Prosthetic Records is a record label founded in 1998 that specializes in HEAVY METAL. It is based in Los Angeles, California and has worldwide distribution.
Tell us a little about yourself and your experience.
Hi there! My name is Kelly Walsh & I'm the in-house publicist for Prosthetic Records (www.prostheticrecords.com). Our current roster includes acts like Marty Friedman, Skeletonwitch, Scale the Summit, Septicflesh, Hour of Penance and many more. The company was founded in 1998 & introduced the world to acts including Lamb of God, Kylesa, Animals as Leaders, and Gojira. In addition to handling publicity, I am also in charge of the label's internship program and run all of the label's social media platforms.
What drove you to choose your career path?
Passion. I couldn't live without music and the fact that I play a role in connecting fans to new music keeps me inspired every day!
How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I had never really considered a job in the music industry, I started off going to college for Forensic Science with plans to become a Medical Examiner and also spent a year studying English Literature in London, UK. It wasn't until I won a radio contest from Buffalo, NY's 103.3 EDGE for a private listening party with Apocalyptica where I got to watch how they coordinated the event that I discovered my interest. A month later I enrolled into Musicians Institute's Music Business program and within the first few weeks I landed an internship with Century Media Records. I'm much more of a hands-on learner so I ended up dropping out of MI shortly after to focus on the internship. My hard work and dedication paid off & CM offered me an entry level position as a marketing assistant as well as putting me in charge of restructuring their internship program. After a year there, the company had budget cuts & got rid of several entry level positions, unfortunately mine was included. One of my bosses, Steve Joh (VP of A&R), told me Prosthetic were looking for a new publicist & set me up with an interview. Needless to say, I got the gig & I've been here ever since!
What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
Most of my day is spent sending emails and pitching coverage for my artists, coordinating interviews, writing and scheduling press releases and updating our social media accounts.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
I think people tend to focus on the more glamorous aspects, like getting to attend festivals and awards ceremonies, or being 'VIP', but they don't realize that when you are out at those events you're constantly in work mode. Even though we're there working and networking, it's still incredible to be a part of the experience.
What are your average work hours?
I work out of the label's offices during the week from around 8am - 6pm, give or take a few hours, but I'm constantly "on call". My phone is normally attached to my hand at all times with my inbox open and when I'm at home, half of my time online is keeping up on all the music news, blogs, and podcasts that I can. I also go out to shows during the week/weekends whenever we have bands in town as well as try to keep up with the local metal scene too!
What personal tips and shortcuts have made your job easier?
Staying organized is a huge factor. Not only do I have to keep track of my schedule but all of our artists' schedules too. That includes tour dates, phone/skype interviews with media outlets, guest lists, etc... Google Docs is my life force. World Time Buddy is also a huge help with coordinating schedules across several time zones! Make a list of what needs to be done and as soon as you get in start with the tasks that are the hardest, you'll get through the day quicker and more productive.
What do you do differently from your coworkers or peers in the same profession?
I really like exploring alternative ideas to market and spread the word about new artists/albums. For example, I found out one of Holy Grail's lead guitarists, Alex Lee, was a semi-professional yo-yo'er, so I came up with the idea to get Duncan Toys to endorse Alex and create a limited-edition Holy Grail yo-yo & tutorial video. This happened in conjunction with the release of their second album "Ride The Void", so not only did we introduce the band to a new crowd, but also a lot of the music outlets already familiar with the band picked up on the news story.
Do you have any advice for people who need to enlist your services?
I work exclusively for Prosthetic so I don't do any freelance PR work but I'm always reachable for advice/tips or just to say hi. Send me a tweet @kellyohno!
What's the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
The absolute worst part of the job is when you find yourself in a position where you care more than the artist, it's something that luckily hasn't happened often but when it does it's tough to let things go. We work in this industry because we genuinely love what we do, so when I work for a band I put 150% into that band, to not have that returned is the worst feeling. When it happens, you have to roll with it and do the best with what you are given. And what I'm sure is included on every publicists' response for this answer: sending out pitches and not getting a reply. I'd much rather get a 'No,thanks' than no reply at all.
What's the most enjoyable part of the job?
Let's see...everything?! The best feeling is when you land a big feature/premiere and seeing the band's hard work get recognition. Watching a band grow is one of the most rewarding experiences of being a publicist, it's kind of like being a proud parent.
What kind of money can one expect to make at your job?
You'll make the amount equal to the work that you put into your career no matter what job you hold and publicity is not different. Work hard and you'll be rewarded. If money's your biggest concern, get out of the music industry now! I'm not saying you can't make a decent living, it's that money shouldn't be your driving point, the music should be.
How do you move up in your field?
Work your ass off and don't give up. Constantly search for new ideas and keep up with what other tactic business industries are utilizing - you never know if you could come up with a way to make it work for you. There's always new opportunities and the industry is constantly changing - why not be the spark of change instead of following the routine?
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Get out there and network - meet everyone you can and build and maintain honest relationships. Get hands-on experience and intern at as many places as you can so that you can find out what aspects of the job you like or don't like.