Front and Center: Live Nation Marketing Manager, Raychel Sabath

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Live Nation Marketing Manager, Raychel Sabath

By Myki Angeline

Many musicians dream of making it big in the music industry. Securing that dream recording contract. Nailing the big break with a hit single that gains a million downloads. Performing in sold out venues packed with 50,000 screaming fans – all of them singing along to every song. In order for this type of success to be maintained, an artist’s work needs the right type of marketing and promotion. It simply isn’t enough to be talented; you need the right skills and platform that will bring your music to the people.

Raychel Sabath knows the importance of marketing musicians. As the Marketing Manager with Live Nation, which boasts to be the global leader for live entertainment, her drive to bring an artist or band’s dream to fruition is truly inspiring. She recently relocated to Sacramento, California from Washington D.C. and has quickly fallen in love with their local music community. I reached out to Sabath to pick her brain for this enlightening interview via the WiMN.

WiMN: Tell us about your role as the Marketing Manager with Live Nation in Sacramento, CA (Ace of Spades).  What is a typical work day like? And what is your favorite part in this field?

RS: As a marketing manager with Live Nation Clubs & Theaters, I handle all show and brand marketing for our Sacramento clubs and theaters. So—not only do I handle Ace of Spades, I also work with Punch Line Sacramento!

The typical work day for me is atypical; I love having a job that keeps me on my toes. I handle building out unique paid advertising campaigns for our concerts and venues, scheduling press, creating ideas on fun social media campaigns, planning activations. Even helping with logistics and ops when I can.

My favorite part about working in the entertainment industry is simply knowing on a daily basis I have a part in someone’s best day ever. We have the honor of working with a variety of artists and their dedicated fans, and I love knowing that someone is experiencing a memorable night with their favorite artist in our venue. One of my favorite things is to watch a show from the artist’s perspective and to see fans connecting, singing along, and being fully immersed in the moment.

WiMN: You recently relocated to Sacramento, California. Where did you work before? What was the music scene like there, compared to Sacramento?

RS: I relocated to Sacramento from the Washington DC area. I was working with Live Nation Clubs & Theaters division there as well. In regards to the main venues, I focused on marketing with The Fillmore Silver Spring and Warner Theatre. However, there were many third party venues I had the opportunity to collaborate with as well.

The music scene in DC is pretty strong, but like any market it always ebbs and flows.

What impresses me about the Sacramento scene, is that there is an extremely active community behind it.

WiMN: What influenced you to work in the music industry?

RS: I think everyone is initially starry eyed about the idea of working in the entertainment industry. For me, it was the behind the scenes efforts that really sucked me in. On any given event, club sized or arena, there is a team of people helping to book, market, and build that show. There are so many thankless jobs – and those are the ones that really make the show happen.

WiMN: What sets Live Nation apart from the rest?

RS: Live Nation is unique because of the people that are part of our team! Yes, we are the world’s largest live entertainment company, but in order to maintain that status we have to have a solid team.

An awesome team needs a worthy leader. Our CEO Michael Rapino is an amazing human being. He does a great job making sure employees have access to excellent benefits and programs, including tuition assistance, a Sabbatical Program, and even paid time off to volunteer your time with a community organization.

WiMN: Tell us about your role as the Sr. Producer at HeyDays Vintage TV. How did this project come about?

RS: HeyDays Vintage TV is a fun project that I’ve worked on with my cousin, Nico. She is passionate about all things vintage and retro. She looped me in when she was developing the show and helped me further develop my video production experience. I also got to appear as talent on a few segments, being on camera is not as easy as some people make it look! Definitely a fun experience, I love producing content and video.

WiMN: Do you play any musical instruments?

RS: The piano and guitar, but it’s been a minute!

WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been any challenges?

RS: Overall, I’ve had a positive experience as a woman in the music industry. I think the biggest challenge is getting started – sometimes you really have to work harder, be faster, be better, and be funnier than all the guys. But, the industry isn’t as much of the old boys club that it used to be. You’d be amazed at the strong women that are the backbone of the entertainment industry. I’m pleased to see diversity among my colleagues and contemporaries, and this definitely contributes to the high quality of work that is produced.

WiMN: Where did you grow up and who are some of your mentors and icons who helped influence your path into the music industry?

RS: I grew up in Maryland, and went to school in Northern Virginia. The DC area is definitely what I consider home.

