Basic Info

Kali Bradford
Contributor Status:
Native AdVantage
Initial Contribution Date:

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Personal Career Headline:
Label Manager, Distiller Records

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

As Label Manager at Distiller Music Group, Kali’s role includes artist and label development, partnership management, and project management for the Group’s live session channel, Distiller TV. 

After graduating with a degree in Music Industry from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, Kali moved to New Orleans to start her career. She began as an independent manager and then was hired as the youngest Music and Talent Coordinator for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. From there, Kali moved over to London to continue her education with a Masters in Music Industry Management, from which she graduated with Distinction. During her studies, she founded her own management company and worked as Social Media Coordinator for Fierce Panda/Club Fandango. Before joining the Distiller Team, Kali continued her education further with an LLM in Entertainment Law. She currently resides in London

Native AdMission Statement (AKA Personal Brand Pitch):

Any one that works me hears the word ‘collaboration’ more times than they can count. I believe the most important thing in this climate is working together. For a long time in the music industry, it has always been people stepping on others to get to the top, but since the birth of the internet, independent music companies and professionals have needed to lean on one another to stay afloat. I believe we are better together, which is why the biggest part of my job is to create unique and beneficial partnerships for the label and our artists.

My Native AdVantage

What are your aspirations? (Personal and Business):

My biggest dream is to run a festival on a beach. I just want to bring all my favorite bands so I can sit in sun with a tropical drink in my hand, enjoying the music. Doesn’t that sound like the best thing ever?!

Biggest Success?:

By far it was bringing 6 UK bands to SXSW. Since moving to the UK I have wanted to bring one of the bands I work with over to the US and this March, I got to bring 6! It was also to a festival that I have been dreaming about since I was a kid. Just unreal!

Most Challenging Moment?:

Moving to London and leaving my life in New Orleans. I had never been to the UK before and had made an amazing life in New Orleans, but I knew I needed to make the move to further my career. New Orleans is a bit of a bubble and there is only so far someone can go, so I knew it was time for somewhere new. I absolutely HATED London for the first 6 months and missed home so incredibley bad, but in the long run it was the absolute best decision of my whole life.

What Else To Know

My Pic of the Day:
Tell Us More:

My Pic of the Day: Last year, I signed my first band to Distiller, called Cassia. This was their biggest headline gig to date and one of the proudest moments of my career. This band works unbelievably hard and this was the culmination of it all. Shameless plug – their debut album, “Replica” comes out on April 5th!

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

London is the most diverse city I have ever been to. You can walk down the street and meet people from almost any country in the world. Growing up in Massachusetts, I could have never imagined the amazing hodge podge of a group of friends I have now. Just incredible and that is all because of London!

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Definitely still sleeping!

10:00 AM Just arriving to work. I work in music, so no one is alive before 10am and that is even early for some of us.

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? There is this amazing tapas place in Kings X called Camino. It’s a nice little escape to Spain when you are a bit sick of the London weather and craziness.

7:00 PM – Usually at a gig or networking drinks of some sort.

11:00 PM Still probabaly at that gig or drinks. Late nights are definitely not unusual in my line of work.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Ha! I work in the music industry, so anything that is free!

What should everyone try at least once?

Moving to a different country. It was truly the best decision of my life. It gave me incredible perspective on home and who I am. I also gained the confidence to pursue my dreams because I could be the person I always wanted to be as no one knew me.

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the industry?

I have known I wanted to do something in music practically since birth. I started off wanting to be on Broadway, then realized there I am not competitive enough. Next was wanting to be a music teacher, then realizing I didn’t like children. So finally, I landed on music industry, as it was the only other option at my undergrad. Changing my major was the best decision of my life!

After Uni, I moved to New Orleans and independently managed a few bands while I waited tables to make ends meet. After about a year of that, I was hired as the youngest Music and Talent Coordinator for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. After a few years of that I decided I needed a change and moved to London to do my Masters in Music Industry Management.

I was convinced I was going back to New Orleans once I was done, but London stole my heart, so after I graduated, I started working as an intern for Fierce Panda Records and Club Fandango. I loved it there and learned amazing things from my bosses there, but unfortunately, they were not able to offer me a visa, so I had to move on.

That is when I found Distiller. There was an opening as label assistant. I loved the bands on the roster and felt like I could really make a difference there. One crazy year later, I became Label Manager and the rest is history!

Career advice to those in your industry?

Seems obvious, but Networking is King!!!

Starting out in the music industry can be one of the hardest parts of your entire career. It may seem like a high school with lots of tight nit groups and mean popular people. The only way to get part that terrifying from months, is to network like crazy.

Networking is the probably the most important part of the music industry. The saying “it is not what you know, but who you know” could not be more accurate when starting out in the MI. Below are a few top tips I have learned over the years to make you the best networker you can be, so you can secure the job you have always wanted.

  1. Say yes to everything. – Go to all the events offered to you. The more you are out and about the more opportunities it gives you to meet people and practice your networking. It gets much easier the more you do it!
  2. Be nice to everyone. – Never act like anyone is below you. You never know who they are or who they may know. When you meet someone treat them the same way whether they are the CEO of a company or the assistant’s assistant.
  3. Be the first to approach. – This shows confidence and initiative, which is very appealing to future employers. Employers want to know that you will be able to represent them at conferences and make the most out of your time there by not being afraid to walk up to someone and sell your company. That is how I have gotten most of my jobs in the music industry.
  4. Maintain your contacts. – It doesn’t matter who they are, keep in contact. Some of the first people I met in the industry when we were just starting out are now running very important companies and because I never lost contact with them, we can turn to each other for advice and favors now. Also, you will see the same people repeatedly at events, so it will give you more confidence if you feel you have a “crew” around.
  5. Do you research. – If there is someone you want to meet at an event, learn as much as you can about them, so when you are able to meet, you have something important to say.
  6. Do not sell yourself when first meeting someone. – The people you are talking to don’t want to know everything you have ever done in your career, especially if you are just starting out. People in more senior positions will just shut off the second they realize you are only talking to them to try to get a job. Instead, start talking to them about music. We are all in the music industry because we love music, so make a connection that way.
  7. Do not drink too much! – This one is key. While the music industry is heavily built around alcohol, do not be that person that everyone remembers for being outrageously drunk. This is a small industry and people will always remember you for that. Also, you probably won’t remember what you said to those people or what they said to you, so what use is that?
  8. Be confident. – You got this! Networking can be one of the most nerve-wracking things in the whole world, but people respond to confidence. This does not mean be cocky, though. Just know what your worth is and can portray that in a confident way.

What else to know?

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