Shannon Pratt takes on vital roles within the PEI music scene
How do you get to be the band manager for one of the hottest bands in Charlottetown right now? Well, for Shannon Pratt, it actually started in Ontario. She studied Television Broadcasting at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, then headed west to Vancouver where she switched gears and started working in the film business for the next eight years. She worked on movies like Smallville, I Robot, Underworld 2, and a few others. She even has her own IMDb page.
Then she drove across the country with her one-year-old pup, Charley, to buy her grandparents house. She was on PEI temporarily, or so she told herself.
Her first job on the Island was working for Music PEI in 2007 as Event Co-ordinator, which quickly lead to working on the tv side of the ECMAs in 2008 for the 20th year anniversary as Production Manager. A dream come true. “I used to sit in Vancouver on the Sunday night with my six pack of Keiths, take my phone off the hook, watch the show. I’d cheer on my friends and would discover new music.”
Being in these positions put Shannon in a position to build friendships with musicians. Knowing what was out there in terms of awards to be applied for, etc, she would message people to encourage them to apply. Dennis Ellsworth was one of these people. “I fell in love with that first Battery Point record.”
“I ended up contacting him through Myspace, or something hideous like that. We started talking about the project back and forth. I kept asking him: Are you doing this? Have you thought of that? What’s happening with this? Are you participating in this? Have you submitted for that?”
Then she came across Smothered In Hugs. She had no idea who they were but fell in love with their music. She kept messaging them to get them to submit for things and let them know about opportunities. Eventually they met at shows, then they started coming to her with questions. After some pestering and a lengthy conversation with Todd MacLean, she finally made the step from super fan/helpful friend, to manager. Around the same time, Smothered in Hugs were changing their name to English Words. Fun fact: the band is the first hit when googling English Words.
While managing English Words and InFlight Safety right now, Shannon has worked with several bands over the years in both traditional and cyber PR, as well as booking. She also worked on a number of other projects, such as Fall Flavours, Festival of Lights, Nigwek, Small Halls, as well as Stage Manager for the last 3 or 4 Food & Warmth shows.
At what point should a band or musician look into getting a manager? “When you get to the point where you can no longer juggle all of the balls in the air, when things are starting to slip through cracks, when you can’t do it all yourself.”
If you find yourself in need of a manager, definitely start looking for one, but in the mean time I asked Shannon what should be done before-hand. “Own your name and be consistently branded across the universe. For me as a music fan, I don’t want to be searching all over the world to find you. I just want to find you. Nothing annoys me more than going to your website and there not being either contact information or if you haven’t updated your shows section. Stay off of Myspace.”
Shannon has been an incredible supporting voice in the music community. Easily one of the most hard working and passionate people.