Member Spotlight #12: Harriet Moss Global Creative Manager at Manners McDade and London Director at shesaid.so

It’s difficult to find the right words to describe the monumental impact Harriet had on our community since joining the London team as its Director. Her outstanding work goes hand in hand with her [com]passion, resulting in more meaningful connections and projects that carry our flag into 2018. We are lucky to have someone as exceptional as Harriet who can so effortlessly orchestrate all the ideas and energy coming from bringing such brilliant ladies together under one global sisterhood. For this we thank you, Harriet, and here’s to more challenges conquered in the new year. /AM

By: Manveer Matharu

shesaid.so: What lead you to a career in the music industry?

Harriet Moss: An absolute obsession with music — not the most compelling of answers, but music is fundamentally what we’re all here for. I don’t remember a time in life where I wasn’t making or listening to music in some way. Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours is that you can be an expert in your field after 10,000 hours of practicing something — and I could have only done this with music (certainly NOT sport before my twenties) — with orchestra rehearsals, music lessons, operas, musicals, band rehearsals, gigs, raves, performances, you name it. I went to music college for a year before University as well, and that was crazy fun — playing pop, soul, funk, rock and jazz full-time 5 days a week. I then did an English degree for 3 years, so my naive way of looking at life aged 20 was to combine English and Music: I thought I might be able to go into PR, knock a few press releases together and use my knowledge of music to help along the way.

Classical music has always been a huge part of my life, so it was great to start my career in this genre and watch the newest wave of neo/indie/contemporary/alternative classical music thrive over this period too — it’s my absolute passion.

ssso: Your role as Global Creative Manager at the London-based independent music publisher Manners McDade was a newly created one! Could you talk about your position and what it’s like to fulfill a position that was created for you?

HM: I really, really love my job. We ended up creating a position that meant I could look after all Creative aspects of Manners McDade that I was working on: Sync primarily, PR, marketing, A&R, social media — and for all territories. The real USP to Manners McDade is our independence and flexibility and this is what happens with our positions too — we’re flexible to be ultimately creative and take on what works best for our artists, and for the company as a whole and we all work together and support each other in that. This was my first job in the publishing industry, so it was great to learn about that when I joined and I think it’s an exciting part of the industry to be in — particularly as we specialise in classical, ambient and electronic music. It’s a really brilliant time for all our artists.
My favourite part is the travel, which is a lot of flying (and therefore a lot of planting trees with my dad each summer for my sins) and that lifestyle is so exhilarating, as well as such a breadth of brilliant people to work with worldwide.

ssso: You’re our fearless leader in London! What has shesaid.so meant for you? Do you have any ssso stories or interactions that have shaped you or your career?

HM: Wow — shesaid.so means the world, it’s such a precious part of my life. I’ve made so many friends, had some beautiful interactions and met countless brilliant women. What means the most though, is how many times we hear that the network has changed women’s lives and careers for the better, as a support system or a forum for current issues, or a place to share job opportunities. (My own little sister spotted a job on the network, went for it, got it and moved to Berlin!) It really feels like we’re all here for each other and want to change the industry together.
I’m super proud of all the events, partnerships and projects we pull together and endlessly grateful for all the time that the London team dedicate to the network here. Just this year we went to Bestival, curated a panel, interviewed artists backstage and danced in the mud; we supported and presented the ‘Rising Star’ at the Women in Music Awards; partnered on a series on music & tech with Geek Girl; and celebrated our 3rd birthday sponsored by Levis. And lots lots more. And launched a mentorship scheme, she.grows!

ssso: Yes! Speaking of she.grows… you, along with Holly Manners, are one of the co-founders of she.grows. Can you tell us how that project is going and how it came about?

HM: It’s very exciting! We launched last month, and are in our second month of this first programme. It’s been really rewarding at every stage — I can’t believe how many women signed up, and how well all our pairs are getting on.

We’re running this first 4 month programme just out of London, with 23 pairs of mentors and mentees. They’re women from right across the industry, in almost every area of business. We support them with materials such as a handbook for each participant, and with Holly and I as Mentorship Officers should they need us, as well as an event each month on a variety of topics.

It isn’t strictly that mentors are older and more experienced and mentees are younger and new to the business, it’s such a breadth of experience all the way across the pairs, and it was about putting them together in a way that could create a great relationship for the both of them.

We had a fabulous committee for the selection process, they made it such a joy, we just knew it was right with most of the pairs and they had to be together.

ssso: Could you talk about the overarching goals of the she.grows project?

