Rhiannon Bramley, A&R coordinator at independent publisher BDi Music, has just pulled off one of her first major signings in singer-songwriter Joshua Burnside.
Before BDi, she cut her teeth at Bounce Publishing, headed up by Charlotte Church and Charlotte’s then manager, Rhiannon Morgan-Bell.
She also worked for Morgan-Bell Management, where she co-managed Kizzy Crawford, Sion Russell Jones and Paper Aeroplanes.
In 2016, Rhiannon started working for both Bucks Music Group and BDi Music as creative assistant to Sarah Liversedge, supporting Sarah’s large roster, arranging writing sessions and collating A&R information for the team.
Earlier this year, she was promoted to A&R coordinator where she now holds her own roster.
Here, we get her take on life in the publishing business and how she hones in on upcoming talent…
How did you first find your way into music publishing?
I’ve always been involved with music but my first involvement with publishing was when I started working at Bounce Publishing in Cardiff. I always knew I wanted to get started in the industry, having always played and written music, as well as studying it for a short while.
What was it about the publishing business that appealed to you most?
It’s all about the song. As a writer and songwriter, I’ve always been drawn to the way that people tell stories with music. Publishing is all about developing the songs you look after to become the best they can be. The other aspect of publishing that I loved was the way in which music can be pushed down so many different avenues to make money for the artist and to develop their career.
I started off doing a lot of pitching to sync briefs. I really enjoyed having to envisage the song you were working with in a visual capacity.
One of the best parts of the job, however, is discovering new writers and artists and having the honour of working with them.
You started off at Charlotte Church’s Bounce Publishing – what was that like?
It was a great experience. I worked in a very small team of three in a room next to Charlotte’s house, above her studio! It kicked off everything for me. I was able to dip my toe into every aspect of music publishing, from A&R to sync to copyright to royalties.
As well as Bounce, I also worked for Morgan-Bell Management, which saw me assistant manage three or four artists, giving me another level of experience, working with artists and their needs.
What did you take away from that experience?
A myriad of skills and experience in working for a small publishing company and some lifelong friends who I still work with in other capacities in my current role!
You’re currently A&R coordinator at BDi – what does your role involve?
My day-to-day involves setting up writing sessions and finding opportunities for the current roster of writers, topliners, writer/producers and artists. I work in tandem with all of our A&R team so we can work on projects together, and I’m responsible for coordinating the team’s available songs so that we get them to the right artists and outside labels. I’m also responsible for coordinating our sync team and the A&R team, so that our sync team are aware of the projects A&R is working on and what we are really excited about so that they can push it. Of course, a big part of my job is sourcing and nurturing new talent to sign to the company – the best bit!
How important is the role of A&R for publishers?
Incredibly important. I think the role of a publishing A&R is becoming more hands-on. We act as a support system to the writer and are the mouthpiece when it comes to connecting them with the right label, agent, manager and so on. As an independent, we are very involved with the creative process and the development of our writers.
How do you know when you’ve found a real talent?
For me, I have to be able to feel something – a strong emotion that will keep you thinking about it for days. It has to be something unique: they can have a range of influences but they should only sound like themselves. Personally, the songwriting has to stand out against the rest.
Do you have any tips for songwriters looking to catch the ear of a publishing A&R like yourself?
I’d say just keep working on your music and songwriting, and gig as much as possible. Be yourself, don’t try to copy what is currently hot or buzzy too much. If it’s good, it’ll be noticed. Also, get networking as much as you can. It’s all about getting your music to the right people.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’ve currently just signed the wonderful Joshua Burnside, and will be focusing on developing his career this year. I’m also continuing to work with my topliners, writers and producers, getting them into sessions or finding them opportunities. I’ve got a few exciting things in the pipeline that I hope to start working with and unveil this year.
Do you have any advice or tips for people looking to get into music publishing?
Get as much experience as possible and network as hard as you can. Eventually you’ll get your foot in the door that will then lead you to bigger and greater things.