Where are they now? Liam Tootill
Music graduate, Liam Tootill, talks to the Development and Alumni Relations Team about his University experience and what he is doing now.
Since graduating from the University, Liam Tootill (2008, BMus Music and 2009, MA Ethnomusicology) has pursued a career in the entertainment industry. He is currently working as Managing Director for SBTV. In the interview below he explains more about his time at university and his role at SBTV.
To find out more about SBTV please visit the website: http://sbtv.co.uk
What attracted you to study at the University of Sheffield?
I absolutely loved Sheffield. I had to seriously persuade them to let me in, after not achieving what I had hoped in my A Levels. Sheffield was prepared to give me a chance as they could see my enthusiasm and passion for the subject of music.
I didn’t ever want to go to a second rate university, and despite my grades in my A Levels I contacted every top university on the day of results. I spent hours and hours on the phone, determined that someone might let me in.
What is your fondest university memory?
Becoming the President of Tapton Hall of Residence. Arranging big parties and events, taking groups of students on trips, we won Hall Olympics and dominated at intra-mural football.
But a serious highlight is that I absolutely loved my third year, and I knew that the MA course was the one for me. I persuaded the admissions tutor that I had the passion for his course, and I was so determined to pass and make it worth something.
What bit of advice would you tell your first-year self?
I'd probably say that it would have something to do with being as productive as possible with every minute you have at university because the time flies so fast.
Why did you decide to go on to do post-graduate study at Sheffield?
I loved exploring the subject of Ethnomusicology during my final year dissertation and was desperate to learn more about music, society and culture.
What else were you involved in when you were at University (clubs/societies etc)?
I was Tapton President in 2006. I also ran for Union President the following year and came third out of twelve candidates.
As an alumnus of the University yourself, do you think that it is important for the University to keep in touch with its former students?
Definitely. The students are the heartbeat of the University and that link shouldn't die just because a person has graduated.
Tell us a little bit about your current job.
SBTV is an innovative ‘music and lifestyle’ youth media platform, which to date, has amassed over 100,000,000 views on our YouTube channel. We are an online broadcaster come production team.
As Managing Director of SBTV this can range hugely - I work towards strengthening the brand through creative initiatives, whether it be producing videos, developing content or establishing relationships with big franchise brands and charity organisations.
I also do some consultancy for Simon Cowell's record label Syco and have a documentary that I'm producing, airing on Channel 4 in mid-June.
Why did you decide to take the career path you did?
It all happened quite naturally. I'd always wanted to work within the music industry but didn't really know how to get to the end goal. Since graduating from Sheffield, I managed to get some work as a music journalist for RWD and i-D magazines - interviewing, reviewing and covering some of the hottest music events.
I also managed to keep my relationship with Jamal Edwards (founder of SB.TV) pretty good after he helped me make contact with certain artists, DJs and producers during my research on underground subcultures in London. We are now business partners and still growing the company over two and half years later.
Did your degree help you with what you are doing now?
100% completely. It laid the foundations for the house which is now being built.
What are your ambitions for the future?
We want to be the MTV for the 21st Century. We want it to have the buzz that London has, but deliver it to America, Europe and further afield. We want to carry on developing and gain further credibility within the industry as the brand is still evolving.
On a personal level I want to continue to grow as a producer to create documentaries for television, as well as carrying on doing consultancy and A&R work. I also have aspirations to grow other start-up companies as the last couple of years have been so much fun and I've learnt many transferable skills that I feel I could apply for other new business ventures.
What do you do in your spare time?
When I get free time I like going watching football. I support Wigan Athletic. It might seem weird to someone who lives down south but it's where I was born and all my family are from the area.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Chase your dreams, not the competition.
Where is your favourite place?
I love London but also enjoy spending time in California.
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