Name Katy Samwell
Company Sterling Sound
Role Title Studio Manager
Headquarters 88 Tenth Ave, New York, NY

How did you get started in the music business?

I started as a topline writer & vocalist on the dance music scene in the late 90’s under the name Katy Allen. In that time WSM (a division of Warner Music UK) set up WSM Dance and needed a production assistant so I went in to help out and ended up working there in different job roles for 4 years. You could actually say it started earlier than that as my Great Aunt, Very Samwell, was Studio Manager at Abbey Road for 40 years, so as a child I spent a lot of time at the studio, which really got me into loving the whole process of making a record and wanting to be around places where records were being made.

How did you come to be at Sterling Sound?

It was great timing. I was thinking about moving to NY from London as I was traveling back and forth so much anyway seeing clients so when I left my last studio I started putting some feelers out. I knew and loved everyone at Sterling and an opportunity came up at the exact time I was looking, so it was meant to be!

Name three people whom have been critical to your career?

Richard Branson, I worked for one of the Virgin companies back in the late 90's and as well as his entrepreneraul skills and how he created Virgin Records, I was inspired by the way he ran his company, giving opportunities to anyone who showed drive and enthusiasm for what they were doing. It was his personal advice to me telling me to go after my music dreams that led me to take the leap and quit my job and put everything into my music career.
Jason Jordan, on my 1st visit to NY several years ago when I was starting out, I emailed several music people from an Industry guide asking for meetings to bring some US business into the studio I was running in London. Jason was the only one who responded, took the meeting and put me in contact with several more US music people leading to several more and so on. He is a brilliant music guru and a great friend, who's been invaluable to my career in the US.
Tom Coyne (and his old manager Michael Leedy) for believing in me enough to
ship me over from London to work with them at Sterling Sound just over 2 years ago.

Tell me about the last year you’ve had personally and professionally?

Professionally the year has been very rewarding and productive. I have had the privilege to work on some incredible albums and had my eyes & ears opened to some great new music and artists.
I continue to grow and learn from the amazingly talented people at Sterling Sound and company I feel grateful to be a part of every day. Personally has been a little tiring in a city that never sleeps. As much as I love the city I have learned I need to escape for a few days each month, to somewhere that does sleep!

What challenges have you faced?

Being far away from my family back home in the UK and only getting to see them a couple of times a year for a few days each time, the same with my friends. Moving to a new city is tough enough but moving countries and missing family and friends has been challenging.

Which artists inspire you on a visual / creative level?

Over the years Madonna always inspired me on both a visual and a creative level, what she continued to achieve as a woman dominating the pop charts for 3 decades is pretty amazing, always being at the forefront of change and bringing in new producers to help her create that musically and great photographers and designers to help her create change visually. One of my favorite photographers is Mario Testino, there is always so much fun and energy in his pictures, he really captures his subjects personality.

In what ways can people be more socially responsible for the health of our music industry community?

To understand that artists, producers, engineers, musicians, anybody involved in creating music has worked for their, so they all deserve to earn an income for that. Let’s face it if people couldn’t afford to make music anymore the world would be a pretty miserable place!

If you could provoke change in any area of the music business, what would it be?

To have more education in schools of the importance of valuing artistic creators and how not paying for music affects those creators.

Tell me about something you learned the hard way?

Sometimes people tell you things you want to hear, or a version of the truth. But, you can deal with that as long as you are honest with yourself and do the best you possibly can for yourself and others.

What is art to you?

Something that makes me stand up and pay attention, that makes me want to hear or see more from the artist. Something that gives a glimpse into the eyes, ears and feelings of the creator.


*Photograph by Isaac Rosenthal

Shot on location at Space4shoots