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​Creative side hustles: How DLMDD’s Erin McCullough harmonizes work and leading a choir


By Erin McCullough, Senior brand music consultant

April 3, 2024 | 4 min read

DLMDD’s senior brand music consultant, Erin McCullough, founded a commercial choir, ChoirCo. She explains how she runs the project alongside her career.


Erin McCullough leading ChoirCo / Liz Isles, 2022

My specialism is in sonic branding. I’ve been doing it for four years with music agency DLMDD. I did a business degree but didn’t really have a clue about the advertising world. I didn’t even understand what the word agency meant. I’m from Belfast, and I didn’t know anyone who worked in the ad industry. But becoming a music consultant (my first role) appealed to me.

It’s a real mix of having to use your brain as a marketing strategist, producing music, getting into recording studios, and working with composers and musicians. It’s fun.

I sang tons of acapella music in my more youthful years. Acapella is when you sing without instruments; I was heavily into that. Over lockdown, no one was allowed to sing. It was banned because it was so dangerous. When the lockdowns eased in 2021, there was a hunger from people not only to get back into singing but to create new experiences and to make more connections. I was also looking for a choir to join – there wasn’t a single choir in London that had what I was looking for.

I took a bit of a plunge, booked a rehearsal room, set up a one-page website, and launched auditions. I didn’t know if anyone would audition in the first place. But, in a room that only had space for 30 people, we had 70 auditions.

We’ve grown from 30 people to 130 in two years. It’s an acapella choir, there are no instruments. We don’t sing with any accompaniment; to my knowledge, it hasn’t been done before on this scale.

That sounds quite intense. But the whole point of it was that normal people who are very good singers and very talented musicians but who don’t work in music. They now have a weekly outlet to meet like-minded people and learn something.

Every six months, we perform at the EartH Theatre in Hackney. I write a lot of the arrangements, and we have an incredible small team of music directors, arrangers and producers, too.

Working in the advertising industry and having marketing and branding experience has shaped the way that I’ve run ChoirCo from the beginning. From the very start, I wanted this to be a business. The way you would sign up to go to a yoga class, you’re signing up for a choir session.

The other side of this is that, within production on a lot of DLMDD projects, we need voices or choirs.

We had a project that came up with Dunelm last year, with singers re-recording You’re The One That I Want from the musical Grease. It was an interesting challenge because I had to coach the actors to sing and direct a small children’s choir too. More recently, we re-recorded it with ChoirCo singers.

It is satisfying that years of choir directing are becoming useful in my day-to-day work environment.

I’m hoping that in the future, we can become even more symbiotic and that ChoirCo will continue to grow and service more productions across adland and beyond.

As told to Sam Bradley. ChoirCo is performing at EartH Theatre Hackney on Saturday, June 8. Visit for more information.

Agencies Agency Culture What Do They Do All Day?

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