HM: We launched the scheme for a number of reasons, and we really wanted to foster and grow the sisterhood within the shesaid.so community. When you look at the statistics of the industry, men and women enter at the same rate early on, but with a drop to about a 70/30 split around the ages of mid-thirties. We’d love to provide great mentors for women throughout their careers so there’s a support system in place for that time when the drop off happens; and there’s so many great, successful and inspiring women in the industry, we want to show these as the brilliant role models that they are!

By doing this, we also hope to inspire young women to continue joining the industry. We found that the mentees often wanted someone to turn to for advice, and see as a role model for themselves.

ssso: Who do you consider as a mentor in your life?

HM: Without a doubt Catherine Manners, who I am so lucky to work for every day. I met her whilst working on the PR campaign for Max Richter’s Vivaldi Recomposed album in 2012, when she was managing Max — I just thought she was brilliant, and had such a great way of working and ethos. We worked together on a few more projects, including Nils Frahm’s SHEETS in 2014, and later that year I came to Manners McDade to work directly under her — a dream come true.

I’ve never seen a better company with a better work life balance and way of looking at life in general, and in this Mr. McDade must be mentioned, he is the ultimate work-life (or life-work) guru. I have some great friends, mentors and role models in the industry who I can turn to for advice at any time too, the brilliant Andreea of shesaidso of course, Ele Hill at UK Music is a star, Rachel Menzies, Corinne Eady, Emily Richardson — this industry is rife with wonderful women who are there to support you through. My big sister, my Mum and Dad (who is also a Careers coach and expert life advice-giver)!

ssso: You come from a PR background, continuing to touch that world in your current position, how have you seen music PR change since your first position within that field?

Manners McDade Creative Services team

HM: In many ways it’s become a more all-encompassing world — everything can impact on the traditional promotion of an artist, particularly playlisting on Spotify, Deezer etc. We launched Manners McDade Creative Services this year, which I work on with the awesome Juste Survilaite, and that is very much a wide service for our artists: traditional PR, targeting online blogs, pitching for sync placements worldwide, consultancy on their ‘branding’ and any marketing for shows or releases, showcases and meetings, and sometimes social media strategy suggestions if the artist isn’t that comfortable with it.

ssso: How do you successfully network? What are your go-to strategies for effectively meeting people, making connections and having them last?

HM: Letting your personality out straight away, so people have something to remember you by (good or bad!), and remembering something about your first meeting to refer back to in an email or next meeting. Asking around the industry for contacts and intros is always a good start too, and repay the favour as well — create your own network as you go!

ssso: What does good leadership look like?

HM: Empowerment.

ssso: What personal lesson have you learned in the past year?

HB: To let stuff go. Whether it’s actually taking the weekend off, not worrying about everything all the time, not letting anyone’s bad day ruin yours, giving projects time and space. And enjoying every damn day.

ssso: You were an extra in the movie Gangs of New York?!

HM: Haha! Yes, when I was 12 they were shooting in Rome where I lived, and came to school to cast for the orphans choir. It was the most insane week, we went to a studio to record the music, and then shot on set for a day. We turned up for the first take and Scorsese sent us back as we weren’t dirty enough, so we went back to hair and makeup for more honey in our hair and mud (paint) on our faces. So much fun! Cameron Diaz was really lovely and came to say hi, Leo was a bit too busy smoking outside. It was a great experience and such an interesting insight into how a film is made.

ssso: What’s something you’ve recently discovered?

HM: Running! I have a running-obsessed family and boyfriend. But I always stood on the sidelines clutching my asthma inhaler as an excuse not to join them. I started running a few years ago and have definitely caught the bug. I recently discovered that half-marathons are my favourite race distance and can’t go a week without a few runs. It’s so good for clearing your head, putting the world to rights with my boyfriend and great for me to shake off my excess energy. Two of my best friends (and first friends and mentors in the industry) Tania & Victoria are often my running buddies so I love the social aspect too, and loved the NYC half-marathon this year with my big sister Charlotte.

ssso: What else should we know about you or what you’re currently working on?

HM: I’m really excited to be presenting the new Classical show on Soho Radio at the moment: Soho Classical. It’s been really nice to curate every show and get back into a lot of repertoire that I haven’t listened to for a while, as well as introducing loads of new artists and performers who I am a massive fan of. I’m learning a lot too, we had a studio performance and my first ever live interview on last month’s show, which was brilliant fun. You can hear it 9–10am on a Wednesday morning once a month!

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