Victory N-Ekeoma Interviews Artist Manager Jessica Murphy On Breaking Into Music Industry

Can you introduce yourself, and how you got into the music industry?

“My name is Jessica Murphy, I’m 31, I’m Dublin born & bred and moved to London 8 years ago. I started in the music industry when I was 17 running club nights with my friend, Tash, which evolved into my friend, Shane, and I DJing hip hop events and helping to organise them too, so I was always into promotion and organising events. When I moved to London, I started working at The Curtain where I joined the music programming team and helped curate some events. I then decided to go freelance because I wanted to push myself a bit further. I started to put events on and got into management – I manage 3 DJs (MaxxSho, Halfports, and Yemisul). I also set up Label VIII with my friend, Tom, which is a music consultancy agency where we put new artists onto platforms i.e. getting them onto Spotify playlists, getting them shows, brand partnerships, etc. I also study Clinical Psychology! “

Have you experienced any setbacks or challenges in your profession?

“Yes, a major setback is the challenge to keep motivated. There’s loads of different times where you’ll feel like throwing in the towel, especially with being freelance and having to be self-motivated. So much of what I do is based on working with emerging artists, so I feel inspired by helping them, and when it work outs, it gives me a push to keep going. Its oftentimes when you’re about to give up that you’ll either meet an incredible person that wants to collaborate, or you’ll get some amazing feedback about something.”

What’s one of your proudest achievements so far?

“I’m going to say two. Firstly, it was having the DJs I manage (MaxxSho and Halfports) DJ at the Skepta Afterparty in Dublin. They got to fly home to Ireland and DJ at an event like that in Dublin and just seeing how delighted they were was amazing, I was like, “I made that happen!.

Secondly, it was working under the most amazing woman in the industry, Belle Wade. I helped her organize The Curtain’s 1st birthday party. We had Octavian and Shy FX play in the club and Kelela play on the roof. I got to invite and meet all these inspirational women that I look up to, so I was proud of myself and Belle for being the boss women for such a huge event.

Unwanted male attention and men taking advantage of their power are massive challenges women in the music industry face, how has your experience with that been? Do you have any advice on dealing with this challenge?

As much as I’d like to say I haven’t experienced any of this, sadly I have. I do think it’s changing as the years go by. My advice is to make sure you stand up for yourself, know your worth, and if you’re involved in a project, make sure you remind yourself you’re involved because of your quality of work and nothing else. Take pride in your work and that will shine through. Find a group of women, or a person, you can discuss any issues you have, they’ll also check you straight away. There’s amazing networks of women out there, such as London-based group, Freelance Queens, which are incredible.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

“My mother hands down. She is the most amazing human being. I sadly lost my dad a couple of years ago and seeing my mam continue with the strength she has is so inspiring. I know my dad is proud of my mam for being the warrior she is and inspiring my brother and I with her gorgeous heart.

For women looking to break into the music industry as musicians, DJs, managers etc, what 3 tips would you give them?

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First, before you start anything in the industry, write a list, literally with a pen and paper, of all your best friends. When your networking, it’s very easy to get linked with a lot of amazing people, but don’t lose sight of your own best friends. They’re the people that will ground you and humble you. People get lost in the sauce.

Second, don’t compare yourself to anybody else. Your personality, your look, your aim, they’re all different to everybody. If you compare yourself to others in the industry, you’re going to fall flat. You need to honour your craft and be really proud of yourself.

Lastly, find a mentor. Aim for someone who has more experience. Belle Wade is mine, she’s shown me millions of things I’d never have had a clue about. Find yourself a Belle.”

Find Jess on Instagram at @pearlapples / @jm_mgmt

Interviewed by Victory N-Ekeoma — @v.n.e

Photography by Ade Lipede — @vis.steez

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