Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I was lucky enough to have collaborated with Cat Park during my Magazine Editor days and she was one of the first PR companies to take my work seriously. I loved her passion for the independent artists she represented and the way she always had their best interests at heart. From her days as the leading lady at Channel U and AKA, Cat developed her skills and grew her contacts until the opportunity came for her to venture out on her own. As a woman in a still male orientated industry, Cat has managed to withstand the challenges whilst always diversifying time and time again; proving why she is one of the best in the music PR game. Balancing her numerous brands all while being a mother; she is always pushing that much more to ensure she continues to champion the artists that shape the UK music scene and beyond......
Cat you're the founder @TenLetterPR | @TenLetterRADIO | @TenLetterRECORDS | this is no mean feat? How are you able to successfully run all of your business ventures?
It’s passion and love. I put so much love, time and energy in to what I do, as do my amazing team. I’ve always ensured one is up and running effectively before moving on to the next as I never want to spread myself too thinly. They also all co-exist in a way so bounce together quite nicely.
You started on your journey many years ago now and where many of the brands that were moving side by side with you have now all but gone, you're still reigning supreme! What would you say has been the main factors behind your longevity in the PR game?
I think constantly innovating, never being afraid to learn more or try new things and staying ahead of the game. You have to recognise where things are going and also recognise good talent to work with. I’ve been so lucky with my background in music that I’m quite good at spotting a good artist or record - I suppose I’m almost the first point of A&R in a way!
I knew of you back when you were the main lady at Channel U/AKA how did you venture into PR initially and then progress onto working on this media outlet?
Channel U/AKA was my first music job and we had a tiny team - I made up a major percentage of that team and therefore got to experience many different roles (in this day and age there would probably be about 10 people doing the job I was doing - no exaggeration!). When the director, Darren Platt, decided to start an independent record label, I was then automatically given the day to day management of it too (don’t ask me how I managed to do it all - maybe that’s what taught me how to spin plates so well!). I suddenly learnt how to create and manage campaigns, do some PR, enlist pluggers and other PR’s and generally experience how to release records.
On top of that, the scene was tiny, everyone knew each other, I had DJ’s such as Charlie Sloth and Target giving me videos for the channel so when it was time, I had the contacts and relationships to send my campaigns to them.
By no means could it have been easy to manage artists during that time on what was a channel heavily instrumental in the grime/uk music scene. What did you take most from your time there?
It taught me how to have thick skin. It taught me not to take things so personally (even though I still do sometimes - I have a big heart!). It also taught me to fight. The channel and grime itself wasn’t taken seriously by the mainstream back then, they thought the whole thing was just too ‘hood’, too raw, too edgy and too violent - the reality was that they just didn’t understand it and didn’t see the passion and energy that it grew from and that sustained it. If I could bottle that feeling I would as it was that determination to make shit happen for myself and for others, that has made me so focused in my own business.
What were the factors that contributed to you starting your own PR company TenLetterPR?
When Darren decided to sell Channel U/AKA, I had to ask myself what it was that I’d loved about my job so much. Why I’d put up with all of the bollocks over so many years and what it was that kept my soul so alive. I realised part of it was being the underdog and being the person that could see potential within an artist and give them a platform to be seen and heard, whether it was the channel or using all of my contacts, it was exactly that reason I started Ten Letter.
How long did it take you to launch after the initial idea to create your own brand?
Haha, it didn’t really happen like that. I wasn’t really sure what it actually was I was going to create, I just knew I had artists that wanted to work with me and contacts I could connect them with to amplify what they were doing, it just naturally became plugging and promotion from there.
I've always loved the name Ten Letter, where does it derive from?
Ahhh, I love explaining this, its really simple, you know the saying ‘eight letters, three words' means ‘I Love You’, well there’s Ten Letters in ‘I Love Music’.
How have you found the industry has treated you as a woman? Have you experienced times where you may have been treated different had you been a man?
