Jessie Massabni is no stranger to WIM - she is the Membership Director that services all of our nearly 2000 members! We sat down with Jessie to learn about her history and hear her advice for advancing as a Woman in Music.
Tell us about yourself: How did you get involved in the industry and how did you get involved with WIM?
I’ve always been passionate about music. It’s fascinating to see how music can bring people together, create memories and no matter what language you speak and where you are in the world it is a powerful medium that connects us all.
I started writing songs when I was living in Canada and decided to move to New York to pursue my passion. Being new in the city, WIM played a big part in my life. I joined WIM about two years ago and was amazed by all the opportunities the organization offers and how it truly focuses on its members with a core mission to help and see everyone thrive in their career. As a member, I was so grateful for the knowledge I gained and the connections I made along the way. I was excited for the opportunity to join the Women In Music team, seeing the impact it had on me I wanted to be part of something bigger that can help others.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - What are your top three tips?
Work smart - have a clear/specific vision of what you want to achieve. Create daily goals and never be afraid to make that call or knock on doors you'll be surprised how far this can bring you. Make quick decisions and trust your instinct.
Patience - everything takes time and connecting all the little dots you create along the way will bring you closer to your goal.
Persevere - no matter how hard sometimes it gets never give up. Keep going even though you don’t know if you are on the right track; keep going, everything will make sense as long as you persevere, have patience and work smart.
Last but not least, support one another - helping someone can go a long way without expecting it.
How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
My experiences helped me grow, gain strength and confidence, which lead me to set a clear vision of my goals and brought me closer to my purpose. No matter what I am going through I am always learning and that itself is a blessing.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
There will always be challenges to overcome at different phases of a career. They are part of the journey that determines if you are ready for what’s to come. One challenge was finding my true purpose and that clear/specific vision of what I wanted while staying authentic and true to who I am. Basically knowing your worth and value without settling for less.
Another challenge is making fast decisions. I’m a perfectionist and I tend to dwell on it. I’ve taught and pushed myself to decide in the present moment and surprisingly it always ends up being the best decision. When you make a fast decision you follow your heart and don’t have time to overthink so you basically are being true to yourself and save so much time which is the most valuable asset in life. Some choices might not lead you to the result you want but it’ll teach you a lot so you can never fail. You always win in some ways.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
Always be humble, grateful and curious.
What has been your favorite thing about being apart of this industry and WIM?
I’ve always been told that the music industry is competitive but what I’ve discovered is the contrary. It is a community that thrives on collaborating and helping each other, which is definitely my favorite thing about being part of this industry and WIM.
Who inspires you, and why?
People! Everyone I meet inspires me in some ways.
What do you look forward to accomplishing in the next year? What do you need to achieve that goal? (this of this is an ask of anyone reading).
I’m working on a few exciting songwriting projects and I’m always looking to collaborate with passionate artists and producers while continuing on being part of and working with WIM as it expands and helps members around the world. I’m looking forward to help and inspire more and more people in this coming year.
You can follow Jessie at:
"Speak it, Make a Plan, and get it done!" This is the mantra and life philosophy of Houston native Erika Smith. In business and in life, her goal is simple — to create new waves and to ride the ones that head her way.
Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
I've learned to look inward with regards to success. What are my goals? How can I do my best? If I always look at other people to define my success, then I'll never feel successful. Maybe it's not ‘the industry way’ of looking at it, but it's the way I've been able to practice self-care in an environment that puts self last.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry. What are your top three tips?
A)If you demand seat at the table, you better be ready to bring it. I know for me, I'm so used to ‘fighting’ for my seat at the table that I forget about the real process. What you do at the table matters just as much, if not more, than fighting for a seat at the table.
B) Give yourself permission to “SELL YOURSELF!!!!” Men do this easily and they tend to speak more highly of themselves. We tend to talk down our accomplishments and overlook our talents.
