Project Description

Interview with 

Publicity Manager: ANNA FITZGERALD

(TMRW MUSIC) 

Interviewer: Jemma Bird

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Anna Fitzgerald

Anna with Peking Duk Before Walking the Red Carpet at the ARIA Awards in 2015

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In the past, AMNplify has spoken to an array of incredible artists that bring us our favourite music, play our favourite shows and headline our favourite festivals.  All of this wouldn’t be possible without the copious amounts of work that goes on behind the scenes.

Amnplify Interviewer Jemma Bird loves the chance to speak to some of the hardest working individuals we know and gain a BIRD’S EYE VIEW of what their role in the industry is really like.

Anna Fitzgerald was awarded Publicist of the Year at the 2018 Industry Observer Awards earlier this month. Her continuous hard work and loveable personality has previously landed her roles in publicity at the industry’s biggest companies, including Warner Music, Sony Music and Channel Seven. Check our chat with the incredible Anna below where we discuss her current role as Publicity Manager and Group Promotions at TMRW Music as well as working with Peking Duk and PNAU.

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What made you pursue a career in Publicity?

Music has always been my biggest passion and hobby. I started going to gigs when I was about 12 or 13. However I have no musical talent myself, so being a publicist means I get to be surrounded by amazingly creative people. I feel very lucky and privileged to have my dream job.

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How did you come to work at TMRW Music?

I studied Media & Communications at university and at the same time I worked part time at the music retailer HMV which I absolutely loved. After uni I worked at a couple of PR agencies but did not like the agency side. I knew I wanted to do music PR and had to persevere to get my foot in the door. My first full time role in the music industry was as the PA to Fifa Riccobono, an amazing woman who was the CEO of Alberts Music. From there I moved to Warner Music and became National Publicist. I then moved to Sony Music where I was National Publicity Manager. I then worked in the publicity department at Channel Seven, but missed working in music. The job as Group Promotions & Publicity Manager at TMRW Music (formerly Ministry of Sound) came up five years ago and I’ve been here ever since!

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As a Publicity Manager, what does your job actually entail?

In my current role a lot of my time is spent servicing our new releases to radio. I have weekly meetings with all the main radio networks including Hit, Nova, ARN, triple j and FBi, and I also deal with the music directors for all the major networks who are based interstate. I also service our videos to TV programs and stations like Rage, MTV and [V]. I write and distribute press releases for new releases and tours and pitch phone interviews, email Q&A’s, face-to- face interviews and guest mixes to national media including radio, TV, press and online. I also do artist relations for local and international artists and put together on-ground schedules when artists are touring Australia for shows and festivals or a promotional tour. I also pitch bigger opportunities like TV performances or a triple j’s Like A Version. Basically I am the in-between person between the media and the artist.

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Anna Fitzgerald

Anna Speaking at the Electronic Music Conference

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Has this evolved much since you first started working as a publicist?

It’s evolved a lot and continues to evolve every day! When I started working as a publicist, I sent out press releases via fax! And we would mail out hard copy CDs to media for reviews and have long lead times to set up interviews. Now everything moves at a much faster pace and we don’t
get as much lead time to set up a release. There is a huge emphasis on streaming these days which wasn’t around when I first started. And I need to have a much more international focus these days and build relationships with media outlets from all across the world, particularly all
the music blogs.

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How do publicists come to work with artists? Through the record label? Management? The artists themselves?

In my role it mostly comes through the label. The artists are signed by the A&R department, then the marketing team works on the timeline for the release. Although I do get artists and managers hitting me up directly also.

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You’ve previously worked for Sony Music, Channel Seven, Warner Music and now TMRW Music (formerly Ministry of Sound). Has your role as a publicist varied much between
companies?

When I worked at a major label I was a part of a much bigger team and company, so there were individual people who look after online media, radio, TV, newspapers, magazine, artist relations, etc, as well as promo managers in each state. Now I’m at an independent label I look after all national media and artist relations myself. We also have two agencies (Poster Child & Soapbox) so I help out with tour publicity also. I’ve predominantly worked in music my entire career, but it was good to get experience in TV publicity when I was at Channel 7.

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Anna Fitzgerald

Presenting PNAU with a Plaque For Double Platinum Sales

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How important is it to find the right publicist? Do all publicists pretty much do the same thing or specialise in areas of expertise?

There’s definitely publicists who specialise in different genres of music so find someone who is passionate about the music you make. Some publicists might focus on online and print media, while others offer radio and TV servicing too. It’s also a bonus if you get along with the artist on a personal level as you can spend so much time working with them. I feel lucky that I now count a lot of the artists I work with as good friends.

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Working in the music industry is not your typical 9-5 job. How do you go about balancing your career and personal life?