Honestly, the biggest influence of my path into the music industry when I was growing up was our local music scene. There was a large, strong community of local musicians and fans. We were our own music incubator. As a community, bands were formed, shows were booked, There were marketing campaigns, and everyone came out to support. This solidified my dedication to my career path.

My biggest mentor has been Dr. Lisa Passaglia Bauman. She is without a doubt one of the most interesting humans that I have the pleasure of calling a mentor and friend. She encouraged me to pursue a second degree on a topic I was just plain passionate about [art history]. She has always taken the time to grab coffee and discuss life and career goals, always accompanied by some sound guidance on how to handle a variety of situations.

WiMN: Do you have any advice you would like to share with other women who are considering a career in the music industry?

My advice is for everyone. Dedicate yourself. Be passionate. Be proactive. Ask questions. Remember small things matter. Never stop learning and always be open to constructive criticism. Take responsibility for positive and negative situations. And above all: be a good communicator. Communication –  good communication –  is key to success in any industry.

Front and Center: Reverb PR and Communications Manager, Heather Farr

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Reverb PR and Communications Manager, Heather Farr

by Myki Angeline

When it comes to media relations, Heather Farr truly excels. As the PR and Communications Manager for Reverb.com – the highly successful website for buying and selling new and used music gear – Farr goes that extra step to ensure the company is top notch in providing product information, advice, product quality, demonstrations, and pricing. Her background in music and journalism, along with her intense drive to succeed, are the traits that make Farr an ideal candidate for the WiMN’s Front and Center feature!

I had the honor of interviewing Heather Farr, and learned a great deal more about her road to success, and the other incredible projects she is involved with.

Visit the Reverb website here.

WiMN: How did you become interested in music as a child and what led you to a career in this industry?

HF: My dad is a huge music buff. Some of my earliest memories include listening to records with him and being quizzed on band names, album titles, and song lyrics. It was a huge part of my childhood. As I got older, I started to gravitate toward the jam band scene and eventually became completely obsessed with Relix, a music magazine out of New York City. There was a brief and slightly embarrassing period in high school when I wrote the editor every day, asking if I could be an intern. He eventually wrote me back and asked that I reach out when I am in college. So during my freshman year at Ohio University, I showed up to Relix’s NYC office with my resume in hand and got an internship for the following summer.

After that summer, I continued to freelance for Relix Magazine. Upon graduation, I got into the tech industry, but was able to keep my pulse on music through my freelance writing. When Reverb posted the opening for a PR/Communications Manager, it was the perfect opportunity to merge my experience in tech and my passion for music.

WiMN: Tell us about your title and responsibilities with Reverb, and a little about the company itself. What makes Reverb stand out as a company?

HF: Reverb.com is the online marketplace for buying, selling, and learning about new and used music gear. Since launching in 2013, Reverb has grown into the most popular music gear website in the world, with more than eight million monthly visitors perusing the site for everything from guitars, drums, and keyboards to DJ equipment, orchestra instruments, music software, and more.

As a marketplace, Reverb is different because it’s built for musicians by musicians. Each day, we use the platform and communicate with our users to figure out what features, tools, and services will make Reverb the easiest place to buy and sell music gear. For example, we have the Reverb Price Guide, which aggregates real-time transactional info to help users understand the value of the gear they’re buying and selling. We also create daily gear demos, artist interviews, industry news articles, tips and tricks videos, and more to help users learn about the instruments they’re buying and selling – and discover new gear they didn’t even know they wanted. Finally, our fees are lower than eBay and other alternatives, which means more money in sellers’ pockets and lower prices for buyers.

As PR and Communications Manager, I essentially help spread the word about all the great things we have going on within the company. I do that by keeping my ear to the ground at the office to uncover interesting stories and case studies, staying in close contact with the media and ensuring that reporters have everything they need to create compelling stories, drafting news releases, identifying awards and speaking opportunities to showcase our expertise, and more.

WiMN: What is it about public relations work that interests you?

HF: While public relations encompasses a lot of different areas, I particularly love media relations. To find success with the media, you have to dive deep into your organization (or into your clients) to uncover the most interesting information, stories, and people. It’s exciting because you are constantly learning new things. I actually have a degree in journalism and originally went to school to be a reporter. PR allows me to put on my journalist hat to determine the “why” of what we’re doing and saying.

WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been challenges?

HF: In both my position at Reverb and my side gig as a music freelance writer, my experience as a woman in the industry has been positive. I’ve been fortunate to have incredible bosses, mentors, and peers – both male and female – to look up to and help me navigate the waters. Of course, it is frustrating to look at the industry as a whole and not see quite as many female faces looking back at me, but the faces I do see are fierce.