C) It's okay if you can't do it all at the SAME TIME. We can do whatever we put our mind to but maybe part of doing it all is not doing it at the same time. I'm at that place now in my career.
Interesting question. I'm sure it's all played a role, but it's kind of hard to pinpoint. For example, when I worked at the Talent Booking Agency, I shined because I know the Gospel Music world really well. I'm a follower of Christ from Houston, Texas, and prior to moving to NYC, I worked at a faith-based school. I never would have thought to connect the three (or four) but those experiences helped me to shine.
My biggest challenge would be with myself — my mental. I believe that if you (I) can get your mind right, the rest is MUCH EASIER!
Most valuable?? That's a tough one. I guess the most recent valuable lesson I've learned is to not be afraid of the ‘NO.’ The Nos will lead to a ‘YES!’
What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face in your region?
There’s not a lot of women in certain sectors of music, so the empathy for something is lacking. I lucked up a bit at my agency. I was the only woman agent and they were very accommodating and supportive with my pregnancy. That's rare in this business.
My former students and my son. I want them to see that ALL things are truly possible. If it can happen for me, it can definitely happen for them!
What do you look forward to accomplishing at your company in the next year?
This should answer the next two questions. I left Universal Attractions Agency to focus on motherhood. That time allowed me to really think about my first love, which is event planning, producing, and programming. I plan to focus my time and resources into that. It looks like working for a company, pursuing independent projects,and just getting MY BUTT OUT THERE!!!
You can follow Erika on:
Lindsay Herr is the founder and director of The Wanderlvst, a boutique Public Relations, Artist Management, and Consulting company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She oversees a roster of artists in their career development, campaign creation, and media relationships. In addition to The Wanderlvst she is the co-creator of we are SUPERNATURAL, an immerse learning platform for deeply curious minds.
Success, to me, is freedom. Freedom to do what I love every day. It's being able to define the life I want to lead and the person I want to be. It's balancing work and play, and knowing the difference. Success, for me, is both the big and small accomplishments. It’s as simple as receiving a supportive email and as big as landing a massive deal.
Make meaningful connections, take failure as fuel to keep moving forward and stay enthusiastic about it; balance work and play.
Adding one more because it's important — remain humble and grounded.
My career in music has been at the hands of flow and fate. I’ve moved forward through synchronistic experiences and encounters throughout my career, which has led to success in business and expansion for myself and my company.
For example, it goes all the way back to how I landed in the music industry. I was heading to New York one summer in college to take a course at Parson’s School of Design, as I was an advertising major. One week before moving here, I was informed the class I enrolled in was full. I had my housing sorted and everything else lined up. Moments later —actual moments— I received an email from a boutique hip-hop management company, whose roster goes back to the days of The Notorious B.I.G., asking me if I’d like to come intern in New York for the summer. They had received my resume from my marketing internship leader the year before. It was an instant ‘yes,’ as I never imagined myself taking my biggest passion and turning it into career. Eight years later, I am grateful to say that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. This, coupled with hard work, has been the ultimate adventure. The rest of the journey is still unfolding.
Imposter syndrome. It seems to be a recurring theme for many women and one I hear often. I sometimes need to remind myself of how far I’ve come and how grateful I am for all the opportunities and successes I’ve accomplished on my own.
Create your own lane. I’ve worked for big and small companies and I realized that in order to move at the speed I wanted to, I had to go out and make the opportunities happen for me one way or the other.
Women in leadership roles. Certainly there are many women trailblazing, but it is still very much a male-dominated industry and boys club.
My friends! I am thankful to be surrounded by such amazing humans doing incredible things every day. Staying in creative communities is the ultimate fuel to keep creating, building, and growing. And this is definitely out of the lane of music, but I'm quite nerdy and am very inspired by Elon Musk. As an entrepreneurial spirit, futurist, and generalist, I look up to his forward thinking ideas.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at The Wanderlvst in the next year?
