“Luck favors the prepared mind” is a phrase a music business professor of mine would repeat again and again, that has stuck with me ever since.
How I find myself working at one of my favorite labels in NYC is definitely a story of persistence, timing, and hard work. I moved to New York about 6 months out of college, after spending a summer waitressing at a greasy pizza shop in Virginia. Throughout my time studying music business at James Madison University, I was hungry to get involved in music in any way I could. I helped book concerts on campus, became the music director of a rad college radio station, became a street team rep for Sony/RED, interned under a Live Nation booking agent, interned at a couple of venues, helped my friends put on shows in basements, and supported the local DIY music circuit happening in Virginia. It had been apparent to me from a young age that I needed my life to somehow blend work and music.
I moved to New York with no job, a little money saved up, an already solid established group of friends, and the ability to waitress while I applied for music jobs, which is what I did (and sometimes still do – Sunday brunch shifts make for great extra cash!). Eventually after interviewing and following up with many places, I landed an assistant/front desk position at a music publishing and artist management company. As I grew within this company and their roster of colossal-sized artists, I had a compelling and lingering desire to be working with the kinds of artists I had spent years spinning on my college radio station and booking for coffee-shop sized stages. I began going to shows most nights of the week at venues like Silent Barn, Shea Stadium BK, Mercury Lounge, and Death By Audio (rip!), and met some pretty amazing people.
I knew it was time to move on when the pieces began falling together and after over a month of interviewing, M+P offered to create a new position for me. This was again an opportunity that presented itself to me and I had to be ready to make a change and follow my gut. I came on full time as their tour marketing coordinator, helping make sure our artists have everything they need on the road–whether it is shipping extra merch stock overnight or liaising between radio promoters and our tour managers that we have the correct names on a band’s guest list. I also get to do a lot of creative tour marketing and graphic design, which can be really fun! It’s still a surreal experience getting to work with some of my favorite artists on the planet, and I hope never to become jaded. The work ethic of not only our artists, but the staff standing behind those artists, is something I find constantly inspiring.
The best advice I have for those looking to do the same is this: let your passion steer you and don’t look back. And always be paying attention! I was able to have my love for music drive me in the right direction and put me in situations and experiences early on that eventually would build upon each other, leaving me ready to rise to the challenge when it finally presented itself. I wouldn’t have been presented the right opportunity though, if I wasn’t already living and putting myself out there in New York. You need to be able to prove to others that you’re serious about working in this industry. I know there’s other music cities and towns out there, but I’m happy to find myself living and breathing the New York City music landscape. There’s just something really infectious about it. The last piece of advice I’d give someone is to always send physical thank you notes. It’s a very small gesture that can speak volumes about how you do business.