Jamie Ford – Graduate Story

As a Southampton local, Jamie has always been involved in the creativity this city has produced over the years.  It’s always easy to not feel in the right place when you first move to a new city, a new university and a new creative environment, but it was no issue for Jamie as he was already involved in the local scene with his band at the time and the fact that he already knew that Southampton had creative courses at colleges and universities.

After studying media at college he wanted to combine his two favourite things, media and music and that is when his story at Solent starts.

Even though Jamie focused on his studies he ended up becoming the manager for his band, booking the gigs and reaching out to journalists and take what he was learning on his music promotion course and apply it to a real-world situation, which is what our music courses are all about! 

Credit – Jamie Ford

Following up from managing his own band, he ended up gaining an internship at Music Gateway as a Social Media and Promotion Assistant, where he learned another way of helping out bands.  After four months of doing that he gained an internship at Wichita Recordings, which was 1-2 days a week in London, which was a different type of environment he was used to but learned so much by being at that record label and gained knowledge he wouldn’t have if he had just stayed in lectures.  Because, what’s a chilled university life?

The internship he gained at the independent record label wasn’t actually a position that was advertised, he just emailed time and time again until they offered him the internship, he just loved the record label so much that he felt he had to work there and it paid off.

Following on from that, Jamie looked more locally for music opportunities and looked to The Joiners and as he kept doing the role of assisting the main promoter he was able to see what he liked and what he didn’t like when it comes to working in music. 

To do all of this whilst studying his something that students need to take notes of as it’s all good knowing you need to focus on your studies, but experience is what the industry is obsessed with and demand you have as much as humanly possible.  

It’s why Jamie got himself so involved with the music community in Southampton because he found like-minded people.  Whether it was promoters, managers or journalists, everyone shows that they are passionate about what they do, but most importantly everyone sticks together because they all know the struggles of being in this industry so everyone is welcome.

“The important thing is to not take anything personally”

Even though Jamie was local he had heard that Solent had so many different creative courses but was so undecided about university that he left it fourteen days before the deadline to apply for Solent. 

In a guest lecture he recently had at Solent, he mentioned that he noticed other universities were so focused on academic reputation and statistics, but he noticed that Solent was vibrant and filled with opportunities.

In this lecture he also spoke about how tough this industry has been, whether that was because people were not buying records anymore as streaming music was becoming more and more popular or that was because labels stopped offering advances to their artists for touring as the budget was no longer there.  He also mentioned that it’s getting more and more difficult to get people to come to live shows anymore, especially in the Netflix era that we’re currently in and that younger people have less money these days. 

Jamie has also pointed out that die hard gig-goers are still going to gigs and spending their money in the venues to help out the local scene so it’s not all doom and gloom.  But he also pointed out to keep being nice to people and not let your reputation go down whilst you’re trying to be in this industry as word spreads quickly. 

When giving advice to students he mentioned that the most important thing is to not take it all personally if things don’t go your way or when you’re let down because there are opportunities in the music industry at the moment, whether that is from jobs or for the industry to bounce back by seeing streaming and digital as a positive by using insight and data to keep ahead of the game.

“Why not a record label in Southampton?”

When asked about Honeymooner, his record label/promotion company, he mentioned that location doesn’t matter when it comes to what he does.  He loves music and if loves the music that bands put out, he will happily release bands all over the world.  Why not a record label in Southampton?

To which, he has a point! Southampton has an amazing music scene that can be expanded and Jamie worked within venues like The Joiners and The 1865 after graduating but even during university Southampton was always a part of Jamie’s music life as he actually wanted to create Honeymooner in his final year, but didn’t want to force it for a grade.

“Be nice to people, be resilient and persistent”

The thing about Honeymooner that Jamie has always been passionate about has been the live shows and being able to show the talent out there.  It’s why when speaking to students in his guest lecture at Solent he said to students about how you need to be nice to people, be resilient and keep persisting because you may have to do things yourself, but it will pay off.  Follow what you’re passionate about as that way it will never get boring.