All roads lead to creativity
I am many things but above all else I’m a creative person. My career so far has taken me around the world working with music artists, festivals, TV shows, games companies, and various tech companies. I’ve been a radio producer, presenter, music journalist, creative director, marketing strategist, songwriter and performer. I’m all of those things and more because I am a music lover at heart.
After finishing a Commercial Music degree in 2010, I started working for free at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. This lead to a full time role developing radio shows, interviewing artists, producing live streamed concerts and building an online presence for the club. After 5 years I left to join a startup social media agency to the stars, Be-Hookd Digital.
After 4 years working with A-list artists and major brands, I left to focus on my own songwriting development and other projects. I founded kids music company ITS Music as a joint venture with Sony Music UK, and I’ve been writing music for myself and others ever since.
Listening to the interviewee. Allowing flexibility and fluidity to the conversation. (You’re good at this). Many memorable interviews, music legends and famous types. One failure/learning curve was Steve Coogan. I interviewed him as if he was Alan Partridge and it didn’t go down well! A highlight was Seth Macfarlane, I prepped & stayed professional and he gave me everything & more I could ask for! [Interviews start around 19' in]
I learned so much at Be-Hookd, many mistakes, failures and successes. Above all I learned the importance of processes and organization. How to deal with clients, managing people, all of which I have taken forward into my own company.
BLiX is a new MarTech app launched in September, a Brand Permission Platform for more sincere CRM and permission based marketing.
Best part of working for yourself, freedom, flexibility, independence and being the decision maker.
Music has been a lifelong passion, my parents were in a band in the 80s and I’ve been writing and performing since I was 6 years old. Music has always been an outlet for me, a form of expression and a rush of adrenaline, nothing beats it. More than just enjoyment and social community, I’ve found music as a form of emotional therapy to work through things I’ve struggled with. In terms of helping others, I hope that if the songs I write can help me, they can also help others going through similar experiences.
Opposite ends of the spectrum.
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"My personal songwriting approach is a different process, almost a form of music therapy. My own solo music is incredibly personal and close to the bone, writing from a place of immense happiness or sadness, usually the latter! My personal music is due for release in January . Unreleased snippets can be found on Soundcloud"
"Writing music for children has been a recent development with the launch of ITS Music in 2019. I find writing songs to a brief highly enjoyable and relatively easy because there is an element of detachment. My approach to kids music is much more data driven. I look at what is trending in the kids entertainment space and in the wider world to determine relevant song themes. The music is much more written to brief; short and catchy, simple lyrics and an underlying positive message."
"I felt kids music wasn’t good enough and there were a lot of rinse repeat melodies and thoughtless lyrics. I believe kids deserve better, particularly the age range 4-8 which has been neglected for an oversaturated pre-school audience of copyright free nursery rhymes.
Our aim is to make music and content that educates & entertains children all over the world. Over 4.3M views in little over a year since we started, we’ve received lots of positive feedback from parents & teachers."
Right now, a mixture of Stockholm Syndrome and Imposter Syndrome, both as a creative and an entrepreneur! The Stockholm Syndrome is definitely a result of the lockdown, I’ve never experience agoraphobia before, I’ve always enjoyed socialising and meeting new people. Recently I spent 3 nights away from home and I couldn’t wait to get back home, even though I’ve spent 90% of this year at home! The imposter syndrome has always been there. I think all people feel a sense of imposter syndrome at some point in life.
As an artist I’m constantly battling the voice in my head that says I’m not good enough. During my career to date there have been many times that I have stepped outside of my comfort zone and pushed the boundaries of my ability. I’ve learned that if you can push through the negative thoughts, follow your gut instinct, seize opportunities and learn from your mistakes, you always end up in a better place. Taking those learnings into my new solo project, I’m hoping my patience will pay off for having taken my time to go solo.
As a human I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. At first there was a strange sense of
excitement, it felt a bit like a movie. As an omnivert I enjoyed the introverted part of me, time to
reflect and create. I went into a state of depression and anxiety after the death of George Floyd
and the resulting Black Lives Matters movement. I spent a lot of time educating myself, supporting
causes, and channelling my emotions into music.
As a creative, I’ve written and produced my first solo EP that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the
lockdown. It’s taken years of experience and confidence building to get to this point but I finally
have the knowledge and network required to make a go of it. I’ve always channelled my energy
into group projects, some to great success, going it alone is now a scary yet freeing feeling.
ITS Music has also grown considerably during the pandemic. We have been reactive in our
approach since before the lockdown with songs about mental health, inclusivity and diversity. From
the start of lockdown we have released songs ‘Wash Your Hands’, ‘Be Kind’, and further songs
about fruit, vegetables and exercise, ever more important messages for kids to understand.
I couldn’t credit one person alone, there are a few who come to mind.
My mother has been a constant supporter of all my musical endeavours, and now my business partner with children music company ITS Music!
My wife is my rock and my daily anchor, the brains behind all of my business decisions.
I can’t ignore my best friend George, we’ve helped each other grow in so many ways. He has managed bands I’ve been in, we’ve built a company together, and he respected me when I was ready to move on and start something new. We still have lots more to achieve together!
I’m fascinated by new technology like VR/AR/AI, but I’ve never been that phased by what tech I use to create. I have a fairly minimal setup for creative and work. I have an old Macbook Pro and iPhone I use for work and personal use. My notes app is where all my ideas start. I often find myself writing lyrics early in the morning when I first wake up.
When it comes to music I have a minimal home studio setup consisting of a couple of keyboards (practice Yamaha stage grand, AKAI USB controller and an AKAI mini for travelling), a Bluebird microphone, audio interface and standalone display. I use Logic X for audio production, Creative Cloud, Keynote and Pages for all the rest. I’ve been “with Apple” for so long, I’m comfortable with the ecosystem and the annual complaining about updates, but from a creative standpoint it still feels like the most effective setup.
I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media. It has been a huge part of my working life. I feel lucky that it didn’t exist when I was growing up, but having been a part of its growth into the booming industry that it is now, I have seen ample opportunities to grow, learn, innovate and explore. For better AND for worse, social media has fundamentally changed the way we live. mental health, anxiety and cyberbullying have all been brought to our attention as a result of the misuse and overuse of social media, something I think we have all had to learn from experience. In future social media should come with a warning akin to smoking/drinking “browse responsibly”.
I use Instagram (@SilasArmstrong & @ITSmusicKids) and Twitter for business & personal use (@SymphonySilas). Twitter for news, Instagram for promotion, whether it’s promoting my company ITS Music and growing our audience, or posting a highlight of my weekend. I post a lot less than I used to, I always post more when I’m doing something exciting or exclusive, on holiday etc, or when we have a new ITS Music release to promote. I also run social media for various clients which means I use social media on a daily basis. Because of this I try and limits my personal use and spend less time scrolling, though that is easier said than done!