IN DISCUSSION WITH: CAESHIA ST PAUL - PRODUCT MANAGER, MUSIC.
Caeshia St Paul - Product Manager, Music Industry
We caught up with Caeshia St Paul, who discusses music and how it’s so important to always be you.
So, let’s start with introducing what you do.
I am a Product Manager in the music industry, working with artists to develop their albums, alongside managing new compilations and playlists
Where did your love for music start?
I’ve grown up in a music-loving family - from listening to a CD at bath time as a treat, to going to church with my grandparents and singing. My dad educated me on music since the day I was born. He even made his own music tape for my Mum to give birth to and from then he’s always said I was born into music.
There was also a music artist called Aaliyah, who I looked up to from when I was about five years old. She was the coolest person I’d ever seen. I remember she used to wear baggy trousers, a crop top and a bandana and I thought she was amazing! My parents loved the fact that I looked up to her because she was a bit of a tomboy. It felt like she was a big sister that I had never met.
Sadly, she died in a plane crash when she was just 22 and I remember being devasted. My Dad drove me to a radio station that had a condolence book to sign and it was sent to her family. That was one of my early memories of music, and she still remains a big inspiration.
How did you get to where you are now?
I graduated University in 2010 with a marketing degree. I knew I wanted to work in marketing, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at the time. Initially, I secured an internship at Manchester United Football Club and I was there for four months, but I knew it wasn’t an industry I wanted to be in.
So, I wrote a list of all the brands I wanted to work for across media, radio and TV. I then secured an internship in radio within the marketing team which was amazing! I started as an intern for three months and they decided to keep me on. Whilst I was an intern, the original team of five went down to a team of two. Everyone at the time was joking that the intern (me) would be running the show and then a year later that became the case and well...here I am seven years later!
I now work on classical music primarily, but I just really enjoy music marketing overall. I love how musicians allow you to take care of their most important pieces of work.
When you look back on the past seven years, what have been your biggest learnings?
Sometimes I do look back and think - what would have happened if I changed my job every couple of years?
However, because I was given so much responsibility at the beginning I feel like I had so much autonomy, I loved owning all the albums. I got to the point where I could do my job with my eyes closed.
If I was to give any advice to others, I’d say that if you know there’s opportunity for progression, and you are happy, then stay. However, if you’re in a team where you’re not seeing any opportunities to grow, you should look to move on and with every job change you should push for more money.
I have also learnt that you should always be your authentic self. Working within the classical music genre has enabled me to learn so much about the industry, however I have always noticed that I was different to most in the room. In meetings I am more than most the only black person in the room. Even when I go to award ceremonies, I could count the amount of black people there. I believe this comes down to personal choice. However, the scene is slowly but surely changing and becoming more diverse, with the likes of Sheku, Tokyo Myers and Alexis French – we are starting to see more variety in terms of race and ethnicity. With such cultural difference there have been times where I’ve tried to ‘fit in’ a little more. This definitely is not the way to go. Always be yourself – diversity is important, and provides more ideas and viewpoints, which is always valuable in a team!
What advice would you give to anyone looking for a career in the music industry?
Getting into the music industry can be quite hard, but you just need to convince that one person to say yes and give you a chance to prove yourself. One of the easier ways in is to do an internship, you might have to work for free but that way, you have a foot in the door.
Alternatively, create your own little side hustle – look to help others release and promote music. It shows passion, commitment and is a great way to build your own portfolio on your terms.
There are also so many more independent labels out there now and a lot are actually owned by big labels – so these can be a great way to get started!
Do you have a mentor?
One of my previous managers was a great mentor. He just completely took me under his wing and I learnt a lot from him.
One thing he encouraged me to do was to be more ballsy and speak up. I remember him saying that if I think we should be rearranging a Stormzy track instead of re-recording a Beethoven Symphony -then just say it! It was all about building my confidence.
He also put me forward for awards such as Radio Academy 30 under 30 – they choose 30 young people under 30 that work in radio and I was one of them!
What keeps you inspired?
Firstly, I want to be in position that makes my family proud - my Nan tells all her friends about what I do, and I think that’s so lovely. I hope that when I have a family too, I’ll be a role model to my kids.
I am also motivated by money - I work so I can enjoy my life outside of work. My second love is travel, so I spend much of my wages on holidays! I saw a meme the other day that said:
‘if money didn’t exist, would you still change your dreams?’ I thought no I wouldn’t, if money was no object I wouldn’t work!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always be you. Don’t change for anyone.
You've been made redundant in the past. What advice would you give to someone experiencing redundancy?
The more I talk to people about redundancy, the more I’ve realised how common it is. It’s not something to be embarrassed about because it’s not about you personally, it’s just business.
I do believe that women are resilient people. Going through the process is hard, but you have to keep strong and remain as someone who sees life as a glass half full. It’s about having confidence within yourself and knowing that you’ve done a good job and that another company will see that.
It’s also a good time to reflect on your career and whether you need a career change. I was talking to a friend one lunch and she said she’s experienced it twice now! She’s absolutely loving life with a new job and even a side hustle. There’s no way that I’m not going to find a job again. Things happen at the right time for the right reasons. Some people hate change but sometimes change is what’s needed.
Tell me what’s next for Caeshia St Paul?
I hope to continue working within the music industry on bigger projects. I’d like to work with bigger budgets and high-profile pop artists – so I can create bigger impacts with my campaigns and reach a broader audience.
Then I’ll find a husband!
If you wish to get in touch with Caeshia, you can do so here!