It can be very hard! In the past I was out five nights a week, which combined with early starts taking artists to breakfast radio or TV meant I was not getting enough sleep. I now value my health above everything else and make sure I find time to exercise every day. It’s hard to switch off when you’re on call 24/7, but I’ve got out of the habit of checking emails in the middle of the nights (mostly). And I now pick and choose the gigs and events I go to. You can’t say yes to everything!

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What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Gosh, it’s hard to choose one! Just recently I was named Publicist of the Year at the inaugural Industry Observer Awards which was a lovely accolade to receive. I absolutely loved working with Peking Duk early on in their career and helping deliver their first radio hits and multi-platinum records. I love those boys to bits and they made my job a joy. I’ve also loved working with PNAU over the past couple of years and seeing them win an ARIA Award last year. And really the biggest highlight has been making some amazing friends, both artists and people I have worked with at labels or in the media. A lot of my best friends are people I’ve met working in the industry.

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Anna Fitzgerald

Anna with Slash at Soundwave Festival

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What has been your biggest career blunder and how did you deal with/ overcome that?

Hmmm I try not to focus on the negatives so it’s probably something I’ve pushed to the back of my mind! Things can always go wrong or artists can cancel promo or tours at the last minute. You just have to try to remain calm and become good at problem solving.

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What’s something that people would be surprised to know about your job?

It’s not always glamorous! Just because we often have to stay out late doesn’t mean we get to start work late! Also, artists aren’t always the confident people you see on stage. A lot of them can be quiet/introverted and sensitive.

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What advice would you give to someone who wanted your gig?

Get as much work experience as possible! I did lots of volunteer work/internships when I was younger until I got my foot in the door. And don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. It was my role as a PA that got me into the industry full time.

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What’s your favourite part about your job?

I get to talk about music all day! And I get to go to incredible gigs and festivals on a regular basis. It can be easy to forget how lucky we are to do what we do.

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Anna Fitzgerald

Anna with Peking Duk and Crew at Stereosonic 

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10 Questions with Anna Fitzgerald

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What is your favourite swear word?

There’s too many to choose from!

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What was the last musical thing you did or created?

 I just edited PNAU’s bio for an award they were nominated for.

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What was the last thing that made you feel “uber” proud?

I just read this morning that PNAU’s single ‘Go Bang’ is Top 10 on the Billboard Dance Charts. I think it’s really exciting that they are making waves in the US.

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What was the last thing that you really regretted?

Oh that’s a hard one. Probably not getting enough sleep – I’m a bad sleeper.

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What period of your life would you like to relive?

I’m actually pretty happy and content right now but if I had to pick one moment it would have to be any time I am holidaying in New York. New York is one of my favourite cities in the world so I would happily relive that.

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What period would you not like to relive?

Probably straight after university, trying to find the right job. I wasn’t really happy in the jobs that I had and when you know exactly what you want to do it can be hard to keep motivated. There’s always a lot of setbacks and rejection and it can be really hard to persevere without getting down.

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What is one subject you think people take too seriously?

Oh gosh. I was going to say music but that’s obviously super important. Sometimes i feel like saying ‘we aren’t saving lives here’ because some people treat it like a life or death situation when something goes wrong. It will always pass and we aren’t brain surgeons!

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What quote do you find yourself always going to most?

I don’t really use quotes very often. Actually, my friend Quincy used to say ‘it is what it is’ all the time and it used to really annoy me. I have found myself saying it now!

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What is the one thing you would take a bullet for?

My niece and nephew definitely. I love them so much.

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What makes you cry and why?

I think as I have gotten older I cry more easily. This is going to sound ridiculous but I cried watching a reality TV show the other day when someone finished a marathon. I am definitely more emotional now that I am older.

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If your life was to follow the plot of any movie, which movie would you choose?

Ooh that’s a hard one. I actually grew up watching lots of old musicals and my mum would sometimes call me ‘Calamity Jane’ so I would pick that one. She’s a cowgirl haha.

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BIRD’S EYE VIEW

My name is Jemma Bird. As a reviewer and interviewer, I want to place some light or focus on a different part of the music machine. Everyone focuses on the artist, and rightly so, but most of the time, nothing would happen unless the people behind the scenes get the job done. So my feature ‘Bird’s Eye View’ will be doing just that. I want to talk to the people who make the music industry tick. Experienced or just starting out, heavy hitters or even the people who get the coffee. Without publicists, artist and tour managers, booking agents, merchandise managers, personal assistants, sound technicians, stage managers and many others the music industry just simply wouldn’t exist. Our mission is to create honest, informative and entertaining pieces, revealing stories from people whose stories aren’t usually shared.

Want to be featured here on Bird’s Eye View? You can be. All you have to do is contact me here, at Amnplify – [email protected]. I want to break new ground, something Amnplify has been doing for years now. Let’s break it together.

AMNPLIFY – JB