Samantha Holderness

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Samantha Holderness

Music Publicist, Founder of Encore Artists, London and Paris

Samantha is from London, UK, she works in London and Paris, France.
Twitter: @encore_artists
Facebook: EncoreArtists
Photo © Olly Lambert

  • How did you get started in PR and how did you find yourself where you are now?

I always knew that I wanted to work in the music industry and so managed to get a ‘foot in the door’ job as a Personal Assistant at EMI Music after university. In loving music, languages and people, it’s not surprising I gravitated towards PR and an opportunity soon came up in that department, handling PR across EMI’s many record labels, from classical to pop. They were great times! When EMI folded I took a year out to do a post-graduate diploma in classical piano but found myself missing the industry. So I returned and worked for classical music PR agency, Albion Media, before founding Encore Artists in 2014.

  • What does your agency specialize in and what is your role?

Music PR, representing solo artists (predominantly), conductors, orchestras, record labels, festivals etc. My clients all live in different countries but need media relations across Europe –mainly in the UK and France - as well as international profile strategy and social media. It’s a holistic approach to communication and image closely in line with their artistic activities. While I work mostly in classical music, I tend to represent artists who take a vivid and fresh approach to performing, programming or collaborating, or who are blurring the boundaries of music genres.

  • What are you currently working on? 

Autumn is a super busy time of year in terms of album releases and concerts, and I’m currently working on publicity for the remarkable Barbara Hannigan’s album and tour as (simultaneous!) soprano and conductor; Kate Lindsey’s gorgeous opera meets jazz album with Baptiste Trotignon; cool German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott’s London dates as well as her design and brand partnerships; multi-faceted Icelandic pianist Vikingur Olafsson’s concerts and festivals; and the inspirational Bryce Dessner’s work as classical composer…as well as lots of other exciting things looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

  • What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?

I’m proud of all my successes, but it’s really thrilling to represent an artist who goes from being relatively unknown to being widely in-demand once people realise how great they are. I feel honoured to work for such dynamic and fascinating artists who are utterly committed and passionate, pushing the boundaries and working on such rich projects.

  • What is most important in your work?

Integrity is crucial and applies to every aspect of work, in particular doing everything I can to best represent each artist, and only represent artists and projects I totally believe in (something essential for a boutique agency). Yes passion, commitment and stamina are a given, but having empathy for both sides is essential: understanding what an artist needs, while understanding what’s going to work from a journalist’s perspective.

  • How would you say the media landscape in your field has changed since you started in PR?

Hugely - due to digital. We’ve seen a democratisation of the media in that we’re not just dealing with ‘professional’ journalists anymore. Overall we have experienced cuts in arts coverage in the traditional sense, however opportunities to reach people in broader yet more targeted ways, such as through social media, have exploded. People will always love music, so we have to find the best and most sincere way to reach them.

  • Where are your favorite places for business meetings or drinks with writers/clients?

If it’s not pre or post concert drinks near the venue, then I would say The Wolseley in London, or Le Fumoir or Le Nemours in Paris.

  • PR/Communications can be fast-paced and stressful, what is your favorite way of relaxing?

Well in my work the lines are blurred, particularly as we go to so many concerts for work. As they say, work is social life; social life is work! Yet if there was no pleasure in that I’d be in the wrong job! I also wouldn’t be without yoga, salsa, playing the piano, going out dancing with friends, and…Narco’s!

  • What are you reading these days?

The latest French thriller by Guillaume Musso plus Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera.

  • What are you listening to on repeat these days? 

I listen to music all day every day, whether live or recorded…. and am lucky to go to concerts all in the name of work. It’s really my life. I often listen to the French radio station FIP while I work. I’m not at all a music snob and am open to almost everything. I’m currently obsessed by the Teodor Currentzis/Patricia Kopatchinskaja Tchaikovsky violin concerto recording from a couple of years ago as well as the Panama! recordings of Latin music from Central America in the satisfy my weakness for a Latin beat!

  • What is the next event you're the most looking forward to in the next months?

Singer-conductor Barbara Hannigan’s Crazy Girl Crazy tour; new music from the amazing Bryce Dessner; new opera Miranda at Paris’s Opéra Comique; Frieze Art Fair in London and the new Wayne McGregor ballet opening in London.


Ariane Oiticica

Fatima Jones