Women in Music: Geneva Gamblin, International Marketing Assistant at Atlantic Records

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I want to start this by saying I am so lucky to be where I am. It has felt like a long journey to get here but really, I’m only getting started. That being said, I want to go on record of saying I was extremely lucky to never have the horrible intern experience that gets installed into our brains the minute the word “internship” comes up. Growing up, I wanted to do a lot of things but the one thing that always remained consistent was my love of music. So when it came time to go to school for something, I did a Google search for any school offering a program in music industry and applied – without even visiting first. I love singing and creating music but knew I didn’t have the guts to get on stage and perform, so I started learning about the industry to try to find my place there. I had my first internship my senior year undergrad and it was such an eye opening experience to see what a label really does and how this industry works. People have this notion that labels are this big bad thing but I think they forget that a label isn’t a big anonymous figure – it’s made up of people – real human beings.

After graduating from undergrad, I had this naïve notion that “I have a degree, I did an internship, and I’m going to get a job now” and when that didn’t happen, I had to go back to square one. I was given an ultimatum of get a government job or go back to school. In my mind getting a government job felt like giving up on my dream when there was an option to go back to school and learn more about the industry because if I’m being honest with myself, I wasn’t ready for any job after one internship.

My earliest memories of childhood are all tied to music. I used to wake up in the middle of the night to catch Madonna’s music videos and was singing along to “Diamonds and Pearls” before I could really talk. I have such a love for music and I knew that I wanted to work in it. I write music, came up with video treatments, tried to copy my favorite artists’ choreography, anything involving music – I wanted to be a part of.

Finding my first industry job definitely took a while. I graduated with my Masters in December of 2015, started my first temp job in the industry at the end of April, and started my first full time position in the industry December of 2016. Safe to say that timing is definitely everything as well as staying persistent and never giving up if it’s truly what you want to do.

Looking at the old model of “start in the mail room and work your way up” doesn’t quite make sense any more. Not to say it doesn’t happen that way, but to even intern at most places you need to receive college credit so I definitely recommend going to school. I chose to get my Masters because as stated before, I was very naïve when I first finished. I also didn’t know what I wanted to do other than “work in music” so it took a bit to really figure that out.

My career is just getting started so aside from the typical growing pains of life and trying to start a career I can’t say I’ve had too many hardships just yet. I would like to say to other young women out there to work hard for what’s important to you and never jeopardize your dreams to get there. That’s advice that was given to me and I can honestly say there’s no better feeling than knowing you got to where you are on your own merit. Not to say I don’t have people to thank for all the help and advice and mentoring and taking chances on me thus far – but ultimately it will be you that gets the job. It’s important for everyone but especially for women. Some more advice I’d like to offer is the old cliché of networking but networking properly. I hate to affirm that it’s who you know not what you know – but what you know matters and so does being a genuine person.

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