WiMN: Tell us about some of your current projects you’re working on with Reverb.

HF: At NAMM, we announced the Beta launch of Reverb Sites – a service that helps sellers create their own website to better promote their music gear business online. The templates are beautiful and they’re insanely easy for small retailers or individual gear sellers to set up without wasting time and money. I had the opportunity to chat with some of our users at NAMM about the service and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I’m really looking forward to diving deeper into the tool as we look ahead to the official launch.

This year, I’m also looking forward to chatting with more of our users and helping them tell their stories – whether it’s the mom-and-pop shop that was able to create an entirely new revenue stream thanks to Reverb or the individual seller who started a Reverb shop and was eventually able to quit his job to sell music gear full-time. Our community houses some incredible stories. Along those same lines, we’ve got some fun artist shops in the works. In the past, we’ve helped everyone from Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy to Ray Lamontagne sell their gear, and looking forward, we have some exciting stuff in store.

WiMN: Describe a day in the life of Heather Farr.

HF: I start each day workday with a large to-do list and a larger cup of coffee and by the end of the day, only the latter gets finished. I think it’s safe to say that the chaos of PR attracts a certain type of person that secretly loves the unpredictability of it all. But in general, on any given day, you’ll find me doing lots of reading: About the industry, about competitors, about other people and businesses who are doing innovative things. I also do a lot of writing and brainstorming.

WiMN: What are some positive changes you aspire to make in the industry?

HF: Music has been such a positive force in my life and I’d love to help more young girls find strength, confidence, and happiness in it. I have six nieces who are lucky to have not only dance, piano, and other music-based activities in their lives, but also strong, positive female role models – and it pains me to think that’s not the case for every little girl. That’s why last month, I started as a volunteer marketing consultant at Girl’s Rock! Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering girls’ creative expression, self-esteem, and community awareness through music.

WiMN: Do you play any instruments?  Who are some of your role models?

HF: I dabble in acoustic guitar and I just purchased a ukelele. I’ve been taking group and individual guitar lessons for more than a year and I am just now feeling confident enough to call myself a guitar player. My guitar teacher has been an incredible role model. She brings so much passion and excitement to class that you can’t help but fall in love with the learning process. She’s also insanely patient and patience is definitely something we could all practice more.

WiMN: Let’s wrap up with one of your favorite quotes…

HF: “Decide what to be and go be it.”

Front and Center: Director, Artist Relations, and M.A.C PRO Membership for M.A.C Cosmetics, Monique Boyer

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Director, Artist Relations, and M.A.C PRO Membership for M.A.C Cosmetics, Monique Boyer

By Myki Angeline

monique-4-bwBeing an avid music fan, Monique Boyer moved to Hollywood in 1991 with a dream of working in the music business. After an education in record engineering and working in radio promotion, she discovered another passion: makeup artistry. Luckily, her work these days for M·A·C Cosmetics allows her to experience the best of both industries. As the trendsetting brand’s Director of Artist Relations and M·A·C Pro Membership, she provides product support and education in the areas of music, editorial, theatre, performing arts, and television.

For the past ten years, Monique has directed makeup support for many of the biggest names in music including Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Sia, Missy Elliot, Steven Tyler, Janet Jackson, The Cure, Gwen Stefani, Tori Amos, Motley Crue, Heart, Kelly Clarkson, and Wynonna Judd. She’s seen the music industry from every angle through her work to support music television (including shows like American Idol, The Voice and Nashville), music festivals, and an extensive array of awards shows and ceremonies, including the Grammy Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year, ASCAP’s Women Behind the Music, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Monique is thrilled not only to be immersed in the world of music, but to work with and honor the extraordinary women who have helped build it.

We are delighted to be presenting Monique Boyer with a 2017 She Rocks Award at the upcoming NAMM Show in January. Find out more about her here.

WiMN: Tell us about your background with music artists and what it is like working with them.

MB: Originally, when I was a record label intern at Def American, I was working in radio promotion. That was first job in the music business and I learned a lot about radio programming. I was also working with one of my favorite bands, The Black Crowes, which was a dream come true. Shortly after I was living in San Francisco and helped launch another record label, Om Records. It’s such an exciting atmosphere getting to work with an meet music artists. I also freelanced as a Makeup Artist for years getting to work on music videos and photo shoots with bands which I very much enjoyed! I am lucky that now I get to work on and support some great tours and music projects with my current job.

