What is your role at Secretly Group and how long have you been in the position for?

I’m label manager for the three labels that make up Secretly GroupDead Oceans, Jagjaguwar & Secretly Canadian – for Germany & Austria since September 2017.

Tell us a bit about your role, what does your day-to-day entail, what artists do you work with/have worked with?

It’s a lot of thinking “this is exactly what I thought working in music would look like” – so doing emails, calls, looking at spreadsheets, haha. But also listening to music a LOT, finding out why our artists do what they do and how we can transport that best, thinking about how to best push our artist’s releases over here in context of an international campaign, putting together the best suitable team to look after promo in the market, discussing marketing campaigns with our distribution partner, touring plans with local promoters and constantly updating everyone involved about what’s happening this side of the planet as well as in other parts. Come to think of it it’s a very wide-ranging mix of short and longterm tasks that evolve around communicating a lot.

My favourite part is clearly having our artists over for promo or shows where you get a way better understanding of the thought process behind everything. I always draw inspiration from that and see potential new aspects I might haven’t thought about before.

Last year’s releases I’ve worked on are Sharon Van Etten, Jamila Woods, Cherry Glazerr, Shura, Bleached, Angel Olsen, Stella Donnelly, Faye Webster, Alex Lahey, Better Oblivion Community Center, Bon Iver, Durand Jones & The Indications, Strand Of Oaks, Kevin Morby, Foxygen, Black Mountain, Alex Cameron and Whitney.

This year I’m excited about Phoebe Bridgers, Khruangbin, Skullcrusher, Le Ren, Fenne Lily, Bright Eyes and there’s more to come.

What is it about music and your role that drives you?

I feel like there is no way to answer this without sounding cheesy, but music has been moving me since I can think. I’ve always connected deeply to it, because people were able to express things and feelings I wouldn’t know how to. It helped get through puberty in a small town where you feel like you can’t relate to too many people around you. Finding new music still makes my day, it effects my mood, it empowers me and helps me get through things, it’s the first I turn to in the morning and a lot of the time the last thing I think about when going to sleep. 

I’m sadly too bad at playing instruments myself and lack a great singing voice, so it’s making me enormously happy to help support people who can actually do that. 

I said this will be cheesy – sorry!

…don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s the music industry, not rocket science! Humour helps to dismantle even the toughest appearing person.

Have you got any advice for people wanting to start a career in the industry? What professional achievement are you most proud of?

My advice would be to pick someone’s brain within the industry how to best start in person, work your ass off, even when the entry jobs might include boring things like packing promos or adding contacts to a database, go to shows and so-called networking events even if you’re afraid of the idea of the latter, try to get on the map of people by reaching out directly and don’t be afraid to try out different routes to find out what you actually want to do. 

“Proudest moment” … I think getting this current job meant a lot, because I am getting to work with bands that I have been a fan of personally for years. I draw a lot from what might seem like small achievements to others, too – so every sold out show, every order of more records than we were initially expecting to ship, every great media piece makes me happy for them.

Oh and shaking Patti Smith’s hand without fainting was a pretty big deal once. 

Who has been your biggest champion/s along the way?

I’m incredibly lucky to have had champions at almost every station I’ve been working at that were music-related: from Desiree Vach at my first internship in Berlin who helped me to be more confident and to put myself out there a lot more, to my incredible former colleagues at verstärker: Sven Städtler, from whom I’ve picked up the love for a precise interview request and detailed itinerary and Raphael Schmidt who taught me to offer your colleagues help as a default setting and who all 100% supported my decision to apply for Secretly Group – including my boss at that time, Carsten Stricker, who’s always encouraged me to leave my comfort zone. 

I have to mention Colin Lovrinovic, whom I used to run a record label with besides our day jobs, too, as he’s the master of pep talks when your doubting yourself.

At Secretly I’m lucky to have a great team of people who I can openly discuss issues with or ask for advice or even just get a quick affirmation. Working alone I really value a second opinion on things. My friends outside of work are the greatest & endlessly supportive, too. I feel very lucky.

What do you think is the biggest threat to artists or industry and what would you do to change it?

I think an important topic we should not sidestep on is mental health and addiction on both the artist’s as well as the industry side. It’s extreme working hours, a rollercoaster of adrenaline moments vs sitting in a smelly car (or office for that matter) for endless hours, working a lot while sometimes not knowing when you’ll get the next paycheck or earning next to nothing.

There are extremely social moments vs feeling alone in a room full of people or needing to go out or perform or do interviews when all you want is sit at home and stare at a wall. Also keeping up relationships while being on the road or travelling a lot, healthy eating and drinking routines and managing to not treat your body like a garbage can can be extremely tough sometimes.

I’m hoping for more awareness on these matters and sensitive people on all sides who don’t only support you burning yourself out, but also offer help and encourage off time. 

Are there any failure or fuck-up moments that you learnt a lot from?

Every single one. 

I think an important topic we should not sidestep on is mental health and addiction on both the artist’s as well as the industry side

What advice would you give to your younger self, say 5-10 years?

Be less shy, don’t be afraid to ask things you don’t know and it’s 100% ok to just be yourself. In my experience people actually value a personal over a small talk conversation. 

Also don’t take yourself too seriously – it’s the music industry, not rocket science! Humour helps to dismantle even the toughest appearing person. 

And don’t take any sexist bullshit and be brave enough to point it out for yourself, but also for others.

Best gig of last year?

Surf Curse at Urban Spree.

Top 3 Artists to watch in 2020?
What is your go-to Karaoke song?  

I honestly suck and hatehatehate performing at Karaoke myself. When I’m forced it will always be a very boring self-aware version of “Dreams” from Fleetwood Mac and believe me you do not want to see that.