just coming into my second year of full time operation.
What is the biggest misconception about PR?
I think outside our beloved industry, there’s a perception that it’s a pretty cushy job where you swan about at events and sip mojitos. When really it takes long hours, strategic planning, thinking on your feet and the ability to multitask like crazy.
Describe a normal day in the life of Janelle Morse
As most people in this industry would relate, there isn’t really a normal day. As I work on multiple projects simultaneously, there are meetings, interviews and working on the run with the phone glued to my hand. On a slightly quieter day, I actually get to work from my office, so it’s wake up, check emails, shower, emails, walk to work whilst emailing, then coffee and then crack on with the day. Then hopefully some form of socializing and/or gig in the evening, then emails, a bit of sleep, then repeat!
How did you get your start in the music industry? Did you choose to work in music or did it choose you?
I think it chose me – it’s in the blood. My mum is a piano teacher, so my sister and I both started playing when we were very young. Then it was violin, flute, oboe and more recently, singing in a few bands around town. My parents are retired now, but run a community choir for seniors in the little town that they live in. It’s a bit cute. I’m always singing – generally a live blog about what I’m doing through the magic of song. “Drinking my coffee, writing this presser, yeahhh yeahhh yeahhhh”. I imagine it’s quite annoying.
As for actually getting started, aside from playing music, I think it spawned from an intense passion for attending gigs and festivals. I lived in London for a few years and worked on some pretty great music projects there. When I came back, a position at Sunset Events came up so I jumped in. I actually got the Marketing role there and then in the first week, suddenly I was the publicist as well, but I’d never written a press release in my life!
Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the industry?
It’s all about gaining experience. What you learn in a practical setting will be far more beneficial than what you’ll read in a text book. Volunteering and/or putting your hands up for an internship is the perfect way to gain experience and make contacts. If you do a good job, you’ll make a great impression and often leads to paid work. (A quick shout out to my lovely intern, Jenny, who is a legend!)
Also, you need to really really love it.
What issues/potential issues do you think the current Australian music industry face?
I think one of the challenges that is prevalent at the moment is availability of venues. It’s definitely a talking point here in Perth. There’s a wealth of hugely talented bands and artists here, and the fan base who want to consume them, yet venues keep closing.
This ties in with another issue regarding the way music is consumed and how musicians generate income. Downloading, streaming… It’s an ever-changing beast and requires a lot of flexibility and adaption. In an ideal world, it would be great if more funds could be allocated to nurturing all forms of artistic talent so artists could make more of a living from their craft.
On the flip side, I think the Australian music industry is absolutely killing it at the moment. So much great music is coming out of our country – we’re unstoppable.
What tips would you give an artist trying to succeed in Australia? Is there a certain route they should take?
Be passionate and determined. Make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before you start pushing your wares. And make sure those wares are great – it’s your selling point, so make sure it’s as excellent as can be. Set achievable goals and utilise the knowledge of those around you who can help.
What does 2015 hold for you? Any exciting things that you can tell us about?
It’s been a pretty full on year so far. San Cisco’s Gracetown album release has been keeping me busy. I’m also working on a few GTM shows as well as State of the Art Festival (SOTA), which was just announced recently. I am attempting to focus on my own business development, but it always gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list!
Top 3 Artists to watch in 2015?
What advice would you give your 18yo self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Actually that advice still applies… Hmmm.
What has been one of the biggest challenges/adversity you’ve had to overcome and how did you do this?
I’ve found going out on my own and building a business quite the challenge – it’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m learning about fun things like GST and insurance and cash flow. Actually, I’m quite enjoying it and it’s made me work harder, but smarter.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Can I have three? “Go Your Own Way”, Fleetwood Mac, En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go” and Toto’s “Africa”.