EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: CelebMix talks to TourLife CEO Harry Parslow

When he was about 13 Harry Parslow the CEO of TourLife watched the  ‘Up In Smoke Tour’ DVD. It’s fair to say it changed his life. “It gave me an insight into what life on tour looked like for my soon to be favourite rappers. I loved seeing the behind the scenes content, the hilarious outtakes and I the way it was put together just made me feel like I was there. It gave me access to a world that usually is kept well behind closed doors and it was where the seed was first planted for me to pursue a career in Hip Hop & ultimately touring. ”

I wanted to replicate that experience for other fans just like the first time I watched that DVD.

Soon after watching the DVD, Harry felt he needed to go watch a live show first hand. For his 14th birthday he got tickets to see Xzibit live in Bristol. “He was my favorite rapper from the DVD and I was so excited to finally see one of my favorite artists live.”

 He arrived at the O2 Academy in Bristol hours before the show and was the first in the line. The tour bus pulled up outside for soundcheck shortly after and although Xzibit wasn’t there, he recognized (as many music fans will relate to)  Xzibit’s security guard & DJ.  

“I asked it was OK to get a picture with them and they kindly did. We ended up talking to him about some of our favorite Xzibit songs and he laughed that we left school early to come to the concert.”

“I tweeted to Xzibit something along the lines of “Your security guard is the best, thanks for being so nice”. Harry explains.” A little while later his security came out to the front of the line with a t-shirt for me and my friend after he heard about the tweet.  At the end of the show, we were told that we could have a picture with Xzibit. . It was such a surreal day and I just knew that I wanted to pursue touring from that day on. I worked on the idea non stop. I watched all the tour videos I could, I still have a stack of DVDs that I would buy from a second hand shop.”

I still remember Xzibit saying “You skipped school to come to the concert? Your momma’s going to beat your ass” 

 Still only 14, even though Harry knew what job he wanted  to do, he still had to focus on his studies and pick his GCSE options for what he would go on to study for the next two years of school. “I chose to study music as one option and the other options were media & film. It was only when I was 17 at college that I really put the plan into action. On the first day of college we were told that we could borrow cameras from the college to use for our projects. That day I booked out a camera and got a train to the O2 Academy where Mac Miller was playing. “

One of the venue staff came out to speak to me. Instead of being hostile, he gave me a few tips on how to get proper access and do things the right way.

Although Mac Miller’s tour manager didn’t end up being as kind as Xzibit’s. ” I ended up waiting by the tour buses in hope of getting some video footage. After being told multiple times to get lost by the tour manager. I didn’t leave at that point as I didn’t want to go home with nothing and it paid off. The support act ‘Rockie Fresh’ came out the side door and as he walked past I shouted “Can I get an interview with you Rockie?”. Somehow he said yes and I did an interview with him in the back of his tour van. That was my first ever taste of ‘working’ with an artist. “

That brief taste was enough for Harry, he then set up TourLife. “When I got the call from Xzibit inviting me out on tour with him that was like no other feeling. Probably the best day of my life.”

We’re on a journey to become the #1 touring company in the world.

“My family have always been supportive (although back when we were making no money, they did make me get a couple of real jobs to fund it).” He says”  Some of my friends definitely mocked it in the beginning, I remember one of our friends sent me a fake email about touring the world with a huge band and that I just needed to send a video of me explaining ‘Why I Deserve the Job’. I so nearly fell for it. But on the whole, everyone has been very supportive.”

Since he set up TourLife, Harry has worked with some big names. “We’ve been fortunate enough to work with a really wide range of artists from Jax Jones to MistaJam, T-Pain to Annie Mac” He hopes to continue to grow his business “I want to bring more jobs to Weston-super-Mare, expand the company into new territory .When it comes to touring, I want us to be able to take care of everything under one roof.This will make the lives of artists not only easier, but cheaper as well – we love the artists we work with and hope to continue adding to the list. His ultimate artist he’d love to work with? “Dr Dre!”

There’s been so many proud moments; from getting our first office, calling my friends to quit their jobs to go full time.

Harry works with a small team. “We’ve got a great team and everyone plays their position well. Although we only have a small staff of 4, we’re growing year on year and each month is better than the last. I couldn’t ask for a better team and we will be adding to the team before the end of the year.”

 He’s all about giving people chances and opportunities. “Our latest hire, Alex was on placement with us as part of his music business studies and ended up working in London with one of the most renowned music management companies. He now heads the brand partnership side of the business. Whilst Tom (Video) and Connor (Photo) are some of my closest friends and have created jobs for themselves by constantly working hard & producing phenomenal work. “

My best advice is start today.

His advice for people just starting out?Invest in themselves.  “Don’t be afraid to spend money on yourself. Invest your time & money into yourself and it will come back 10x. Research everything to do with the job you want.  Reach out to companies, get in touch with us on our social @TourLifeHQ, we’re always willing to help when we can.  

I left the meeting feeling the most inspired I’ve ever felt to take TourLife from small business to industry powerhouse.

  Meeting Vibe Tickets CEO Luke Massie last year was a source of inspiration to Harry.

“I left the meeting feeling the most inspired I’ve ever felt to take TourLife from small business to industry powerhouse. He can get anyone in the room excited, he’s so passionate about his business and he’s always thinking long term. For someone who is just 25, featured on the Forbes list & constantly taking his business to the next level – that’s where I want to be 4 years from now.”

Harry is humble too, he knows the pit falls of the industry and like everyone else has made mistakes.” there is one project that we messed up on a couple of years ago that we just weren’t experienced enough. We bit off more than we could chew and we hurt a relationship that we worked so hard to build. Sometimes learning when to say no is a skill.”

“Take opportunities even when you aren’t fully ready because the truth is…. you will never be fully ready, when you are first starting!”

We asked him why he was so passionate about touring. His response was one of someone who clearly loves his job and found his calling at a young age and wasn’t scared to go out and seek his dreams.”Touring for me is a job like no other. There aren’t many jobs where you can travel across the world, watch incredible music artists & each day is different.  It reminds me why I wanted to get involved in touring in the first place.”

He has two quotes that Mistajam said to him when they worked together that have stuck with him!  “Always do your research” – & also  “Don’t drink too much”


Want to know more about working in the touring industry? You can tweet Harry and his team at @TourLifeHQ. Is working on tour’s something you’d love to do? Let us know over on @CelebMix!

Written by Kelly McFarland

Likes to post in black and white on Instagram. Avid Tea drinker, preferably Yorkshire Tea or Lipton Iced Tea and lover of Pop Culture. Contact: kelly@celebmix.com