WiMN: Do you play any instruments?

MB: I’ve played guitar since I was about 15 years old and sing a bit as well. It’s always been just a hobby for me though, something I really enjoy.

WiMN: What are your favorite ways to unwind and de-stress?

MB: Every night when I get home I light a lot of candles and set a comfortable atmosphere. And again, music plays a big part in setting that mood.

WiMN: Can you share your experience as a woman in the industry? Have there been challenges for you to overcome?

MB: I would say the only challenge was when I was interning at a record label. At the time, the industry was very male dominated and the company I was with only had female assistants. As a female, it didn’t feel very promising to be able to grow into an executive position.

WiMN: What are you looking forward to most at the 2016 She Rocks Awards?

MB: That’s a hard question to answer! I’m looking forward to everything about it! It’s such an honor and really can’t believe it’s happening. I’m looking forward to my co-workers and family attending the event and spending an evening with them. Also excited for my friend, Samantha Maloney, an amazing musician and person, to present the award to me! I feel so lucky and so very grateful!

WiMN: What would you recommend as a good plan of action for young women looking to pursue a career in the make-up industry?

MB: Any education or experience you can get is always helpful. If you’re looking to work in the industry, my best advice would be to assist wherever you can. That way you’re learning the craft, understanding what it’s like to work on set, and also meet others in the industry. Networking is a big part of being a successful freelance Makeup Artist.

Front and Center: iHeartRadio On-Air Radio Personality, Lisa Foxx

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: iHeartRadio On-Air Radio Personality, Lisa Foxx

By Leslie Buttonow

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Lisa Foxx is an on-air radio personality who can be heard on 104.3 MYfm in Los Angeles and their sister station, Star 101.3 in San Francisco, on the iHeartRadio network. For the past 25 years, she’s been the voice of many top stations up and down the California coast, starting in college, and rising to fame in the ‘90s in LA where she and Ryan Seacrest tore up the afternoon airwaves on Star 98.7.

When not in the studio or freelancing in talent/booking and music supervising, Lisa can be found at one of the restaurants on Sunset Blvd in which she’s a partner, at a Dodgers or Kings game, exercising, doing charity work, or listening to a very eclectic mix of her favorite music, including Maroon 5, U2, Journey, ‘80s hair bands, Hall & Oates, Katy Perry and many others.

We are delighted to be presenting Lisa Foxx with a 2017 She Rocks Award at the upcoming NAMM Show in January. Find out more about her here.

The WiMN: Radio has boasted some notable, successful female on-air personalities, particularly after the advent of MTV and other supporting broadcast mediums. When was it that you found your calling in radio?

LF: I was actually attracted most to broadcasting in the late 1980’s, because of the honesty, integrity and independence it seemed to offer female news anchors whom I began to look up to on our stations in San Francisco. I began taking TV and Radio Broadcasting courses at Ohlone Junior College in Fremont, California (well known for launching many Bay Area radio careers).

I was on air at the college station, working at restaurants, and interning at stations in San Jose. My original goal was to transfer to SFSU and get my degree there, but crazy enough, I was offered my first on-air job just a few years after graduating high school, so maybe radio was meant to be for me the whole time! I can laugh, be myself, be serious when needed, be honest, and be real.

The WiMN: What’s one of the things you most enjoy about your job?

LF: I most enjoy the opportunity to lift someone’s spirit every day. I remember while in college, one of my teachers asked us to start listening –– really listening –– to the hosts we enjoy. I remember liking many of the fun-sounding men on the radio, but one woman in particular always sounded miserable or like she couldn’t wait to leave or was kind of complaining about something. I remember thinking, ‘she must have the coolest job ever, but sounds so negative.’ So I thought I would try hard to ‘bring the happy’ every day.

People are driving around, going through some heavy stuff these days, and often feel alone. That is something special radio can still offer – a LIVE voice/person who can maybe up lift you, pull you out of the funk, and be there for you. That’s always what I have felt about my relationship with listeners. I strive for that with every break I do.

The WiMN: How do you think iHeartRadio has had a positive impact on the landscape of radio?

LF: I think iHeart Radio and iHeart Media has totally raised the bar on how radio –– and radio personalities –– do everything now. I can’t believe how easy I had it before! Now, because our company is so on the forefront of technology and how it intertwines with the everyday lives of ourselves, our listeners, clients, millennials etc., we’ve had to learn to master the art and power of social networking, blogging, creating our own original web content and staying a step ahead of the rest.

