Former BIMM student, Tom Beck, tells us how he worked in artist management, PR and marketing, with clients ranging from Robbie Williams to Metallica as well as being an artist within his own right, supporting artists such as Calvin Harris and headlining at large venues. Tom is now leading a team as Head of Recruitment at BIMM Berlin and we caught up with him to find out more about his journey,
Tell us a little bit about you, your role at BIMM and some of the musical achievements you’ve made along the way.
I’m Tom Beck – Head of Recruitment at BIMM Berlin. Before working with the Berlin team, I was Commercial Performance Manager at BIMM Brighton and London, which involved helping students find paid performance work as session musicians and private entertainment performers. During 2016, students earnt over £1.5m in gig fees through our partner agency network. Prior to this, I was based in BIMM’s Marketing Team as an Event Manager.
As a musician, I’m a multi-instrumentalist, having played guitar, bass, trombone and keys since my childhood. I’ve worked regularly as a session musician since my first year at BIMM, and have also been involved with a few original bands along the way! Some highlights include a few Top 5 singles in the European Indie charts; and supporting artists such as Calvin Harris, Feeder, Caribou, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Example… the latter certainly enjoys a good curry! I’ve also headlined venues including the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire; have performed at V and Isle of Wight festivals; made appearances on TV shows such as Later… With Jools Holland and The X Factor, and worked as a session musician with artists ranging from Little Mix through to Jungle! I’ve also worked in artist management, PR and marketing with various labels and agencies since graduating BIMM, with a roster ranging from Robbie Williams and Led Zep’s Jimmy Page through to Metallica, Kiss, the Foo Fighters and even Britney Spears!
What made you take the leap to BIMM Berlin?
As a musician, I’ve been gigging in Berlin since I was in my second year at BIMM. When touring, we often kicked off in Norway and worked our way down through Europe, ending up in Hungary, Austria or Croatia. Berlin was always a tour highlight and one we would never dream of skipping – we always had an amazing time here, mostly because of how welcome we felt as a visiting artist! Berlin’s such a great city for catching a broad range of artists in every musical genre at an eclectic variety of venues, with a dedicated and supportive citizenship. When the opportunity arose to work with the BIMM Berlin team within a diverse and multicultural campus, I gladly jumped at it.
What was the most important thing you learned while studying at BIMM and how have you put it into practice since graduating?
I learned the importance of being open to opportunities, networking and applying hard work in a sensible way. As a student, I tried to make the most of the work experience opportunities BIMM offered me while maintaining my existing music commitments. I soon realised that all the established industry professionals I met along the way were hugely supportive and encouraging – they had all started out somewhere and remembered what it was like, and were, therefore, keen to support everyone with a good attitude taking their first footsteps in the industry. As a musician, the Live Performance and Music Business modules on the Professional Musicianship course taught me the importance of being generous with my time and supporting developing artists and producers who sometimes had little to no budget. In return, this helped me to develop my studio and live performance ability massively, and opened the doors to a network I continue to work with to this day.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice as a student at BIMM, what would it be?
To always stay open minded and respect the musical tastes of others! I came from a background with a love for blues and rock music, and would never have dreamt that by the time I graduated BIMM, I’d be performing with other students and artists in styles ranging from RnB, funk and hip-hop through to shameless pop! Having adaptability as a performer, and an appreciation for what inspires other artists, is key to being a professional musician. My new project is to get to grips with techno now that I’m here in Berlin – something I’m still working on!