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People make playlists for parties, this woman makes them for a living

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Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Sara Sesardic talks us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights out.

Sara Sesardic, 30, is a senior music editor at Spotify. She lives in west London.

My alarm goes off…

At 6.30am. I set it for that time in the hope I’ll get up and go to the gym, but that only works about twice a week. When I do, I listen to Spotify’s You Can Do It playlist to motivate myself. I leave for work at 8am. In the office, I usually wear Converse and dungarees. I joke that I like to dress like a Nineties toddler – but I make sure to put some lipstick on to elevate it.

I’m responsible for…

Curating playlists at Spotify as part of our global music team. My job is to support emerging and established artists and connect them with fans who are using our platform. My main area is pop and catalogue, which is the term for anything that came out more than 18 months ago. I do a lot of playlists based on different decades or throwback songs.

I got the job…

By making a friend on Twitter. I was a radio producer working on Sounds Of The 70s at BBC Radio 2 and would often tweet about Spotify’s Throwback Thursday playlist. A curator at Spotify liked the tweets and eventually we started chatting about our jobs. He told me about a vacancy on the team and I interviewed. That was two years ago.

Laptop and headphones are Sara’s essential kit

My typical day…

Starts with breakfast in the office kitchen, usually porridge with berries and seeds and a mint tea. Most of my time is spent listening to music with my headphones on. I get through hundreds of songs each day. I start by focusing on new releases that are relevant to the areas I work on – mainly pop. Then I think about what the audience of each playlist I curate will enjoy and update the playlists as I go along. 

I have meetings with the other music editors throughout the week. We’ll get together and play music as a team, sharing what we’re excited about and what’s coming up.

 At about 1pm, I go for a walk around Soho and then heat up some soup back at the office. Sometimes in the afternoon, I’ll meet with a label, manager or artist to find out more about the projects they’re working on. We also have a weekly global meeting over Google Hangouts with all our offices from Stockholm to America – we’re live in 78 markets around the world.

 I have to hit weekly deadlines for our Throwback Thursday and New Music Friday playlists, which are obviously time sensitive. I finish at 6pm.

She listens to hundreds of songs a say in order to make her selections

My most memorable moment…

Was finding out I was on 2017’s BBC Woman’s Hour Women in Music Power List. It felt surreal,

Beyoncé was number 1. My boyfriend said that meant he was 39 spots away from being Jay-Z.

The worst partof my job…

Is that sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through the amount of music that is out there.

The best part of my job…

Is seeing the effect music can have on someone. I’ll hear from friends how a particular playlist has helped them through a tough moment.

After work…

I’m often out at gigs. I recently saw The 1975 at the O2 Arena which was mindblowingly good. Other nights, I’ll go out for dinner with friends. When I stay in, I’ll watch Modern Family and make a quick meal, something like a kale salad. I’m pretty good at switching off – I try not to look at my emails or do more work. But occasionally, if a single is releasing late at night, it’s necessary. I’m asleep by 10pm.

My Plan B: Ballet teacher

I danced classical ballet all through my childhood and teenage years, but gave it up when I went to university. It’s always felt like something I’ll return to one day. It’d be nice to open my own studio – at the moment, all of my dancing happens in the kitchen.

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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Hannah Keegan

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