A CHAT WITH MISS COX BY LOVE LEE
Twenty-one year old Cleethorpes/Grimsby girl Anique has everything going for her. Anique amassed her experience in journalism through work experience with NME magazine, Fabulous Magazine and Reveal. After graduating this year with a 2:1 BA Honours Degree in English and Journalism, she courageously chucked herself straight from small town, university life into the London Town deep end by securing herself a 12-month paid internship with the Island Records UK press department. Mercantile-minded, tenacious and passionate, it wouldn’t be silly to suggest that the future is bright for Miss Cox!
We decided to meet after work at a Starbucks to have a chat. I arrived slightly early. So of course, I have a nosey around the shops. I mean, come on. I was in Oxford Street. It would have been retail suicide not to! As soon as Anique arrived, we dove into Starbucks like two ducks diving for crumbs in a pond. A hot chocolate was definitely on the cards for us. And I’ve gotta tell ya, we got on like a house on fire….
Love: Give me a ‘typical day at the Island Records office’…
Anique: “In the morning, first thing, I’ll sort out the papers. I’ll go through the press cuttings. You know, if there’s like any sort of major reviews, previews, stuff like that. I’ll send it round the office so everyone at Island is aware of it, like: ‘Oooh look! Ben Howard has got 4 stars for his new album’ or something like that. Everyone needs to know that kind of thing. So, that’s what I would do in a morning.
I also do press mail outs. If there were a tour coming up for a band, I would send stuff out to all the regional journalists to make them aware of it. I’ll manage the budgets, paying off invoices, booking travel for the PR’s…
I would get the press updates for the label meetings twice a week. We’ve got a digital music system called ‘Play MPE’. I have to send out the music for my press team and external PR’s. So, Jessi Ware’s album was dealt ‘out of house’ with Toast Press. They were sending the album digitally, which I had to do that for them. That can be quite intense because people are constantly asking you to send things from all ends.
Another thing I do regularly is connecting phone interviews with different artists. So I did it with John Newman, Elli Ingram, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Alex Clare, Nina Nesbitt…”
Indie band Catfish and The Bottlemen were in the ‘top 10’ for their album ‘The Balcony’
Love: “I love Alex Clare.
Anique: “Do you? Yeah he’s alright. He’s really nice as well. Like, he came in the office and is just so chilled and down to earth.”
Love: “I don’t think he got enough credit for his last album….”
Anique: ”Not at all…. Not. At. All.”
Love: “Yeah I rinsed ‘The Lateness of the Hour’! I think he is generally underrated as an artist…”
Anique: “Really?! Oh, I’ll tell the team! So, the regional press… I did it for Alex Clare a little bit. But that was when I first started my internship so it was all a bit new to me. I probably didn’t try as hard as I could of because I wasn’t used to that whole kind of thing…”
Love: “You were finding your feet…”
Anique: “Yeah still learning. After Alex Clare I did regional press for a folk band called Belo Head. I’m doing it for Prides (Glaswegian ‘synthpop’ band)at the minute, as they are currently on a headline tour. So I have to contact all the different regions. Catfish, The New Basement Tapes…”
Love: “You’ve got a proper routine going on…”
Anique: “Yeah, it’s always building up! Just yesterday, my colleague said: ‘So we are doing this new thing where we’re sponsoring Dominos’s competition.’ Or something like that. I haven’t been briefed on it and it’s new to me so I don’t fully understand it. But, I’ve been requested to do the regional press for it. So there’s always something new that I’ve got to do, which is good. I’m learning so much. And it’s impressive when I think about where I was six months ago. I’ve come a long way. It’s all good doing a degree but….”
Love: “Mmm, especially in the music industry. It’s not always about doing a degree, experience is key…”
Anique: “It’s not. Yeah, I think that experience can speak louder.”
Love: “So how did you land yourself a music internship?”
Anique: “Last year, I emailed my CV directly to Universal HR just in the hope of getting some work experience basically. They rang me back and I was like: ‘OMG!’ I was panicking a bit because, you know, it’s a big thing! I kept in touch ever since and along the way, HR were helping me improve my CV and giving me tips. It then sort of got towards the end of my degree and by this point I was really aiming to get an internship. So, it got to the 1st of May, I finished my degree, and at this point I was proper keeping an eye on all the internships that were popping up. Universal HR sent my CV to Abbey Road Studios, who unfortunately turned me down. Then, I got a voicemail on the following Thursday from HR saying: ‘Hey Anique, we’ve put your CV forward to Island Records press internship, they want to interview you on Monday.”
Anique: “Yeah I was in Leicester at the time, and uni had just finished. I was supposed to be going home, I had a little part time job, which is where I was when I received the voicemail. I was like: ‘OMG, what do I do?’ I was freaking out.
