Notion Magazine is a partner at this year's Youth Music Awards in association with Hal Leonard Europe. Managing Editor, Rosie Byers, also lent her editorial eye to the judging panel, deciding on which trailblazing young artists would win awards.
A writer, editor and producer working across music and culture, London-based Rosie Byers has worked in the fast-paced industry of magazine journalism for the past five years.
Starting out writing for clothing brand Illustrated People’s blog and other fashion news websites, Rosie became an intern at Wonderland magazine. Progressing from Editorial Assistant to Editor in just over a year, her time there saw her work on features with the likes of SZA, Kid Cudi, Wizkid, Chloë Sevigny and Paul Mescal.
Since 2021 Rosie has been Managing Editor at Notion Magazine, overseeing print issues and digital content with a focus on new music. Producing imagery and video as well as editorial, she’s worked with industry-leading creatives organising shoots in partnership with Spotify’s RADAR, 4th Floor Creative, and brands from Clarks to Adidas, NTS and Paco Rabanne.
We sat down with Rosie to hear about judging for the first time, her career highlights, what she's learned so far, and her advice for budding young journalists.
As Notion’s Managing Editor, what does your role involve? What are some of the tasks you carry out on a day-to-day basis?
One of the best parts of the job is getting to work on a variety of projects with a huge variety of people. Whether I’m working on interviews or imagery, my day-to-day usually involves collaborating with the whole of the Notion team as well as chatting to music PRs, journalists, photographers or stylists. Then the other half of the day is more introverted and focused – researching new artists and creatives, updating the website, editing and proofing copy.
What was your career journey before coming to Notion?
After school, I studied History at uni. I’d always been obsessed with magazines, but didn’t have any understanding of the infrastructure of the industry or how to get through the door. I researched and reached out to people to intern for during my final year alongside uni work, and after a few more internships after graduation I managed to get one at Wonderland magazine. It was a small team with a fast-paced workload, so gained a lot of exposure in the music, fashion and publishing worlds there, and worked my way up to Editor before coming to Notion in 2021.
What have been some of your biggest highlights working at Notion?
Producing a shoot and video for Spotify’s RADAR campaign with [Youth Music Awards 2023 judge) Joy Crookes was a real highlight, especially seeing work you’ve made happen in physical form in print and on billboards. But mainly it’s just whenever we get a great shoot or interview back, seeing a final spread or signing on someone amazing to a project. It’s being the catalyst in bringing those people together and making something that didn’t exist before.
You judged the Youth Music Awards this year; your first judging experience. What aspects did you most consider when making your decisions?
I loved seeing artists already building a world for their music to sit in, with a defined aesthetic and 360 vision. That’s partly just because I gravitate more towards the visual side of things and naturally we consider an artist’s visual world when making a magazine. But also, it now feels instrumental for musicians to be able to create a defined identity that sets them apart from the noise and holds our attention in a really immersive way. I also looked for artists exploring more experimental sounds – it doesn’t always have to be polished or fully-formed, and often new music is more exciting when it isn’t,
What are you most looking forward to on the night of the awards?
I love a speech, so all of those. It’s rare for rising artists to have those moments of seeing support in such an immediate, physical way outside of shows, so I’m excited to see their reactions walking up on stage.
Looking back, what has your career taught you so far? Is there anything you wish you knew when you were starting out in journalism?
Meeting people in real life is important. Since the pandemic so much has shifted away from that, but so many opportunities are filled based on real-life experience working together, word of mouth, or face-to-face conversations.
Lastly, do you have any advice for young creatives looking to get into journalism?
Probably the same thing – try to get face-to-face time with the people you want to work with. It’s an incredibly difficult set-up when the industry is London-centric, entry level opportunities are rare and being in London is so expensive, and that’s something the industry as a whole has to answer for. But within that framework my advice would be to get yourself in those rooms whenever you can – even if it’s attending events and talking to people, putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, asking for coffees. And that’s not just networking upwards – whether it’s peers within journalism or rising photographers, publicists, artists, the people coming up alongside you will be navigating a similar path and it’s so helpful to do it together.
Find out more about the Youth Music Awards sponsors and categories: youthmusic.org.uk/youth-music-awards-2023-categories-sponsors