Tell us more about how you got involved in The Wanderlvst. What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
I started my company almost three years ago as a passion project while working at Warner Music Group, doing press for acts like Kygo and Thomas Jack while they were getting their start. The business blueprint is still unfolding. I like to take it day-by-day and I love the creative freedom I have to collaborate and work alongside others who are as passionate about creativity and music as I am. Not sure there is an ultimate goal or destination in mind, but as long as I can wake up each day, enjoying the work I do, make a meaningful impact on our society, and evolve both personally and professionally along the way, I'll be happy with that.
For more info Lindsay's work, please see:
Nicole Holoboff currently works at United Talent Agency and has been working in the music industry since graduating from Whitman College in the wheat fields of Washington State. Though she was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong, New York City has always been her home, and her career in music and entertainment has brought her back to stay. Though she still has much to learn about the industry, mentorship, and professional development she has been lucky enough to meet some incredible women achieving fantastic success in music who inspire her everyday. Nicole has been a vice chair with WIM since January 2017 and values deeply the community that exists when women stick together in male-dominated industries, as well as the progress that can be achieved when women and men work together to achieve the advancement of women in this industry at every level.
I define success as achieving a balance between personal and professional happiness. As I grow up I see how many young women strive to find this balance as they work to maintain relationships (platonic and romantic) and strive for mental well-being. I have come to understand more than ever why this goal is so challenging to achieve, but also why it is a worthwhile goal to have that inspires you to work hard every day.
A) Develop meaningful connections early, go beyond surface-level networking and really talk with people who you introduce yourself to.
B) Always follow through on your word.
C) Never have an inflated ego.
Every person I have ever worked with has taught me so much about work ethic, regarding hard work, being a leader, or keeping sane under pressure. Keeping notes, journals, and reflections about everything you experience while working and coming up in this industry has proven immensely helpful in digesting the information I consume daily, especially when processing emotionally/intellectually intense interactions that are tough to make sense of in the moment.
Having faith in myself and my personal direction has proven difficult. It is tough to remain confident when your goals or hopes are not yet fully formed, especially in an industry and city (NYC) where every person has an armor on that keeps you from seeing the real them and their insecurities. Holding on to your ability to know what is best for you and your goals while remaining honest with yourself is most important, and most challenging.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
Get a mentor, or if you’re lucky, multiple mentors of various ages. Never think you can do anything on your own or without talking things through with those you love and respect. Always ask for advice and honest feedback where appropriate and acceptable.
Women being recognized for their work (professionally and personally – call your mother!!) and women in executive roles and leadership positions throughout companies. Similarly, women need to stand up for each other from small microaggressions to executive level salary negotiations as we stand in line together. I strongly believe women acting like men in the workplace does not further women in male dominated industries. Women must demand the space to be women without sacrificing what that means to her, and professional spaces must acclimate accordingly. This relates to childcare and respecting mothers (and fathers) who have children at home, or who need to bring their babies to the office. The rules need to bend to become more inclusive across the board, and it comes back to respecting and valuing women’s work.
My mother, sister, and father.
Success is such a personal concept — we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
If you can look back at a specific length of time — let's say a year — and see positive change, growth, and accomplishment, then to me that's success. I feel like there's a stigma that 'success' has to be something very huge and groundbreaking. But there's success that happens every day. Everyone deserves a pat on the back for any win — big or small. Success is always working toward a bigger picture.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry? What are your top three tips?
Don't be afraid or discouraged about the word 'no'; Work to meet your goals a little bit each day; live fearlessly and tell yourself 'You're a boss' every morning!
I contribute a lot of my success from never stopping and always finding something to put my energy toward — constantly moving from one opportunity to the next.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you've faced?
Probably one of the biggest challenges I've gone through is losing one of my closest co-workers in a traumatic car accident. Shortly following, everyone at the company lost their jobs. About two months after that, our former CEO unexpectedly passed away.
What is the most valuable lesson you've learned?
