As our team sat down through the early days of this project, we continued to wrack our brains for anybody that we felt displayed the spirit we were looking to highlight within this segment. So many names came to mind and we created a list. Every day, that list grew and we began arranging names in order of importance to us. Repeatedly, we came back to Amy Sciarretto, impressed and amazed at every interaction and chance we’ve had to work with her during the history of THP.
From writing for local publications to now running her own successful PR company, Sciarretto is a force to be reckoned with. We couldn’t wait to sit down with her this week and discuss everything that goes into her daily life as she navigates all the tasks of the Principal and Founder of Atom Splitter PR. With an impressive roster that ranges from Fearless Records and Music for Nations to Fredo Disco and Grayscale to Within Temptation and Alice Cooper, Amy’s 15+ years in the rock industry and her fierce dedication are only part of what we find mind-blowing about her.
Join us below for our third exclusive interview of Behind the Band as we talk through the early moments of Amy’s career and
We’re looking to highlight the driving force behind bands and the final product that fans and consumers of music experience, which begins with recognizing the hard-working individuals who make up the behind-the-scenes team. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what made you want to work in the music industry?
I basically grew up watching MTV (when they actually played videos!) and wanting to be the person announcing the videos and interviewing the bands. When I started writing for music mag[azine]s in high school and college, which allowed me to interview the bands, I realized I wanted to also be the person behind the scenes, connecting the dots, with the clipboard and the headset, getting everyone in their right place. I was always fascinated by the people backstage! Not the people who were hanging out with bands, but the people who were putting the whole shebang together, so to speak! And that applied to bands, shows, albums, promotion, etc.
So many careers in this industry stemmed from watching MTV, we love that! How did you get started within the music industry; what did your first steps look like?
I somewhat answered it above. I started out writing about bands for local music mags. And it just spiraled from there. One mag led to another to another and another. I also ran my college radio station and was the music editor of the school paper. I made contacts and got opportunities from there. While all my friends were partying, I was going to concerts, meeting bands, interviewing them, and getting into shows that I would normally pay for free. But I had to work to get on those guest lists by doing reviews, interviews, etc. in [a] timely and immediate fashion. I got a job at CMJ right out of college and then worked at Roadrunner Records for over a decade.
It’s truly impressive the way you’ve completely manifested your dreams into reality. What does your typical day look like? Can you give us a quick rundown of your responsibilities and things you need to accomplish before you turn in for the night?
I run my own [business] so I work 20-hour days since I have clients and partners in Europe and on the West Coast. So it requires me to be accessible and available across the board. I am great at time management, so it works for me. I get up at 5, check email, shower, walk my English bulldog, Higgins, do a quick exercise, and sit down to start firing off emails and processing requests, putting out fires, dealing with whatever is on the docket for the day. That’s everything from pitching to processing requests to allocating duties amongst and with my team, writing press releases, securing press, securing premieres, chasing interviews, and whatever else pops up during the day that I didn’t plan for. The job requires me to always think on my feet.
“Love what you do. Fuck the rest.”
It sounds very busy and demanding, but rewarding. Without publicists, what do you think the music industry would look like and how do you think bands would make up for the lack of what you do?
Bands, restaurants, actors, porn stars, books, authors, directors, executives, you name it, needs publicity. Publicity is not about empaling the media and setting up photo passes and interviews. Publicity is ONE branch of many branches of the public relations tree. Public relations includes interviews, reviews, photoshoots, declining press, creating marketing plans, creating strategy, curating, shepherding, and protecting an artist’s image, cleaning up messes, dealing with crises, fixing problems, media training, messaging, and more. Clips and coverage is just ONE branch of a VERY big tree. That’s why when people lament how media is changing, it does not phase me. Because public relations (again, publicity is PART of public relations) is all about strategizing. You can run an entire strategy campaign that does not involve a single interview.
I don’t think most people truly realize how much goes into PR and that’s why we love this entire segment. It’s amazing to shed light on how much you do. Outside of your official job title and description, what are some other things you’ve branded out and started doing for the bands you work with?
We handle crisis PR, messaging, imaging, and so much more! We also work really hard to find looks outside of the music press and in the lifestyle realm. If a famous person does or says something that requires damage control, we can also come to the rescue and help address and correct things, and minimize fallout. We can also build campaigns around lifestyle streams or awards shows.
What is a position, outside of your own, in the music industry that you’d love to branch out to but haven’t yet?
Hmmm… I always dreamed about doing A&R [Artists and Repertoire].
What is the craziest or hardest thing you’ve had to take on?
I would say the hardest thing I’ve ever had to navigate is the death of an artist. It requires lots of sensitivity and can involve lots of correcting facts in media coverage. It can also be tough because you have to deal with your own emotions of losing someone you work with and care about.
“The job requires me to always think on my feet.”
Is there a standout moment since you began this journey that proves to you how necessary and important your position is?
All of the above… generally speaking. But I see the fruits of our efforts and labor every day. In the clip. In the fans who tell bands they hear about them through a feature or a review, or even just discussing with a band how to navigate drama, and giving them advice, and creating a press plan with an artist and manager, and then executing it.
What is the best piece of advice you can offer to someone looking to get into the music industry?
Know it’s not a job. It’s a lifestyle. And to quote Little Miss Sunshine,
Finally, as we’ve said, bands create ripples of all sizes and we’re truly fascinated by it. However, we all know they couldn’t do it alone and we’ve loved focusing on you and how you’ve impacted the experience of consumers and fans of music. Can you shoutout two or three people who are also part of the behind-the-scenes that you think deserve more recognition?
Too many to mention! Some people who directly mentored me are Jamie Roberts and Dan Forman, and Bram Teitelman. They taught me about all the stuff you can’t learn in the classroom about this stuff.
Do you know someone in the industry who deserves recognition and you think would like to chat with us? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Behind the Band” or send us a tweet @TheHoneyPop!
Interested in finding out more about what happens Behind the Band? You can check out our entire segment here!
Internal Article Images: Courtesy of Amy Sciarretto
Featured Image Source: Andreea Farcas for TheHoneyPOP.com