Profile: Shelley Wright, Music Biz Mover ‘n’ Shaker

Shelley’s Pie

Occupation: Publicity and Marketing Manager for Modular Records (U.S.)

U.S. Digs: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Aussie Hometown:

I grew up in Nambucca Heads, which is a pretty small surfing town about 30 minutes south of Coffs Harbor. But no one knows where that is, so I usually just say Sydney, where I lived from the age of 18 to 24.

Visa type: E3

Current Projects:

Debut albums from CEO, Tame Impala, Bag Raiders, BENI and Canyons, and new albums from Cut Copy and the Presets. Plus, SXSW, WMC, and Coachella planning.

When did you move to the U.S.?

I spent most of 2007 traveling back and forth between Sydney and NY, but moved here permanently in October that year.

What’s your story on getting to and living in the U.S.?

Girl meets boy. They fall in love. Girl quits her job and moves to New York to live with him. There were a lot of trips back and forth, and long distance phone calls, and sending of resumes over the course of 2007. Eventually, I was offered a job with a music publicity and management company, granted a visa, and was living in the Lower East Side in time to see snow fall for the first time ever on my 25th birthday in December 2007.

Why did you want to work in the U.S.?

See above! Although, there are a thousand other reasons for wanting to work here: you have everything you could possibly want or need at your fingertips, including access to the best arts and entertainment programs in the world.

What’s your favourite city in the U.S.?

Aside from New York, Austin, TX, is my favorite city in the U.S. I go every March for the music festival SXSW [South by Southwest], and though the city is overrun with an extra 30,000 people over the week of the festival, it still retains all the best aspects of the place – killer barbecue and Tex-Mex food, locals who tip their hat and ask you where you’re from, a liberal political attitude and the kind of sprawling open farmland that makes me miss Australia.

What’s your favourite restaurant or other thing in that city?

Best Cajun seafood I’ve ever eaten at the Boiling Pot on 6th Street. No cutlery, no plates, no tablecloth, no glassware – just white paper on the table, masses of seafood dumped on the table, bibs and wine in plastic cups. You eat with your hands, and by the end of the meal you’re messy as all hell, but its worth it. Swimming at Barton Springs is also highly recommended.

Any Must-Dos before leaving the U.S.?

I’ve yet to go to New Orleans, and I only made it halfway across the country on the road trip I did in 2007. Both need to be done before I leave.

What do you miss most about home?

Fruit Cup Crush cordial, morning swims at North Bondi before work every day, the chili salt squid at Red Lantern in Surry Hills, the Good Weekend, backyards, driving and sausage rolls. Friends and family too, of course. And Molly Meldrum.

What are three things Americans must do when visiting Australia?

Hug a koala, streak at a sporting match and attempt to out-drink an Australian. They’ll find themselves in trouble, but it would be entertaining.

When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

Designing my dream DJ set.

Who’s your mentor or hero?

Deeta Colvin, my incredible boss at my first grown-up job, taught me how to be a lady in an unladylike industry. She taught me a lot of other stuff as well, but that’s the most important thing.

Shelley’s Sauce — A few fellow Swagmen

Ilirjana Alushaj – musician/journalist: Ilirjana does EVERYTHING. She has a magazine called the Pop Manifesto, which covers art, fashion, music and all sorts of other projects by young creatives. She sings in the band Apache Beat, whose debut album, “Last Chants,” came out this year. She has a solo music project called Typical Girls. She DJs. She is really good at iChat. And Twitter. She’s good at everything, really.

Daniel King – photographer: Dan spent years assisting seemingly every major fashion photographer in the world – Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Inez and Vinoodh, Annie Leibowitz – before taking on his own assignments as a photographer. In the past year, he’s shot for magazines such as Wonderland and Elle, and taken portraits of John Paul Gaultier, Evan Rachel Wood, Jason Wu and Kat Dennings. Oh, and he’s just 26.

Nat Ma – photographer/blogger/multimedia artist: Nat started a photo blog when he moved to New York, determined to document something that captured his eye every single day he spends in this city. His photographs – of dumplings at Vanessa’s, late nights at Max Fish, fashion week mayhem, front row crowds at Bowery Ballroom – induce that instant recognition factor of, “Oh, I’ve been there!” but are also inflected with a highly personal bent. This is New York, as seen through his eyes. His blog led to a role in the launching of a new magazine, “The Dirty Durty Diary,” for which luminaries such as Calvin Klein, Larry Clark, Matthew Barney and Eli Roth were contributors. He also finds time to do his day job: Director of Digital Marketing for Burberry.

Shelley’s Slice of Advice

What do you recommend Aussies keep in mind when moving to the U.S.?

Don’t make fun of the things Americans say, or they way they say them. It’s their country — you’re just living in it. They think you sound funny, too.

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