Life will always be full of challenges. Don't label something as 'difficult.' Difficult implies it can't be done. A challenge is something you overcome and work hard to achieve. Facing all your challenges makes new ones less intimidating.
Challenging the old music executive mindset.
Beyonce!! QUEEN BEY! I'm just astounded at her ability to perform. Her old apartment is right across from my office, so if I'm ever feeling like I need a wake-up call, I go and look at it. Her gold fence is still there and visible from my floor so whenever I see it I'm reminded to push through my work and get shiiii done!
What do you look forward to accomplishing at KLL MGMT in the next year?
One of my artists, Best Behavior, is about to release their new EP this fall. We've received a lot of excitement and interest surrounding it, so I'm stoked for what's in store on the sophomore LP.
Tell us more about how you got involved in KLL MGMT? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
I started my own MGMT and consulting business after my former CEO passed. I felt like I needed to be my own boss and be accountable for my success. I love, love, love working with artists and helping develop their careers. It's been a very rewarding experience to see each client's growth and seeing growth in myself as an artist manager, as well.
A deep, knowledgeable, and insightful woman, Jazzmyn "RED" Rodrigues impressed us with more than just her music in advance of the upcoming Women in Music Boston Spotify showcase. Motivation, influences, and family are just a few of the things we spoke about during our recent interview. Read below for excerpts from our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
KL: Just to start, could you tell me a little bit about where you grew up?
JR: I’m originally from Massachusetts. I lived in New York for a time as a child, and then came back, but I’ve been a resident of Brockton, Taunton...I just say I’m from Mass; I’ve been kind of nomadic in that sense. I grew up in a pretty musically-inclined family. My dad rapped and my aunt rapped and sang. So they were two really big influences for me. I started rapping when I was seven years old. As soon as I could make sentences, I was starting to write rhymes. One of the funniest things is that my friends from middle school will pick me up, even now, and say 'Remember when you used to rap at the school dances?' I sold my first mixtape in middle school. It was an interesting childhood.
KL: Music has always been a big part of your life then.
JR: Absolutely. I’ve found that I’ve always been a person who kind of looked around at the world. Things have tested me and I’ve wanted to talk about them. When I talk about them, I’m bringing them to the surface for other people who maybe can’t communicate how they feel, what’s going on in their community, or what’s going on in their own bodies or own lives. So it was a release in many ways at first but then it became a vessel of communication for anyone who could relate.
KL: So it sounds like you’re very purposeful about your music then. You see it having a purpose connecting with people?
JR: People say to me, 'How do you go about writing?' Usually, I have to be in the middle of an intense emotion. It’s usually when somebody makes me angry, upset, when something hurts me... it always comes from a place of emotion. Across the board, humans can relate to emotion. You might not be able to communicate verbally, but someone knows when someone else is hurt or angry. You can feel that on a human level. Even sometimes when I don’t mean to write things with a purpose, it comes out because the emotion is the driving force behind it.
KL: You mentioned that your music responds to the world around you. Do you find that it’s been responding to the current political moment?
JR: Yeah. Outside of music, I have my Bachelor's degree in communications and media studies, and I have a minor in Africana studies. I was a pretty woke kid — my mom was a political science major. The whole time she was going through school, she was teaching me. She had me when she was 19. So growing up, I had this extra history teacher in my house. And my dad, he was a street dude, and he passed on that knowledge to me. So growing up, while I was cultivating my skills, my singing and my rapping, I was always tied to the community. I was always tied to what was going on and able to view things through different lenses. Tupac is my idol. His music...I gravitated to it. When you have those influences, your music has to reflect that, because it’s part of you. I had to talk about these things because they moved me so much. I have a song that talks about police brutality and violence in the city. How did we get here? When you have these things that have happened over the past couple of years, you look at Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Philadno Castile, Jordan Davis. I have black brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, cousins. I have to talk about this, because it’s my life at the end of the day.