So, I went for the interview on the Monday. I thought that maybe I hadn’t done enough. I spoke and obviously I must have done something right! So, then they offered me the job on the Tuesday, and they said they wanted to started on the Wednesday. So, literally, within a week, I had gone from just finishing uni and having a part time job to a full time internship at Island Records UK.”
Love: “And you only had the weekend… 3 days… to prepare for the interview…”
Anique: “It was mad. And obviously, not being from London, that was a bit mental. I had to bounce around from my uncles to my cousins to my second cousin and all sorts. I got there in the end. I was so over the moon. It’s just the best feeling in the world.
Love: “What does somewhere like Island Records look for when they look through CV’s?”
Anique: “Like I said, I had done all that work experience throughout uni with the magazines…
Love: “Yeah, that definitely would make you more desirable…”
Anique: “And I think that’s what they were impressed with, the work experience, and obviously the degree too. And, I had put stuff in about The Ultimate Seminar and another music industry event in January called ‘The Essential Music Seminar’, or something along those lines. I added stuff like that on my CV. I have two CV’s: a creative one and this one. So, I added that I had been in a music video when I was younger… (Anique chuckles)
And I have a blog. I don’t blog as much now, unfortunately. I just don’t have the time. But, when I was doing it, back in May, I had only been doing it for about two years and I had racked up something like 13 thousand views… I guess they picked up on all those little things.”
Love: “That’s pretty good…”
Anique: “Not bad not bad. I was always blogging about new music and stuff like that. It showed that I was passionate…”
Love: “Yeah it showed that you were enthusiastic, dedicated…”
Anique: “That’s what they want. They want passion. And I was always going to concerts. I am a massive gig person. So again, it shows that I’ve got a genuine passion for music. Everyone at Island sort of takes the mick out of me because I’m ‘a bit too keen’. You can never be too keen! I’ll literally go to any sort of gig and just enjoy it. You’ve got to. It’s an experience and this is all pretty new to me.
Love: “I feel that gigs always inspire me…”
Anique: “Yep, definitely.”
Love: “You’ve got 7 months left of your internship. What are you hoping to gain when it comes to an end? What’s your game plan?”
Anique: “I’ve said to myself, December/January is when I am going to start looking ahead to the future and approaching Universal HR and saying: ‘Look I’ve got 4 months left, is there anything out there? What can I do to secure a permanent job?’ I’ve even had a little nosey to see what’s out there. Just to know how it’s looking. There’s no harm in having a look is there. And it’s also about me knowing what I want to do. I absolutely love press and studying journalism. But this is just the beginning. There’s marketing, radio promotions, there’s music management. Even considering the synced scene, which is putting music on adverts, there are all these things.
Last year, before I went to The Ultimate Seminar, I didn’t have a clue about any of this. And that’s the thing with people like you and I. We don’t fully know the departments in the music industry. Straight away I thought A&R. When I went for my interview with Island, they said anyone can do A&R. I was a bit put off. But if you want to go and scout and have a look, do it yourself then. I think that’s one of the departments where you’ve got to sort of build it up and have a bit more experience. You can’t just dive into it.
I think in January, I’m going to start having a look for something. But I need to do a bit more thorough research and just know what I want to do. I’m still a bit unsure. You don’t know until you’ve got the experience. That’s the bottom line.”
Love: “Yeah it’s great to have the freedom to try out different elements of the music industry. The Ultimate Seminar provides a great insight into particular areas.”
Anique: “Yeah definitely. I would probably happily do more work experience. Even if it was a week or two weeks; just so I could have a little bit of a taster of, for example, what radio promotions is like, just to get a bit of an insight. I would like to think that the next job I get is a permanent role and it could be like an assistant job. I don’t want to get into it and then think: ‘What am I doing here?!’
Love: “It’s not even a waste of time though. If you don’t feel that it’s for you, at least you can tick it off your list that it’s just not for you.”
Anique: “Yeah true. I just think it’s intense. I am one of those people who need security. I need to know that I’ve got a job, especially in the music industry. It’s my dream career. And, I couldn’t afford to live in London. I have no relatives here. So if I don’t get a job here, then what do you do?”
Love: “So what is your main motivation?”
Anique: “Well I am living in London at the moment because, fortunately, it’s a paid internship. It’s great.”
Love: “Hmm yeah internships are now supposed to be paid.”
Anique: “Yeah and its alright. I can live and I am getting experience. That works for me. I’ve got rent and bills to pay. I’ve still for enough to live off.”
Love: “I would be happy with a paid internship!”
Anique: “Get in there. It just shows you how competitive the music industry is because, I think one of my fellow interns I think is about 26 years old. It’s just mad because, at that age, I hope to God that I can have a permanent job at that age. Not everyone will. People will still be working to get your foot in the door. It’s so competitive and people don’t really realise that. It’s scary. That’s what daunts me. Time is ticking!
