Cameron Barnfield
Curation Marketing Intern
Ministry of Sound

What were you doing before you joined Sony Music?

I was working in a call centre for BT as a sales advisor; I was the person who would be on the receiving end of unhappy customers when their internet stopped working mid-lockdown.

Prior to this, I studied History at the University of Warwick. I ran hip-hop and disco/house club nights while I was there, working with booking agents and venues, creating artwork and promotional content, running marketing campaigns and managing around 50 ticket reps.

All this enabled me to build a portfolio for my application and gain the skills I use day-to-day in my role. You don’t need years of industry experience to apply – you can create your own opportunities and build your skills doing your own thing.

Where did your passion for music begin? Tell us what your first CD was, first gig you went to etc.

My mum and grandad are big jazz fans so I was brought up on CDs from Nina Simone, Arturo Sandoval and others. My mum used to play piano in the house. My Dad had a CD called The Ultimate Air Guitar Songs which I loved, so when I was eight my parents bought me a guitar and I started teaching myself.

The first CD I bought myself was Arctic Monkeys’ first album from Woolworths! I also bought Kanye West, JAY-Z, Akon and Lil Wayne CDs when I was quite young. I’ll never forget when I bought an Eminem CD with my mum in Tesco and played it on the way home – she freaked out when she heard all the swearing and made me take the CD back.

My first gig was The Courteeners in 2011. I’ve been fortunate enough to see some amazing people live – from the Watch The Throne (JAY-Z & Kanye) to Kamasi Washington, Metallica and more. When I turned 18, I started clubbing and went to a lot of Warehouse Projects in Manchester which forged my love of dance music. I love that in my current role I can use my passion for dance music, but also for rap and other genres.

What’s been the most exciting day at work so far?

I would probably have to say going on a shoot for one of our content series. Firstly because I hadn’t been anywhere or met any of my team, but mostly because it was all so new and alien to me. When I heard I’d be interviewing people like TSB and Avelino I was so excited I could barely sleep the night before!

The journey across the Thames and getting to a studio with some of the best creatives in the country was incredibly exciting and something I’ll never forget. Seeing people who are rightfully at the top of their game in the creative environment made me truly realise how fortunate I am to have this opportunity.

What’s your favourite project you’ve been a part of so far? What part did you play?

My favourite project so far has been working on our Made In The UK brand. This is Ministry of Sound’s flagship Rap, R&B and Afroswing playlist and I’ve been given the responsibility to really get involved and help shape this brand. Being given the trust and freedom to take this on has been challenging and exciting, but massively rewarding. It’s made me really have my ear to the ground on UK rap and R&B music which right now is incredibly exciting – there’s some really amazing artists releasing great music.

Quite early on in the internship, I was tasked with creating lyric videos for Made In The UK’s YouTube. I had to come up with the creative brief, find a designer to make the video and then reach out to marketing teams across SME’s labels to create the videos. Since then we’ve hosted artists such as B Young, Avelino, TSB, Unknown T and M1llionz and more – with some videos hitting over 100K views. To be behind some of the biggest releases in some way is just so cool.

We’ve also been trying to grow our social media following, so I’ve worked with our agency to come up with relatable content. It’s so great to be given a challenge and see tangible results – we recently hit an important milestone on the page and have been growing at our fastest rate. This is down to working with the team and finding the right brand tone, the right creative and being truly involved with the culture. I’ve loved every minute of it!

What would you say is the most valuable bit of experience you’ve gained so far?

I think the most valuable experience I’ve gained is just to be friendly and professional, to believe in your work and not be afraid to ask for help. I’ve realised quite quickly that this industry is all about the people, so be professional but stay true to yourself and make friends along the way – everyone is here because they love music and they love the ability to do what they love every day.

On the flip side, if you realise that you’re not as skilled in certain areas there is no shame in asking for help. The team works because everyone can bring something different to the table, so by asking for help you open up the door to learning from the incredible people around you and allowing yourself to develop and gain skills from people who have been smashing it for years.

And finally, take the small wins! It’s easy to think success is getting big recognition from statistics and peers but I remember our MD, Amy Wheatley being really chuffed with something quite small in perspective. It made me realise you should honour achievements no matter how big or small and take pride in your work, as those small wins all add up to the benefit of the wider mission!

Tell us a random fact about you.

I’ve broken over 20 bones, including both legs, from playing sports and being clumsy.

Any music suggestions you like recently?

I try to keep it varied, but one artist I’ve been listening to a lot recently is Pip Millett – a Dream Life artist who I kind of slept on, which I really regret. She’s a Manchester Neo-Soul artist for fans of Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu and Mahalia. She has a lot of releases coming out at the moment and I’m really loving it. Favourite track is ‘Heavenly Mother’, an absolute classic.