KL: It’s a really interesting moment. You have some musicians who are choosing to engage, like Kendrick Lamar, but then you have so many who are choosing to ignore it.
JR: I’m really concerned when it comes to women in hip-hop too, because there are no mainstream women in hip hop who are actually talking about what’s going on. We just had a women’s march. There’s no female rapper to address that and that’s problematic for our girls at the end of the day.
KL: Why do you think there aren’t any mainstream women in hip-hop addressing these kinds of issues?
JR: I think that hip-hop is a very male-dominated world. It’s always been misogynistic in some ways. So I think with that mixture, it makes it not only difficult for a woman to get into the industry, but even more difficult for a woman who has an opinion, who is talking about something, to get that backing behind her. It’s a society problem and then it’s a music problem, and then it’s a genre issue. I can only speak to my own genre, but looking to hip-hop, we had Queen Latifah, we had MC Lyte, Lauryn Hill, and various other female rappers who were very conscious in the '80s and '90s, and then we really got away from that. You haven’t seen any major female rappers who are popular and who have a message in a long time.
KL: Yeah, I feel like it’s been like that across genres too. The topics musicians have been addressing on a mainstream level has become less serious.
JR: In the '90s, you had what we have now —the Cardi Bs and the Nicki Minajs, but you also had the Lil Kims and Foxy Browns and that kind of thing. You had choices. Right now, these little girls don’t have it.
KL: Where do you see your music headed in the next few years?
JR: I’m hoping all the way up! It’s a more difficult road for me, because I’ve chosen not to bend or conform to what the world might want me to be. I’ve chosen to be who I am. I’ve decided for myself to not be pigeonholed. This can make things a little more difficult because people can hear me one day doing Positive Vibes Only, but another day another emotion hits me and a real hunger comes out in the track. I know it’ll be more difficult because of the path I’ve chosen.
KL: At the same time, being true to yourself is so essential, especially if you’re trying to make the kind of music you’re describing, conscious hip hop and conscious rap, it’s essential to stay true to yourself.
JR: Honestly, that part is easy for me personality-wise. Respect how I feel, respect my ideas, and that’s fine. It translates into the music, and it translates into my stance on my career. If you like me, I love you. But if you don’t, that’s okay.
KL: Is there anything else in particular that you wanted to talk about?
JR: How much of a driving force my brother was for me. He was murdered in November. He was a music artist out of Rhode Island and he was really kind of on his way. He was doing his thing, and that was taken away from him, and he was taken away from us. At a very crucial time for me, when I wanted to give up music, he took me under his wing and pushed me. So I always like to make sure that he gets his shine as long as I do, because without him, I wouldn’t have gotten here. I wouldn’t have been doing the Women in Music Boston Showcase at Spotify if he hadn’t come through for me years ago to say, ‘You have talent, and you’re going to do something with this whether you like it or not, because I say say so.’ That’s something I always like to mention. That’s my gift back to him for everything he’s done for me. His name is Carlos ‘Lokolos’ Rivera.
WIM LA is proud to team up with ASCAP to honor Women Behind the Music on October 5th at Bardot in Hollywood! Honorees will include Ashley Calhoun (VP of A&R, Pulse), Ericka Coulter (Snr Director A&R, Epic Records), and Kirby Lauryen (singer-songwriter). Additional details are below. WIM LA would like to cordially invite our members to attend!
This event is invite only. To express your interest in attending please sign up HERE:
*Please note that you will receive a direct invitation from ASCAP that will require you to RSVP to save your spot.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Last week, Kristina Latino spoke by phone with Marcela Cruz, a Revere-based musician who’ll be performing in Women in Music’s upcoming Spotify Showcase (Boston) and we would like to share such interview with our readers.
