Charlotte Gomes is a self-starter with the kind of vision and fiery passion that is necessary to get ahead as a promoter in the rapidly advancing online music industry. In 2014, she started Project Light Agency, a digital media company that helps talented musical artists create an online presence, gain a following and get their work out there. So Gutsy had the chance to speak with Gomes about how she got involved in the music industry, what she looks for in artists and her advice for anyone looking to work in digital marketing and media.
So Gutsy: Tell me a little bit about how you got involved in the digital promotion industry. What inspired you to start Project Light Agency?
Charlotte Gomes: I’ve always been passionate about music. I was born into a family of musicians, which was really cool. I was fascinated back in the day about the impact new technology can have. I was designing websites at the age of twelve because I thought it was really cool to use this platform to promote an artist and reach a wider audience. After that, I went to university because I was very passionate about communication and music. I loved it, but I just felt like it wasn’t right for me. I wanted to take initiative and do things my way. While I was still at the university, I started contacting artists from the UK because I really wanted to organize shows for them in France. I remember contacting the first artist; we did a couple of shows in major cities in France, which was an amazing experience. What I really liked about it was that I got to experience every aspect of the artist’s development. That included booking shows and publicity, which involved newspaper, TV, radio, and, obviously, online, as well. I loved it; I kept doing it for four years.
Then I had a life-changing experience with one of my artists from LA. I discovered him on YouTube. It was really cool, I just came across one of his videos and I contacted him and said, ‘I think you’ll do well in Europe.’ We toured for two years together, nonstop. We booked over sixty shows, which was brilliant. That was such an amazing experience, to handle everything. We got him on national TV in France and in the UK, so it was very intense, a lot of gigs. What really clicked, and why I said it was a life-changing experience was that we saw the impact that music can have on people’s lives. I really believe that music is about impacting people positively. That’s what it did for me, and that’s why I call [my company] Project Light. I came back from tour and I was like, okay now you need to decide, because you’re best at digital marketing and you need to focus on that. I need to work with artists I’m really passionate about, artists who have a positive message that I can spread. So I launched Project Light a year ago, first in France, then in the UK.
So Gutsy: Explain the process of connecting with new talent. How do you find artists?
Charlotte Gomes: Definitely, YouTube and Soundcloud. I really like Spotify as well now because you can find really good unsigned artists. So far, I always approach artists; I contact them. I do loads of research—I just love discovering talent. I used to have a music blog as well. They need to have the thing for me, that speaks to me. It needs to be very good quality. And, like I said earlier, the positive message is really important for me. That’s what Project Light is about. I think that’s the two criterion—quality and the message you want to convey.
So Gutsy: Once someone signs with you, what are the next steps?
Charlotte Gomes: It’s about contacting blogs and getting reviews, interviews, even acoustic sessions. Really reaching out to the right blogs because I think sometimes artists make the mistake of not really targeting. That’s why I tell artists when we first meet that I need to understand your vision because it’s the creative force of our work together, so I don’t want you to change the image you project. I know that now the competition is a bit fiercer with the Internet and social media, everyone is out there. But I tell artists you need to stay the same, you need to keep the message and keep being who you are. So it’s contacting blogs, and then it involves social media management. Creating a social media strategy together. Because it’s all about fans getting to know the artists and what they are like in real life. It’s not all about the music. It’s about who you are as a person. I think artists have to have an intimate approach. Artists should respond to fans when they Tweet you and you need to keep this connection and really nurture it.
So Gutsy: Is there a specific genre or style you tend to be drawn to?
Charlotte Gomes: I really love soul music, and acoustic soul—I love acoustic music. I also love jazz, R&B, pop, and funk. I love many genres, but I guess I would say soul music is my favorite.
So Gutsy: What do you want the message behind Project Light Agency to be? What do you hope people take away from your artists?
Charlotte Gomes: I think that Project Light is about promoting artists that will have a timeless impact. I really believe in positivity and that you can really make a difference. I believe that artists are storytellers who see the world through a different lens, and I just wanted to create Project Light to create a safe environment for them to grow in so that they can make a difference. It’s really difficult for artists nowadays to find someone who cares about the music and cares about the message. So that’s what I’m trying to do. We have ten artists at the moment and they are like my family. I don’t have a nine to five lifestyle. It’s all or nothing, basically. I’m quite an intense person, so when I like working with someone, it’s from A-Z; we’re in this together and I really want to bring out the best in you and help you flourish through your art.
So Gutsy: What are your plans going forward?
Charlotte Gomes: I would love to expand in the States. I’m currently working with four artists from LA, which is amazing. I really like the music scene out there, it’s really cool. And I love the mindset as well. So I guess just expanding geographically. At the moment I’m based in Brighton, but at some point I would love to give it a go in the States. I just launched a blog under my name as well. I hope to help people with their creative work, so I’m giving business tips, digital strategy, music and inspirational advice. I really want to encourage people to go after what they want because I feel like sometimes artists don’t realize they have a gift…Through this blog and through my agency as well I just want people to think that they can do whatever they set their mind to.
So Gutsy: What advice would you have for someone who wants to get into artist management or digital media?
Charlotte Gomes: Don’t wait, just get out there. I think that people wait for the right time and there is no right time. When I was at university, I was just thinking you learn so much more from people and life and experiences. You need to get out there, you need to experience stuff; even if it’s bad, just push through. So just get out there, try. It’s going to be okay.