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Becoming A Music Journalist

Sami MarshallI’ve always been attracted to the written word. From a very young age, I enjoyed reading and, as I got older, I started getting into writing. In high school, I was highly involved in resurrecting the school newspaper. I even held a high-ranking position at a newspaper in my hometown for a few years once out of high school.

But when I was about 16 or 17, I started getting really into music. I could barely function without listening to some kind of music. I would hear new bands or new songs by the bands I already loved, and I would have to tell someone about them. Luckily, I had friends and family who were willing to listen to some pretty lengthy conversations about people they had never heard of. Apparently my conversations weren’t too boring, because I got some of my friends to listen to these bands I was freaking out over. They even started going to shows with me, as well. Once shows were introduced to me, I had a brand new subject to talk peoples’ ears off with.

Towards the end of my high school career, I started to realize that I knew what I was talking about when I came to music. I felt like I was able to grasp a deeper meaning than what was just on the surface. I would catch subtle parts of a song that would drive it to greatness. Music started meaning something to me, and I would develop a connection with whatever I was listening to. I figured that since I was able to talk about the complexities of a song and what made certain music great, what was stopping me from writing it down?

Around the age of 19 or 20, I was pretty active on Tumblr, and I saw it as the perfect platform for me to get my thoughts out. So I started a blog completely dedicated to my love of music. I didn’t do a lot on there, but I would compile posts about albums I thought everyone should be listening to, or artists/bands that were releasing new music. I even remember doing a complete album review of one of the Punk Goes… albums. I wasn’t getting much traffic on that site, but that didn’t stop me from writing.

I didn’t see my career going anywhere until I was 22. I had this overwhelming epiphany of what I truly wanted to do in my life, and I knew I had to fight to get what I wanted. I started going to various bands’ websites and I would send emails to publicists and managers telling them my ambitions, and if there was anything they could do to help me with building up a portfolio. There were a lot of people that I never heard back from, but I did have a few responses. I also started contacting bands directly on Facebook and Twitter. If I could get my name out there, I knew someone would notice me.

Then things just started clicking. I would have bands contact me on social media saying they saw a review I put up on Tumblr, and they would want me to review their stuff. Then that band would refer me to another, and they would approach me in the same way. I was finally getting noticed.

But it wasn’t until I met a band called Stages & Stereos that everything changed. I found a group of guys that ended up embracing me and making me a part of their little family. I wrote a review of one of their albums and they loved it. Whenever I’d see them at a show, they would let me hear new music. Then it turned into them sending me new music to review. They were the first people in the industry to give me chance and have complete faith in my talents.

The music industry is a very difficult industry to break out in. It takes a lot of hard work, regardless of what field you’re aiming for. There are also a lot of people who are going to criticize your goals, and that is the most difficult part of the pursuit. I recently had a conversation with Cody Carson (lead singer of Set It Off) about this very subject. He said that any career that you have to make happen for yourself is tough. People are going to have a hard time supporting it because it may seem way too far-fetched to them. But instead of letting that tear you down, use it to fight harder.

If you believe that you are talented enough to make your dreams come true, then go for it. I will never regret the struggles that I have had with this career, because all the success I have had has made it worth it. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I have made so many new friends, and met some of the coolest bands doing what I love. It truly only takes one person, or a small group of people, to believe in you, and to help get you to where you need to be. If you can prove your talents and work hard, you will get what you want, and you will be respected. While the written word may be a dying medium, that shouldn’t stop you if it’s what you’re passionate about.

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Managing Editor of this lovely magazine! Music is my passion & I aim to make people love it as much as I do. I love concerts, cats, & quoting song lyrics on social media.

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