Born and raised in Lowell, MA, Marcela moved closer to Boston partially to make it easier for her to work more closely with producers in the area. Speaking with Marcela at once put me at ease and made me want to impress her; she has that rare combination of confidence and humility that makes it clear that she both knows where she’s going and is thankful for the community that supports her. Marcela has had an amazing year; after releasing her first EP last year, she’s been touring, performing, and making more and more of a name for herself in town. She has a tringle called "Fight For It" coming out in the next month. During our conversation, Marcela and Kristina talked about her musical style and influences, being vulnerable in your lyrics and onstage, and the purpose of music.
The interview below has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Kristina Latino: If you could describe the kind of music that you make, how would you describe it?
Marcela Cruz: I would describe it as music that makes you feel good. It has R&B, kind of pop, splashes of other genres in there...but lyrically and sonically, I think parts take you back to the '90s. I am very much a product of the '90s, so you definitely hear my influences vocally in a lot of the riffs that I use.
KL: Who would you describe as your musical influences? I read on your website that you named some women with really big voices, and you have a really big voice yourself, so I’m wondering who influences the way you make music.
MC: Sure; I’m definitely really big on big voices. I grew up listening to a lot of Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera...I absolutely love all of her riffs and I think that’s one factor that’s the same across all of the vocalists that I listened to growing up. Also JoJo – those are definitely huge influences.
KL: I grew up in Worcester, and when JoJo started getting big, everyone was like “Oh my god, Massachusetts girl!”
MC Yeah, I love her – I wish she were bigger now. I feel like she’s so underrated, but she’s amazing.
KL: Yeah, I really agree. Do you write a lot of your own music, or collaborate with others to write it?
MC: I do both. I love writing my own music for sure, and it’s a skill that I’m still working on. I had the pleasure of working with a lot of great songwriters in the area, as well, and that’s helped me grow. On this last project that I released, about half of the songs on there were songs I had collaborated with other songwriters on.
KL: How do you think your music responds to your life experiences? Do you write from a place of what you know, or do you write and kind of explore things that you think about? What comes into your writing?
MC: It definitely extends more from my own personal experiences. It starts with one thought and keeps going from there. I would say the majority of my songs are from personal experiences, but there are the occasional songs that I’ve written that are based on friends’ situations or random thoughts that cross my mind.
KL: Are there specific topics that you find yourself returning to again and again, or does it change a lot as your life changes?
MC: I definitely gravitate toward writing a lot of love songs or heartbreak songs, which is funny, because recently I wanted to challenge myself and not write about love. Love has been taking a backseat more recently. So we’re releasing a project in the next month that focuses more on my singing career, and it’s more of a motivating but also personal approach that I took for writing this project. It doesn’t focus on love at all but that’s definitely something that I always find myself writing about.
KL: Working on a project that’s more focused on a career, something that’s unique about being an artist or a musician is that it’s both empowering to share your art with people and be on stage and perform, but at the same time its’ very vulnerable to share that part of yourself. How do you feel about being a performer and sharing personal material? How do you find that interacts with your life?
MC: It’s something I’m still working on. I know at the beginning I was writing a lot of personal material and the first thought was, ‘Oh my gosh, this person is going to know this is about them,’ or maybe writing something I don’t want my mom to hear or don’t want her to see me perform (though it’s never anything too extreme). I think I’ve come to find the beauty in being able to share some of those experiences, and what’s helped me get there is that I’ve gotten messages from people saying, 'Oh my gosh that sounded like exactly what I’m going through right now.' So that’s really helped me forget about who exactly is listening to my music within my own personal circle. I’ve come to love that about my performances and being able to share my music.
KL: That’s great. On that note, I was reading recently about a musician who was wondering about the purpose of being a musician. Is it to bring people joy, connect with someone, teach someone something...what do you see the purpose of your music being?
MC: I would say all of the above. Singing and writing makes me feel good. I’ll be in rehearsal just singing and it’s almost unexplainable. It completes my day and makes me feel happy. At the same time, I’ve come to love how much it inspires others or motivates others in their lives. It’s really beautiful that people can connect with my experiences and just enjoy the music.
KL: How would you say your music has evolved over the past months and years?
