Making it in Melbourne

Former Gizzy girl helps international stars improve presence in Australasia.

Former Gizzy girl helps international stars improve presence in Australasia.

MELBOURNE MUSE: By night, former Gisborne Girls’ High School student Stevi Hill plays her way around the Melbourne music scene. By day she helps international acts such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and City And Colour reach Australian audiences, in her work with record label Cooking Vinyl Australia. Picture supplied

Four years ago Gisborne girl Stevi Hill was finishing off her music degree in Auckland. Now she is part of a team helping international superstars like Marilyn Manson and Billy Bragg improve their presence in Australasia.

A former Gisborne Girls’ High School student, Hill moved to Melbourne in 2013, after finishing her music degree at the University of Auckland.

“I moved over with one of my best friends because we wanted a change after uni and it was known for being a cool, creative city,” says the 23-year-old.

She worked with music distribution label Xelon Entertainment for two-and-a-half years, before starting work at Cooking Vinyl Australia (CVA), a branch of UK record label Cooking Vinyl.

Hill is CVA’s public relations and marketing coordinator.

“I help to co-ordinate interviews for our artists and put together their Australian and New Zealand touring schedules,” she says.

“On the public relations side, I am responsible for sending out new music, promotional material and press releases to radio stations and media outlets.

“With marketing, I look after our social media and website and send our top releases to iTunes and Spotify each week to get featured on the homepages.”

Artists on the books include Marilyn Manson, The Smashing Pumpkins, City and Colour, The Proclaimers and Imogen Heap.

Starset one of Hill's most interesting portfolios

Having only started the job four months ago, Hill has yet to work with all of the clients, but she describes American cinematic rock band Starset as one of her most interesting portfolios.

“The frontman is a very impressive scientist and there is a whole mythology surrounding the band involving space travel, which their fans really get involved with,” she says.

“Most of their success has actually been via Youtube, with their music being featured in lots of video game highlight reels.”

The group will also feature in a full-length graphic novel made by Marvel Entertainment, the creators of X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.

Dream job, but how long will it last?

Hill describes her work with CVA as her dream job, but with an increasing number of artists releasing independently, how long will this dream job be around for?

Take Rhythm and Vines headline act Chance the Rapper for example. The American rapper just made history, being the first artist nominated for a Grammy based on a streaming-only album.

Chance relies on word-of-mouth and his Soundcloud account to distribute his work.

Hill agrees that it’s easier for artists to record and release independently today, but points out that the open market is a double-edged sword.

“It’s easier now for artists to record and release music themselves, but as a result there is so much music available and it is really hard to stand out,” she says.

“There is still a need for record labels to provide that extra support to push the music out to media and help the artist break through.”

Hill is the one who helps emerging artists get that break.

“I’m not sure if major labels will still be around in 10 years, but the independent labels are growing,” she says.

“I think musicians will continue to take the do-it-yourself approach and choose to work with an independent label like CVA, where they still have creative freedom but extra support too.”

Hill should know. She is one of those musicians, hoping to release music in Australia in the future.

“At the moment my own music is separate (from my work with CVA),” she says.

“I think being a musician does help with the creative side of my job and I’m definitely picking up a lot of skills and making connections.”

Alongside her job, Hill runs a weekly open mic night.

“I have been writing bits and pieces but not too much this year . . . the open mic night ensures I play every week,” she says.

“The music scene here is incredible. Every night of the week there are gigs of every genre happening. The weekly gig guide is the size of a newspaper.”

Despite Melbourne’s raging music scene, Hill says Gisborne was the best place to hone her musical skills.

“Gisborne Girls’ High School was the most musically-encouraging environment I could have wished for, thanks to Head of Visual and Performing Arts, Jane Egan.”

Four years ago Gisborne girl Stevi Hill was finishing off her music degree in Auckland. Now she is part of a team helping international superstars like Marilyn Manson and Billy Bragg improve their presence in Australasia.

A former Gisborne Girls’ High School student, Hill moved to Melbourne in 2013, after finishing her music degree at the University of Auckland.

“I moved over with one of my best friends because we wanted a change after uni and it was known for being a cool, creative city,” says the 23-year-old.

She worked with music distribution label Xelon Entertainment for two-and-a-half years, before starting work at Cooking Vinyl Australia (CVA), a branch of UK record label Cooking Vinyl.

Hill is CVA’s public relations and marketing coordinator.

“I help to co-ordinate interviews for our artists and put together their Australian and New Zealand touring schedules,” she says.

“On the public relations side, I am responsible for sending out new music, promotional material and press releases to radio stations and media outlets.

“With marketing, I look after our social media and website and send our top releases to iTunes and Spotify each week to get featured on the homepages.”

Artists on the books include Marilyn Manson, The Smashing Pumpkins, City and Colour, The Proclaimers and Imogen Heap.

Starset one of Hill's most interesting portfolios

Having only started the job four months ago, Hill has yet to work with all of the clients, but she describes American cinematic rock band Starset as one of her most interesting portfolios.

“The frontman is a very impressive scientist and there is a whole mythology surrounding the band involving space travel, which their fans really get involved with,” she says.

“Most of their success has actually been via Youtube, with their music being featured in lots of video game highlight reels.”

The group will also feature in a full-length graphic novel made by Marvel Entertainment, the creators of X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.

Dream job, but how long will it last?

Hill describes her work with CVA as her dream job, but with an increasing number of artists releasing independently, how long will this dream job be around for?

Take Rhythm and Vines headline act Chance the Rapper for example. The American rapper just made history, being the first artist nominated for a Grammy based on a streaming-only album.

Chance relies on word-of-mouth and his Soundcloud account to distribute his work.

Hill agrees that it’s easier for artists to record and release independently today, but points out that the open market is a double-edged sword.

“It’s easier now for artists to record and release music themselves, but as a result there is so much music available and it is really hard to stand out,” she says.

“There is still a need for record labels to provide that extra support to push the music out to media and help the artist break through.”

Hill is the one who helps emerging artists get that break.

“I’m not sure if major labels will still be around in 10 years, but the independent labels are growing,” she says.

“I think musicians will continue to take the do-it-yourself approach and choose to work with an independent label like CVA, where they still have creative freedom but extra support too.”

Hill should know. She is one of those musicians, hoping to release music in Australia in the future.

“At the moment my own music is separate (from my work with CVA),” she says.

“I think being a musician does help with the creative side of my job and I’m definitely picking up a lot of skills and making connections.”

Alongside her job, Hill runs a weekly open mic night.

“I have been writing bits and pieces but not too much this year . . . the open mic night ensures I play every week,” she says.

“The music scene here is incredible. Every night of the week there are gigs of every genre happening. The weekly gig guide is the size of a newspaper.”

Despite Melbourne’s raging music scene, Hill says Gisborne was the best place to hone her musical skills.

“Gisborne Girls’ High School was the most musically-encouraging environment I could have wished for, thanks to Head of Visual and Performing Arts, Jane Egan.”

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