Hmmm, yes, probably. I think the hardest times have been when I’ve had my kids, I don't know if that’s so much an industry thing as a working for a small company or yourself thing. I had 6 weeks maternity with my first and two weeks off with my second then they were straight in to childcare.
I have experienced other issues, really degrading shit at times but I have no time for it, people are always going to chat rubbish and you can’t do anything about it, I’m usually too busy doing my own progressive shit to sit and dwell on it for too long.
You have been championing independent music and artists for well over a decade. When many would have moved into the mainstream, you have always stayed true to your passion. Why has this been important to you?
It’s what excites me. I love getting to know artists directly and seeing what makes them tick, what fuels their music and the journey they’ve been on. It also feels really personal when they/ their teams choose you - we only work with campaigns we truly enjoy so there’s a vested interest from everyone, its a full team win. I often find that the more mainstream you go, the more you lose that. There’s no direct contact, the artist is just someone about 15 people away that will probably never read the report you send at the end of each week or know how hard you’re working - on the flip side, you also don’t get to know their interests or the passion with them, so yeah, I like to keep it close to the real shit, where it really counts.
You have also worked with some of the finest talents in the UK and Internationally including the Omarion, Krept and Konan, Jhene Aiko and Chip to name but a few. Out of all the media campaigns you have led, which ones are you the most proud of?
I am so proud of them all and that's no lie, but I’d have to say Cadet and Deno’s ‘Advice'. That campaign will stay with me forever as we lost Cadet at the end of it and he never got to receive his plaque. My plaque will be on my wall forever as a real reminder of all of the love, passion, determination and talent that I’ve had the pleasure to work with and just how precious and important it is to do what you enjoy.
You the epitome of a slayer managing business with motherhood. How do you find the balance?
Sometimes it's hard, sometimes I get the balance wrong but I think that showing my kids what it is to have a work ethic is so important too so I try not to make myself feel too guilty. There’s a few things I have in place to ensure that work doesn’t take over though, they include switching off at the weekend - I always try to ensure work is finished on a Friday night, no matter how late I have to work to wrap it up - once its done, my mind is free and I can just concentrate on enjoying the time with my family. I also make sure we have breakfast and dinner together each night, it gives us time to talk about our days and just have some time out enjoying each others company. We then do bath, book and bed time and then usually I’m back on the computer to work again
What has been the best advice you have been given in business?
Ooooh I have two. The first isn’t really advice though more of a statement, I was once told I’d never be able to run my own business - I think it was said to me to give me a kick up the and a challenge as if to say " get up and do it though"! They knew I had that “I’ll prove you wrong” streak to me! The other thing was, ‘don’t be afraid of change’ - its something I remind myself of often and it's an important one to me.
Based on what you know now about business and your industry, if you could go back, what would you tell your younger self?
Don’t be afraid. Take every opportunity as opportunity opens doors!
Social media has taken brands to a new level and social media has blown up since the good old days of Myspace with platforms like Facebook and Instagram revolutionising the way brands do business. How have you found social media has shaped your business and the way you do PR?
Oh its really changing things, social media, streaming, everything has changed but its great, there’s so many platforms out there to work with and I enjoy the opportunities it creates.
What tips can you give to other women who may be venturing into entrepreneurship?
Don’t be afraid to embrace change and take opportunities. Also - be wise with your time, most things don't need a meeting and communication is possible in so many other ways these days - make every detail work for you, from the hours you work, the way you communicate to the people you work with and if you don't like something - let it go or change it! If something makes you feel shit, change it.
What's the latest happenings at TenLetterPR?
Ooooh we’ve got so many dope campaigns right now, the team is about to expand and we’re also working on a number of regional events that spread our knowledge and experience through the country - especially places that don't often have events and panels about independent music - like I said, I love involving everyone and getting to people that wouldn’t normally be reached.
Finally, when you feel unmotivated or uninspired, what do you do to get yourself out of the rut?
Drink Prosecco, have a moan to my fella and start again the next day.
Follow Cat Park HERE
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Interview by Sasha Shantel @Women_Who_Slay_