Dream Jobs: Niki Roberton of IAMSOUND Records

July 10, 2014

Everyone has a dream job. Whether it’s the editor of Vogue, a studio boss or a professional blogger, we all know what we want career-wise, but we’re not really sure how to get it. In our new interview series, we speak to people in enviable positions, to get their advice on what it takes to make it in the professional (and creative) worlds.

Niki Roberton is one of the coolest girls we know. Originally from London but now based in LA, she is a co-founder of hot independent record label IAMSOUND Records, which focuses on discovering and developing new musical talent. From Banks and Bleeding Knees Club to Charli XCX and IO Echo, the label's artist roster reads like a who’s who of the most buzzed about bands. If that wasn’t enough, she also released the first single from the platinum-selling artist Florence and the Machine

We sat down with Niki to find out what it takes to make it in the male-dominated music industry, and the best piece of career advice she’s ever been given.

1. How did you get to where you are today? What was your career path?

I used to be a music video director signed to Partizan (world-renowned production company) and would go and look for new bands myself to see if I could direct their videos. I found a lot of them didn’t have a record deal - let alone money for a video - which in turn inspired me to start a record label. 

 2. What do you love most about your job?

How everyday there are new challenges, whether it’s from the label, management, branding, or creative directing for new artists. There are always 100 different things to do, and a lot of my job is about keeping up with trends and finding out about new things.

 3. What’s a typical day like for you?

I don’t really have a typical day, I head out to meetings a lot and sometimes won’t be at the office for a few days.  

IAMSOUND Records artists, Kate Boy (left) and Banks (right). 

4. What do you think is the biggest misconception about working in your industry?

That labels only care about making money and are the bad guys!  Record labels can be very creative, artist-friendly and on the side of the artist. 

5. What is your biggest accomplishment?

To date it really just has to be moving to the US and starting the label which I run now with Paul Tao. I'm also really proud and excited about our branding company which Anh Do helps run. 

6. You’ve got a busy schedule, how do you stay organized?

I’m constantly writing things down.  I buy loads of Muji notebooks, and go through about one a month. It helps me keep up with ideas and things I’ve discussed in meetings or on calls.  

Florence and the Machine, an IAMSOUND artist.

7. What skills do you need to make it in the music industry? 

I think the music industry, like many entertainment jobs, is something that you don’t really need to go to college for. I know many successful people in the industry who don’t even have a high school diploma! It’s all about real world experience and knowing how to communicate with people.

8. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

One of the best tips I was given by my dad is to follow your gut and stay true in what you believe in. That’s definitely something that I’ve tried to do with the label and the artists we have signed. 

9. What advice would you give someone looking to set up their own music label?

Be very picky about the music you release, because no matter how hard you work or what happens, people will judge you on the quality of music you put out. If you can’t see yourself buying the music you release, how do you expect everyone else to? 

10. What are you looking forward to in the future? Any exciting new projects we should keep our eye out for?

We’ve just signed two new artists and our other artists are in the studio so by the end of the year we will have loads of new and exciting things happening! 

IAM SOUND artists IO Echo. All images courtesy of IAMSOUND Records

Follow IAMSOUND Records on Twitter for the latest news and exciting releases: @iamsoundrecords


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