Mike Morriss, music industry professional, writes about his journey into the music industry and his experience of the Tonic Rider courses.
Ever since primary school, I’ve always wanted to work in the music industry. I had lessons on a number of instruments, from recorder to guitar, to keyboard and steel drums.
I stuck with the drums and joined several orchestras playing percussion throughout secondary school. My proudest moment was when I performed at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Surrey.
My favourite genres at school were Garage and R&B, and in 2003 I went to Malia, Crete to work in a bar because I loved the music and party scene.
When I returned to the UK, I got a job at a print factory, but my desire to work in the music industry remained. So, when I broke my ankle playing football, I used my period of recovery to turn misfortune into opportunity by taking a Bookkeeping & Accounts course.
This new skill gave me the opportunity to apply for an accountancy position at an independent record label as an intern in 2008. Whilst there, I learnt so much about the music industry and gained further qualifications.
Fairfield Halls, Croydon
Fast forward to 2016, and I was recruited to another label. I was headhunted for the position before it was advertised, which was a great confidence boost as it meant I must have made an impression during my time as an intern.
I have travelled all over the UK and Europe since 2016 and I really enjoy the live music scene – experiencing the reaction and appreciation of the crowd is inspiring – but I have also seen the antics that take place backstage.
In the music industry, performers usually have a ‘rider’ – a set of requests or demands that a performer gives as criteria for performance. The amount of alcohol that is consumed, just because it is available, raised my curiosity. Riders almost always include requests for alcohol. It’s a well-established part of the live music scene, and yet it can fuel an unhealthy lifestyle, as well as alcohol dependency.
During the pandemic, Tony Momrelle – who I work for – released a charity single called Best Is Yet To Come, with all proceeds donated to Tonic. I wanted to learn how to help others, so fundraising for a cause I believed in was a great place to start.
I began volunteering at a local radio station – Burgess Hill Radio – and I also volunteered for my church with their production for the worship band. I wanted to give back my time whilst I was on furlough.
Tony Momrelle – Best Is Yet To Come
Good mental health is very important to me. I have seen friends and family suffer through the years, and I know how many people keep difficult thoughts and emotions to themselves.
I have always been someone who asks how others are, but I would often try to takeover when they have an issue, or I would suggest ways to make things better. I had to learn to listen and not try to fix everything. Listening is often the most valuable support you can give.
I have attended all of the Tonic Rider courses and they helped me realise that, before I can help others, I first need to take care of my own mental health and wellbeing. By being the best version of myself, I am better placed to support other people.
I really enjoyed the courses – they were well presented and easy to follow – and I would recommend them to everyone.
Burgess Hill Radio