The Big Music Project Live, an event dedicated to connecting with people looking to get involved in the music industry, particularly young people, took over the Manchester Mechanics Centre on Princess Street on Saturday. Radio X presenter and proud Mancunian, Hattie Pearson, one of the industry experts offering insider advice, told Emily Oldfield why she is proud to be a spokesperson for the event in this musically-inspired city.
The Big Music Project Live is travelling through a number of UK cities, providing skills workshops, career-enhancement prospects and some amazing acts all in a one-day extravaganza.
Manchester certainly received the star treatment and the free event pulled in crowds keen to learn the latest tricks and tips in what Hattie emphasizes is a competitive and digitally diverse field.
She knows the importance of this all too well as not only a DJ, but a vlogger, artist manager and keen YouTuber (she runs the YouTube channel Matter of Sound along with fellow-speaker and friend Emily Brinnand, producer at The Gate Films).
Nowadays, it isn’t just a case of being an artist with an instrument. You have to turn your hand to technology too.
“Young people here are so in tune,” She says, giving plenty of reason why this is an opportunistic place to be in the digital age “With Manchester being a hub for music and media, there are so many more opportunities to get involved compared to the much more regimented process say 20 or 30 years ago. Events like this show music and its capacity to open up people’s lives. You can create your own path.”
Soundcloud and video are just some of the ways Hattie draws attention to as of forging progress in modern music – and not just for musicians but for anyone interested in production and wider media, too.
She urges that this is crucially connected on the streets of the city too. Her Matter of Sound videos explore the local music scene, as well as her own live nights at Albert’s Schloss.
Modern music and Manchester are well-suited and this seems clear in Hattie’s determination to stay here. She’s a graduate of the University of Manchester and although she works on a London radio station, she still broadcasts from here and lives here, too. Hence her spokesperson role at The Big Music Festival Live in her musical homeland is a little like the icing on the cake.
Why so keen to stay? I have my own reasons for my love of Manchester, but Hattie was eager to add to the musical mix, especially in comparison to London. Hence the importance of the Big Music Project Live here.
“Manchester is still so diverse, with a huge heritage and vibrant presence. People aren’t pushed out from the urban scenes here. They can get involved at a grassroots level. In London the industry seems much more brutal. Unforgiving is the right word.”
Thoughts of a sprawling city, vast venues and ruthless record labels come to mind. There’s comparative warmth here, a whole hug of it. “Manchester is welcoming”, she says.
All this was evident in the Big Music Project Live, with workshops as hands-on as presenting and producing a YouTube video (all in an hour!) and intimate talks filled with the highs and lows of being involved in music.
Did Hattie have any tips for us? With experience across the industry including the early breakfast slot on XFM, as well as winning student radio awards and working as ambassador for Girls Out Loud, she’s ready to shine a light on success.
“Think about yourself as a brand and use this to your advantage,” she told me. “Whether it’s media or music – use those tools.”
It’s certainly something to get stuck into, and following The Big Music Project Live, there’s more inspiration than ever. For more information as well as job prospects, careers advice and insider knowledge you can visit the website: www.thebigmusicproject.co.uk and find out more about Hattie here: hattiepearson.co.uk