Melissa Conradie – doyenne of the South African music industry

Melissa Conradie

With over 22 years of experience in the music industry, Melissa Conradie has been running her own agency for the past 7 and half years, aptly named the Melissa Conradie Agency. The Agency specializes in radio plugging and PR work for musicians, but also has an artist booking department for live shows.

The Melissa Conradie Agency was born on the 1st of June 2015 and since then the agency has expanded to see Melissa now consult for Breakout and Sheer Sound (as part of Gallo Record Company) and has her running the independent radio plugging for some of the country’s biggest Pop artists: Jeremy Loops, Jethro Tait, December Streets, and more. The agency also looks after live performance bookings for Lee Cole, James Deacon, Grassy Spark and TATUM.

Having survived the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and as it continues through 2021, the agency hasn’t slowed down in its plugging and PR work. Melissa is also excited for the live music scene’s return with event and small festivals finally taking place during the most relaxed level 1 restrictions the industry has seen since March 2020.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what your job entails on a daily basis.

I’m Melissa Conradie and I run my own independent PR, Publicity and Live Booking Agency, aptly named the Melissa Conradie Agency (I honestly couldn’t think of a good name for my business – LOL!). My working day entails dealing daily with artists I work with on their releases (for those I do PR and Plugging for) and Live shows (for those I book for), as well as various media, radio and people across the music industry. It’s all about promoting music with a big part of it getting songs playlisted on radio and this is the hardest part of the job! My fellow radio pluggers know this well…

  1. How did your journey in the industry begin?

I’ve been working in the music industry since January 2000. I initially studied music to be a professional vocalist and then got a job as a receptionist at an independent label in Jan 2000. What was just meant to give me some income while a get a band together, ended up becoming my career. I absolutely loved working at a record label and now I’ve taken those 15+ years of experience and used it to start my own agency. I’m basically doing the same PR and radio plugging work I did then, that I do now. It’s just been adjusted with the changing music landscape and technology. 

  1. What projects are you currently working on?

I have so many great artists I work with and currently have new music releases from Jeremy Loops, Lee Cole, December Streets, Craig Lucas & GoodLuck, Cece Vee, Ziggy Alberts, Britney Meistre, Steve Umculo and Nic Billington (this is just a few of the great artists I get to work with). I also work with Gallo Record Company who allow me the wonderful opportunity to work with the likes of Louise Carver, Kahn Morbee, Ben Dey, Jarrad Ricketts, Moonchild Sanelly, El Mukuka, and so many more.

Then, I’m also working on the Calum Scott South African tour, which is taking place towards end November this year.

  1. What are some of your career highlights?

Oh gosh, after 22 and a half years, I think the fact that I’m still working in the music industry, is a highlight itself! HAHAHA! Seriously though, if I had to have look back at favourite memories over those years, it would be travelling internationally to music conferences like MIDEM in Cannes (South of France), POPKOMM in Berlin (Germany) and SXSW in Austin, Texas (USA), working The White Stripes album “Elephant” which had the massive hit “Seven Nation Army”, my time at Sheer Dance working DJ’s and going to Dance events where we worked with the likes of Paul Van Dyk, DJ Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, etc.

Working with Stealing Love Jones and seeing them open for Fall Out Boy at The Dome (and also being at the sound check and having Pete Wentz shoutout what we wanted to hear them play). Attending those great festivals in SA (Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen, LUSH, etc) and seeing incredible local and international live acts. Having Grassy Spark tour with UB40 and being backstage with them at The Dome in Joburg.

There are honestly so many, that I could write an essay on this alone! I haven’t even spoken about me finally starting a band and what the highlights were with Holly & The Woods.

Writing this and thinking about my career, actually makes me so grateful for all these experiences… after what the pandemic has thrown at the industry, we need to be reminded sometimes.

  1. What and who inspires you?

My artists I work with. Everyday there’s a moment with at least one of them where I just realise why I’m doing this!

  1. What do you think FAME Week Africa can offer the Pan-African Market?

FAME Week Africa is a great platform to educate our artists and build the industry. The more we know, the more we can do and when the industry best lends these tools, that’s when the arts is really empowered and supported.

  1. What tips can you give an artist who wants to build a reputation and a career that is going to keep them relevant in the industry

Biggest tip is that going into the industry is hard work and you’re not just a creative, but also a business owner. There’s also no overnight success, so take the time to develop your craft well. You also need to take in as much advice and guidance from those who can help grow your knowledge and understanding of how your sector of the industry works – whichever direction you decide to go in. Relationships are key and be good to those around you. As much as people help you, return that favour to those who seek the knowledge you have.

  1. What is your favourite thing about Africa?

Africa is a vibrant and colourful continent! Such an immense variety of beautiful cultures and the eclectic selection of musical genres that we’ve seen born on this soil. We have something very special and this is what has made the rest of the world finally notice what we create.

Read more Behind the Scenes here

FAME Week Africa

FAME Week Africa

FWA Connect bringing the Film, Arts, Media and Entertainment sector together by providing creative industry professionals on the African continent with news, trends and in-depth articles.

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