We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Cullen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, why did you pursue a creative career?
I think it was a combination of elements – beginning with encouragement from my family, to always do what I wanted to with my life, and later seeing so many others around me working in roles that they hated.
The adults of my ‘real world’ always seemed to have jobs they dreaded returning to on a Monday – jobs that left them uninspired, pessimistic, and trapped in this mindset of believing that only the elite have the time and freedom to simply enjoy the world.
I’d always wanted to be a journalist when I was younger, and later a songwriter. I would read magazine articles about musicians, (I still do), and it never failed to draw me in and inspire me, especially if the writing was top notch, shining light on aspects you hadn’t considered before.
After working at a dozen random jobs (admin, bar work, retail, cold calling), whilst writing and pursuing an interest in music on the side, I was always heading towards what I do now, but it took several years for me to take the plunge. I suppose I needed to realise that the fear of regret was much greater than the fear of failure – and that regret is much more final than failure. It took a fair amount of uncertainty and dissatisfaction for me to truly understand the reality of time.
I believe it’s important to find ways to be happy – for ourselves, and for our family, friends and community. Building a career in writing and music has been a huge part of that for me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My role for the most part is as a freelance writer, but I run the indie blog StereoStickman.com in unison with that – it’s grown bigger than I could have anticipated over the past six years.
It’s exciting to know there will be some new artist or band or producer to work with every day, and that I have the freedom to take a feature in any direction – whether it’s a podcast interview, a press release, an album review, a social media thread. I can also now reach out to people who’ve inspired me over the years and get the opportunity to interview them, to dig deeper into their creative process, their work ethic etc.
I wouldn’t say it was easy, there were at least two years of struggle where I wasn’t earning much at all and had to build my name up by working for free and networking. Ultimately though, I was fortunate to be able to pack up and live in my van during those early days, so I didn’t need much money (I was busking and working in a pub to keep food on the table). I suppose this was the biggest challenge, continuing the grind after so many months then years of plateau. But I loved what I was doing – I love listening to new music, losing myself in writing a new article; it’s therapeutic, so I found happiness long before I developed a sustainable career.
I’ve learned that people are overwhelmingly good. When you don’t interact with many people, and you only see the comments sections or news reports to give you your view of the world, it’s easy to believe that everyone is heartless, but that’s so far from the truth. If you start interacting, working with people, reaching out to people – even just saying ‘Hello’ – you realise the vast majority are nice.
I want people to know that if they visit our website, as a music fan or an artist, they’ll be welcomed – listened to, encouraged, and connected with a broader audience of similarly minded individuals.
For the musicians looking to get representation – it doesn’t matter what stage of your career you’re at, or how big your following is – we look for the truth in your sound; the style, the idea, the feeling, the expression, the skill – what you have to offer as an independent of our time. That’s where the greatest art truly comes from.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Encouragement, love and support, even mentorship, all came from my family – my parents, and my Gran, were always willing to listen and attend, or share and spread word about things I’d been working on.
My older sister in particular has always played a huge role in inspiring me and believing in me, whatever my next idea might have been. She runs the environmental charity Project Seagrass, with her husband and a small but growing team – they’re currently increasing their impact on a global basis, and it’s incredibly exciting to see; give them a Google, well worth knowing about. (https://www.projectseagrass.org)
In terms of the literal and digital presence of Stereo Stickman and my writing career, none of it would have gone quite the way it has without the support and efforts of my partner Adam – a successful creative in his own right, in the world of music software. (https://venomode.com)
More distantly, Q Magazine, NME and MOJO all kept me inspired, entertained and informed over the years. As did the indie artists carving out their own careers in such a fast-paced and often somewhat chilly industry. Keep doing what you do – stay creative!
Solo guitarist is Skinner’s Lane, the band crowd-surfing is Highly Suspect.