“I am very career focused, straight out of uni and I was like no messing here, I need to do it. And I think that’s what helps me, the fact that I am very motivated, I keep my eye on the prize. Failure is just not an option for me!” – Anique Cox
Anique: “Have you read a book called The Secret? I read it before my interview with Island. It’s all about positivity….
Love: “Oh wait, is it about ‘the laws of attraction’?”
Anique: “Yes! It makes you realise that you can do whatever you want. There’s a fine line between being confident and arrogant but, this just uplifts you and makes you believe that you can do it!”
Love: “It motivates you….”
Anique: “Oh God, 100%! That absolutely got me through it really. Seriously. My uncle had just had a job interview and I told him to research The Secret. He did and he actually got the job! I’m not saying it’s the answer to everything but I’m just saying that if you’re someone who doubts themselves then this is something worth reading. I have a lack of confidence and today I had a review with my colleague who is like my mentor. She said that I need to believe in myself more and stop doubting myself as much. For as long as I can remember, I have always been told to believe in myself more. I always doubt and question myself…”
Love: “I think it’s natural to doubt ones self sometimes. It’s fear. Everyone goes through that faze at some point and its about how you overcome it that really shows you what you’re made of. It’s a personal, on-going battle, but it’s not few and far between. Would you say that was one of your hurdles that you had to overcome?”
Anique: “The other thing that motivated me happened before I got my internship. I mentioned to Universal HR that I would love to get my foot in the door with any label, but, Virgin and Island were my top two. My uncle was actually signed to Island in 1998/99. He was part of a group of Producers called The Quest Project and they had a song out called Angel. So, for it to go full circle from him being signed there to me working there, that’s big.”
Love: “Your uncle must be very proud of you…”
Anique: “Oh yeah! My whole family are very proud of me. I don’t get to see them much and that’s a struggle, but they are massively proud of me. And obviously, with Island, I don’t know if you are familiar with Darcus Beese….”
Love: “Yup, I know who Darcus is…”
Anique: “That’s such a big deal for me. I cannot stress that enough. When I went to The Ultimate Seminar, he was there. His story and the fact that he started out as a tea boy and now he is like, the President! He has got such a big personality and is a lovely guy. It just makes you think that if he can do it, anyone can do it. If you’ve got that passion, that drive, determination, you can do it. That’s a big deal for me.”
Love: “Are you looking forward to The Ultimate Seminar this year?”
Anique: “Yeah! I’ve heard about a few people that are going to be there.”
Love: “What did you take away from it last year and what do you hope to learn this year?”
Anique: “Hmm, I think last year, The Ultimate Seminar made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. I came back and I remember thinking that I need to do more. I remember talking to my mum and telling her that I need to do this, that and the other. I came back backstage with one of the panellists and was talking to him about my blog and he was like: ‘Why haven’t I heard about it?’ And that 100% made me feel that I need to do something to make sure it’s out there, to make sure people know about it. I just came back knowing that the competition is tough!
I definitely learnt a lot about all the different departments and I like the fact that you can go back and have a chat with the panellists. I had a chat with Twin B. He works with Atlantic and he works at 1 Xtra. He was telling me that he quit uni and got a job straight away. That was pretty insightful. And now I work with his twin, Alex Boateng.
This year, I’ve still got a lot to learn. I feel like now I’ll be keeping my ears peeled for music management kind of stuff. Anything on that. In some ways, I might be able to relate now. I will be a bit more familiar. That will be nice for me to think and to realise how far I have actually come. It’s going to be a different experience as last year I was totally new to it…”
Love: “You’ll probably bump into more people that you know too…”
Anique: “Yeah, and you know what? That’s another thing. I remember an A&R guy at Universal called Glynn Atkins. I remember him on the panel last year. And when I first started at Island, I saw him around Universal. I said to him: ‘You were at The Ultimate Seminar weren’t you!’ And he was like: ‘Yeah!’ and ‘Ah you’re here!’
Love: “Making those connections, even through light conversations is subtle but effective.”
Anique: “Also, I remember speaking to George the Poet who is also with Island. I wanted to ask him a few questions about his manager. Now I see his manager and I have spoken to George since. I reminded him of meeting him at The Ultimate Seminar last year and thought he probably wouldn’t remember me, but he said he kind of did! So it’s nice for me to join the dots. I got in touch with Kwame because I saw him at Island offices a while ago. I couldn’t work out if it was him. I emailed him after it clicked with me. When this sort of thing happens, it proper makes me smile and it’s so rewarding.”
“People need to know. If you want to get into the music industry, you would be stupid not to go to The Ultimate Seminar. I just think It’s such valuable experience. It’s so inspiring. All those people in there… Its crazy!” – Anique Cox
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by: Love Lee | November 5, 2014 | News