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Cardiff character: Rhys Morris

Rhys Morris

At a time when graduates are riddled with fears of endless unemployment, it is rare to come across a confident young business mind succeeding in the real world.

However, Cardiff graduate Rhys Morris singlehandedly runs his own business TRMmusic Agency, managing bookings for venues and musicians across south Wales.

Rejecting the usual agent-musician relationship, 24-year-old Rhys works with a budget and sources the acts from his “little black book”, which is extensive. “I work five or six days a week, and I can pay my rent and totally support myself doing what I like,” he says, smiling.

How to succeed in business

Born in Swansea and blessed with a musical flair, Rhys started by managing his youth choir’s foreign tours, though his gift for professional rigour often caused him to be compared to “a certain European dictatorship,” he cringes.

Rhys studied music at Cardiff before working his way up to managing Vulcan Lounge. In early March, a business plan he had been brewing came up when discussing the lounge’s future as a live music venue.

“One day,” he recalls, “it was just an idea; the next I was running a business.”

The company name TRM is his own initials (though, nobody ever uses the Thomas) and he has his name printed on the back of his smart phone. It is clear that Rhys markets himself as a brand.

The Peeping Toms

Rhys is also the lead singer of band The Peeping Toms, who mainly cover popular hits.

A night at the opera

Driven, charming and a dynamic storyteller, Rhys’ confidence perhaps comes from his performance background. He trained as a bass-baritone and still takes part in productions, recently leading the CU Operatic Society’s premiere of Guy Withers’ Pride and Prejudice.

There is not much dour and Mr Darcy-like about Rhys, who is blond haired, relaxed and full of laughter. In fact, when he landed the part, he recalls, “I just shrugged and thought, okay, totally not realising who this Darcy guy was. My housemate, who grew up with two older sisters, sat me down and explained that he was actually the greatest lead romantic character, you know, ever.” He admits sheepishly, “I’d never read the book or seen the film. It was a nice surprise.”

The music man

Rhys is also the lead singer in local Cardiff cover band, The Peeping Toms, which can often be a bonus when a singer drops out at work. “Instead of panicking about trying to find a replacement, I can just stick up my hand and say, ‘I’ll do it.’”

Recent studies have shown music graduates to be some of the most easily employed, with the Royal Academy of Music sporting an astounding 100% employment record within six months of graduating. Rhys is not surprised by this. “Firstly, as a musician you are used to performing on your own. But at the same time, you are also used to working in an ensemble or orchestra. So you have both independent organisation and team playing, which is crucial to any job.”

Rhys sees himself moving to London in the future, but for now his work and his life is in Cardiff. And for advice for young professionals who may be just starting out, he simply says: “Business cards.”