MC: Lyrically, I’ve found myself growing. I’ve been trying to challenge myself and really get out of my comfort zone and try to write about different things, collaborate with artists who I usually don’t work with. Vocally, I’ve been trying to sound better and stronger and be a better performer, as well. At the end of the day, I still have a long way to go, but I can definitely feel the growth.
KL: What do you think is next for you?
MC: I want to complete my first full album. I released my first EP last year, but we’re starting to work on my first full album. I want to keep traveling and sharing music beyond the Boston area. That’s next!
We chatted with Carrie Hall, the manager of Royalties and Events at Spirit Music Group who serves as a vice chair for the WIM events committee. She thinks all of you are amazing.
I love that you said it that way… “personally.” I define my success by how many promises I’ve kept to my younger self, for many reasons, not by salary or title. The only things I’ve ever known for sure I wanted to do – personally – was be with my partner, Jason, move to NYC, and have some cats. Check, done. Professionally, all I’ve ever been good at is writing, editing, and knowing a lot about music, and I’ve been very lucky to parlay that into a career that allows me to utilize all three passions and aptitudes.
1) Be a malleable, proactive team player who is happy to focus and multi-task. Be a Jane of All Trades – that makes you indispensable. Be one of the helpers. Befriend all departments. Learn the business of your business.
2) Read The Plain and Simple Guide to Music Publishing, and
3) If truly starting out, intern across various departments at a publisher to figure out where your interests and strengths would be of service.
My experiences have made me equal parts extremely focused, uncompromising, scrappy, and tender. I was born and raised in Florida, and trying to figure out how to get from there to here is, shall we say, challenging, because there weren’t many opportunities there for my chosen path. My partner and I ran a mobile software company for a decade, so I didn’t even have contacts in music. One day, I woke up with a mortgage in Tampa and realized that I had gotten so far off track and away from “me” that I/we decided a move to NYC was necessary. So, we sold the house and drove on up the eastern seaboard a year later.
It wasn’t until I started blogging and writing about music online, building a portfolio while working from home in Florida and later, Manhattan, that I got an internship at an indie music magazine based in Williamsburg in 2007, a boom time for the music scene in New York (recently covered in Lizzy Goodman’s awesome book, Meet Me in the Bathroom). After paying my dues, I was given the opportunity to interview members of The Strokes and Interpol, photograph music festivals, and learn the ins-and-outs of editing a music magazine. This period of time allowed me to make contacts at record labels and publicity houses, and inspired me to pursue a different career path where I could be part of a songwriter or artist’s support system, rather than just another person in the crowd with an opinion, a pen, and a camera.
So, long story short, I started out in music journalism, interned, and temped around to get my foot in the door in various music business emphases, moved to publicity, stage production licensing, and now publishing – and truly, I talked a big rationale game to land those positions because I honestly/naively thought I was qualified! And really, the only thing I had going for me was that I just really, really didn’t want to let 14-year-old me down, not necessarily because my resume was the best one. The part of me that got obsessed with the movie Pump Up the Volume and how crucially it changed and informed my perspective at such a young age…that’s the part of me that went into hyper beast mode pursuing this industry. I did my homework. I taught myself the applications, the constructs, the lingo. I’m a quick, albeit obsessive, study. Passion, belief in my abilities and potential, respecting the struggle, and knowing where I come from is what drives my success.
I’ve taken some lumps over the years at certain companies, especially verbal abuse, denied meal breaks, extremely low pay, harassment, and not being considered for upper opportunities for various reasons, with my gender being one of the reasons I’ve literally been given, or that I was too “old” to be a beginner. I had one boss tell me that I needed to get a thicker backbone because I winced when she called me a really nasty derogatory term insulting my intelligence and mental acuity that I won’t repeat here. I shouldn’t need a thicker backbone and become hardened and callous and non-empathetic just because you can’t be professional, or frankly, a decent human being. In fact, the challenging atmospheres I’ve found myself in have only further convinced me of the importance of leading with kindness and being of service. It might seem thankless a lot of the time, and you might feel taken for granted, but it's always better to add more than you subtract in whatever circumstance you find yourself in, personally or professionally.
