Future Disrupter #1 Rachel Sellick (Scarlet River PR)
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Written by Rebecca Llewellyn
Beacons are overjoyed to shine the spotlight on Future Disrupter Rachel Sellick, founder of Welsh-based music business, Scarlet River PR. An avid country music fan, and resultingly talented music entrepreneur. Rachel has successfully established and built her company from scratch, something that is surely impressive alone. Yet alongside her career in music, Rachel is also pursuing a PhD in medicine.
Jaw-droppingly determined at whatever she sets her mind to, Rachel is aiming to prove that no ambition is out of reach, especially if you harness the right amount of passion. A focused lab scientist by day and bustling music manager by night. It is without doubt that you are wondering how Rachel is able to juggle being a music mogul with her higher education. Well, here at Beacons, we have implored the Scarlet River founder to talk us through those early steps in her career, share her secrets on music management, and to describe exactly how the two branches of her seemingly very different worlds, have entwined so well together.
Looking back over how her accomplishments paved the way to music management success. Rachel describes that utilising a plethora of transferable skills, has driven her forward in all areas of life. Interlinking overarching aspects, which she now knows to be integral to music management. Rachel explains how the ability to communicate articulately, plan logistically and organise efficiently, have all proven fundamental to sky-rocketing her capabilities. Personal qualities Rachel also attributes are the importance of being realistic, as well as truthful and trustworthy. All of which allow her to balance a PhD with successfully running a company.
With an educational background, primarily focused on science and research. Rachel established academic roots through university. Reminiscing over her earliest memories of that time, Rachel explains how she was enrolled in a master’s degree, intent on furthering her education. Yet alongside intense medical lectures and seminars, Rachel stumbled upon a close friendship group with a like minded love of country music. Unwinding in-between classes with discussions around favourite musicians, the friends bonded over shared interests outside of university. As passing conversations developed into ideas with potential. From there onwards, Rachel’s curiosity for a career in music sparked, and she soon found herself dipping her toes into a whole new industry.
Although not halting her university goals by any means, Rachel spent any free time she could muster outside of her education, organising local gigs. Whilst still remaining fully committed to her academic ambitions, Rachel became enthralled with all that music had to offer. Strategically socialising at events she helped put together, and building an expansive network through social media. Rachel found herself quickly gaining connections and the exposure that she needed to propel further. With her university background becoming the platform from which she catapulted. Newfound friendships and her own intuition ultimately guided her toward music management, as Rachel began planning festival appearances for musicians not just in the UK, but overseas also.
Originally finding her feet by becoming a music manager independently, we asked Rachel what gaps in the industry she believed were filled when she decided to establish Scarlet River PR. Discussing the highs and lows of working alone initially, Rachel shared how it was fairly common for a vast amount of tasks to be performed by outside organisations, such as PR. Not hiding from the challenges inevitably faced along the way, Rachel admitted that expenses often coupled with the assistance she required, and that meant the focus ended up shifting away from her underlying passion, which was to support the country music scene. Yearning to find her way back to offering independent country artists further opportunities and guidance in reaching their target audience at an affordable price, whilst still being able to keep her own head above water. Rachel’s courage and dedication fuelled her to create Scarlet River PR, and the company was founded at the end of 2019.
Initially set-up as an artist management company, Rachel was content to build Scarlet River PR with these objectives in mind. However, following the unprecedented chaos that COVID-19 brought during 2020. In lockdown, Rachel found herself grafting under an even more pressing urge, to retain the musicians that she remained so passionate about. This resulted in her swiftly adapting the company, to incorporate PR and release strategies, as well as their existing portfolio of artist management. Rachel has since supported numerous new artists across the UK and the US.
Recognising the importance of bridging relationships both internationally and at home in Wales. Rachel explains how Scarlet River PR would not be what it is without the support of collaborating companies and artists, such as fellow Welsh SW20 Radio whom they partner with. Working closely with those willing to give and accept help; mutual benefit has allowed Scarlet River PR to thrive, with collaboration being the key in building their success. Combine this with Wales’ rich music culture and their ability to grow awareness at a global level online, and Scarlet River PR are now able to do so much more for the musicians they manage. By moving all promotional activities onto the internet, social media has played a vital role in their engagement strategy, and the web has become the perfect space for Scarlet River PR to develop artists’ fanbases and grow traction worldwide.
However, B2B engagement and a rapidly growing social network, are not all that Rachel pens down as huge factors in creating a successful management company. Expressing how she has always enjoyed being part of a team, Rachel exclaims that running a business allows her to tap into different goals and visions. However more importantly, Rachel discloses that being part of this close-knit community, means support is always on hand when she needs it. Not shying away from the fact that music is not a magic created entirely alone, Rachel confesses that her team are absolutely crucial to the company’s development. Unafraid to admit that asking for help has been one of the most important things she has had to learn whilst working within the industry.
Being amongst those that hold such passion for music and business, has clearly been an inspiration. Proud to showcase the skills of her team, Rachel discusses how they are far more qualified than her when it comes to their own expertise and wished to personally thank her colleague Jaclyn Delnevo for helping her get to where she is, as well as Keren Morell as one of the first to welcome her into the industry and support her ambitions. Reflecting on the fact that just because she owns the company on paper, does by no means elevate her further than anyone else. Rachel’s humbleness and obvious adoration for those around her, really does shine through, as she credits working together as instrumental to the growth of her business.
If a journey into music management sounds appealing to you, then Rachel offers her advice in terms of where to begin and how to establish yourself within this ever-changing music industry. “Go for it! Jump in at the deep end. Find an artist whose music you are really passionate about and start there. Identify your strengths, but don't be afraid to identify your weaknesses. Get people onboard who can help with those weaknesses.” and her final points to take away; “You don't have to be educationally 'qualified' to qualify. You don't have to do it on your own. It won't always go the way you think it is supposed to go, but that does not mean it is wrong. Trust the process.”