In our last post we had the opportunity to share Caroline of New West Records’ story, so today we wanted to introduce you to the kind and talented Leigh Rixey, who helps run an imprint of New West Records, the small Athens-based label Strolling Bones Records as Marketing Manager. Leigh handles digital marketing and project manages all parts of their releases from production, artwork, and accounting, to digital strategy, and more.
Strolling Bones is an artist-oriented label born of a simple, but powerful, desire – to create an environment for artists to grow. Rooted in the famously-fertile soils of Athens, Georgia (the label name itself comes from a Squalls song title), Strolling Bones is a passionate new adventure. Their website states: “You won’t find one given sound here, instead the label’s throughline is grounded in the pursuit of unique voices and visions. We’re excited for what’s to come, and excited to have you along for the ride”.
When she isn’t at work, Leigh is taking voice lessons, going to see live shows, hanging with friends, and biking.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I’ve always, always loved music. Growing up I played a variety of instruments but predominantly focused on vocal training. When I got to college at UGA (University of Georgia), I was amazed by this little quirky, eclectic, and lively college town that has some seriously awesome music history. I spent most of my free time in school attending shows at the Georgia Theatre or the 40 Watt. I was also apart of the UGA Music Business (MBUS) program which I believe is what really set me up for success.
Through the MBUS program, I was able to get an internship with New West Records in town where I worked in the mailroom and learned about the label side of the music business. I was hooked. I decided then that I had to be in this industry one day. After a few more industry internships and graduation, I moved to Atlanta to work for a tech-start up where I gained a ton of awesome marketing skills. Finding my way into the industry never left the back of my mind though. Throughout my time at this job, I was also volunteering for Women in Music Atlanta, The Recording Academy, and other music-oriented organizations to try to get my foot in the door.
Finally, a good friend who was working at New West when I was an intern reached out letting me know that they were looking for someone to help with marketing and operations for a new label they were starting up. I didn’t even need to think about it twice before I said yes to an interview.
What is a day in the life like?
A little bit of everything… and I really mean a little bit of everything. I’m the only full time employee who works for Strolling Bones so I have the opportunity to run all digital marketing while also being sure that all of our releases are on track regarding press, production, artwork, accounting, digital strategy, and more. And I’m lucky enough to have the good folks of New West to help me with all of these tasks and teach me the ropes.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
I think the coolest thing I’ve gotten to do in my job so far was help to put on a showcase at this year’s SXSW.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job has been the learning curve. Coming from the tech world, I really had and still have so much to learn when it comes to the music business but because of this, I’m never bored! I also get to learn from the folks at New West who are pros in their dedicated fields and when I was in the tech industry trying to make my way in, I would’ve killed for just 10 minutes of their time. Now I get to learn from them constantly and I feel really fortunate.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
I know everyone says this but network, network, network.
Constantly try to connect with people who are doing jobs you want to do one day and learn from them. Don’t ask them for a job necessarily, but ask if you can learn about their path that got them to where they are today and any tips they would have for someone trying to break into the industry.
Also, if you have any connections in the industry already, follow up constantly. Shoot them a text every couple of months asking if they know of any opportunities. This will keep you in the back of their mind.
Another great piece of advice I received was to offer your time and skills, for free. I volunteered for Women in Music Atlanta for a bit, as well as some other organizations and made some incredible connections. Learn from my mistakes though, don’t spread yourself too thin.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I wouldn’t call myself a collector but I do love vinyl and have quite a lot of it. Both of my parents are baby boomers so they grew up collecting some of the best records ever made (in my opinion). My dad once told me a story of him having to hide his Abbey Road record because his dad (my grandfather) couldn’t stand the Beatles (I don’t know how!!??), but we love him anyway.
That said, I grew up with music in the house… always. Especially the 70s’ classics. My dad worked from home my whole life and our basement was converted into an office for him. He had these huge speakers and would literally blast music all day. He was really into any genre of music he could find and is definitely where I got my love of music from.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I think there’s an interesting thing happening right now where vinyl is really big and so is streaming with both being used by similar audiences. It’s really cool to see younger folks gravitating towards vinyl collecting.
During this time we’re currently in, what message do you have for music and vinyl fans? How can we support you, the industry?
Buy vinyl of course! And also, support your favorite artists when you can. Attending their shows, giving them a shoutout on social media, and purchasing their merch goes a long way.
Anything else you’d like to add, if not tell me what you’re listening to:
MARO, she’s an incredible musician, lyricist, and composer.
Strolling Bones: @strollingbonesrecords