In a nutshell: Grow up, show up, step up. Be interested. Be loyal. Be kind.
NYC is blessed to be filled to the brim with extraordinarily talented and brilliant women who bring it day in and day out. So there’s a huge competition factor. But, the most pressing issues I’ve seen in various places and heard about is two-fold: certainly, the pay gap, and also, just not being considered for upward motion career tracts at companies in this industry, or even being given well-earned superlatives and/or promotions, while male counterparts move right on up the title ladder and are praised left and right. Not all companies in this industry are like this, of course. I had one situation where a male executive (who refused to promote women and thought we should be grateful to even be employed) asked me in a job interview if I was planning on getting pregnant any time soon, or if I was currently pregnant. Good times.
I’m inspired by people who stand in their truths, who never stop searching, learning, and growing. So, with that in mind, these are the folks I always pay keen attention to: Leonard Cohen, Bono, Alison Mosshart, Bridget Everett, Justin Vivian Bond, Issa Rae, Murray Hill, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, and Kanye West.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at Spirit Music Group in the next year?
Recently, I started working with the admin team to learn more about their duties and stepping in and helping where I can. I look forward to doing more of that in the next year.
Tell us more about how you got involved Spirit Music Group. What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
Funnily enough, I saw a job posting for Spirit on the WIM mailing list. Naturally, I immediately took my shot in a very Eminem-“8 Mile” sort of way. “Mom’s Spaghetti,” right? This was another situation where I had convinced myself I was the best person for the job because I love tedium, understand the nuances of client contracts and am well versed on their catalog…and not because I had the heavy music publishing background going for me. I had passion and was ready and willing to dig in and put in the hours. Spirit is an extraordinary place filled with incredible human beings who are the best at what they do, and we have a wonderful time doing it. I’ve never laughed with a group of people harder, or felt more welcome to grow and be myself, in my life than I do with my Spirit family.
My ultimate goal, however, is to finish writing this novel I’ve been working on for over 10 years, and learn how to develop it into a screenplay. I’ve been a writer my entire life and so long as I keep my promises to myself, it’ll get done.
WIM LA is proud to team up with CA Vegetarian Food Festival to present a stage featuring up and coming talent as well as offer members an exclusive discount.
CA Vegetarian Food Festival was founded by Sarah Gross and Nira Paliwoda, founders of U.S. Veg Corp. Veg Fest will be packed with expert speakers, chefs, athletes, amazing food vendors, and kids' amusement-makers. In addition to the usual highlights, for the first time they are building an Innovation Pavilion. This corner of the festival will showcase the brands and technology driving the world’s most environmentally-friendly and most humane meat, dairy, and eggs--which, of course, is the vegan kind.
This year’s festival benefits Mercy For Animals whose mission is to put an end to animal cruelty.
**WIM LA members receive 40% discount on any ticket types by using the code WIMLAVEG at check out. You can purchase your tickets here
WIM LA will present some great talent on their stage including LA Com member Natasha Pasternak performing at 1 PM on September 17.
Meet up with fellow WIM members on Sunday to catch some live music and try some food! Meet up details are below:
WIM LA will be hosting a meetup at CA Vegetarian Food Festival and the host will be WIM LA's chapter lead, Sari Delmar! Come hang with us while we soak up the Californian sun and indulge in good food, while being serenaded by WIM LA's very own committee member, Natasha Pasternak.
Raleigh Studios (5300 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004)
September, 17, 2017 @ 12noon pm
You must purchase your own ticket. Please purchase your ticket prior to the meetup here. **WIM LA members receive 40% discount on any ticket types by using the code WIMLAVEG at check out.
If you are joining for the meet up please RSVP to LA@womeninmusic.org
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