Like a lot of radio hosts from “back in the day,” I was there when we played everything off records, then cartridges and our main news source was the newspaper and the AP News wire because that’s all we had! Times have changed, and if you want to stay a force in the game, you’ve got to be on top of the new way, and embrace change and all the good that can come of it. Did I mention I’ve been Snapchatting this whole time? Ha!

The WiMN: How do you see the environment for women in media these days vs. in years past? Are there more opportunities now, or are the challenges the same?

LF: I’ve definitely seen major changes and improvements over the years. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, there were a lot more women in radio who were just “sidekicks,” traffic girls, the news girls, etc. Now, there are so many more women who are actual partners, getting more mic time, many hosting their own shows, and so forth. And many are so much more respected now. It really was another industry years ago with a kind of “Boy’s Town” mentality.

No doubt, I think there’s a better balance of women out in front and behind the scenes these days––more female executives, female CEO’s, bosses, entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting time for a sharp gal who wants to kick butt in the industry, just like the next person.

The WiMN: Any funny stories you’d like to share about on-air interviews?

LF: Oh gosh, so many! A favorite: in the early days, it was tough for [Ryan] Seacrest and me to book big names because it was back in the days when most publicists thought radio was not big enough for their clients. We could rarely get past those gatekeepers, but one night, after seeing one of my favorite bands (The Dan Band) in LA for the 100th time, the singer put the big spotlight on my face and gave me a huge happy birthday shout out from the stage.

After that, Ben Stiller came up to me (I was dying! Ha ha!). As I watched him walk towards me, he said, “Are you Lisa Foxx?” I said, ‘Umm, aren’t you Ben Stiller?!’ He was so sweet, with his wife Christine, and he proceeded to tell me how much they loved our radio show, were big fans and were loving Ryan on Idol (I believe it was during the first season). They mentioned how obsessed they were with Ryan’s hair and asked if I could send an autographed picture for Christine’s brother Brian (of course!). As they gave me an address/info, I braved up and asked Ben if I gave him our hotline number, would he call in to the show. He said “Yes, of course!” He did, and we had an awesome 15 minutes of radio with THE Ben Stiller!

The WiMN: We hear you’re also busy with some new pursuits as well. What can you tell us about your music supervising and consulting roles for film and TV?

LF: Getting into music consulting and music supervising for TV and film has been a long time dream for me to do on the side. There are so many incredibly talented artists who may never make it onto the radio. I see it as another powerful platform to help launch artists, get artists paid, and get them some nice recognition for their gift.

The right placement could be a career game changer for an artist, too. It’s a very tough business to get into, but thankfully––like anything else––the personal relationships you make in this world can open up some exciting doors. I’ve done a few freelance projects over the years, did my first movie (an Indie film that my friends produced) and have been music consulting for A&E’s Emmy award-winning show Intervention. It’s the first time they’ve ever used songs in the episodes. It’s been an exciting challenge, and I’m truly grateful to Michael Branton and the team at GRB. I hope to work on more shows with them.

The WiMN: These days, what would you recommend as a good plan of action for young women looking to pursue a career in broadcast?

LF: I would say the same advice I’ve been giving since I got into this business still applies today. It’s really an “aiming for success in life” philosophy that should work for lots of careers: get that internship in college, get there early/leave late, offer to do more, offer to help in every department, be positive and helpful, take up the slack, don’t complain or throw others under the bus, network without overstepping boundaries, and build healthy relationships.

People open doors for those they like and who have a good work ethic and are trustworthy. All that, a little bit of talent and good timing, and anything can happen! Never drink your own cool aid…the second you think you’re a big deal, you are done! When you are doing well, stay hungry for more and grateful for every day. Oh, and one last thing, they can also check our jobs page at iHeartMedia Jobs – All Jobs for starters, too.  🙂

Front and Center: Focusrite Novation Inc. Director of Marketing, Hannah Bliss

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Focusrite Novation Inc. Director of Marketing, Hannah Bliss

By Leslie Buttonow

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Hannah Bliss is enjoying a career carved from the best of her talents and interests. As marketing director for Focusrite Novation Inc., she has combined her love of computers and media with her technical savviness, all in a musical setting, which has been a familiar component of her life from a very early age. At trade shows she can be seen interacting with a diverse array of visitors at her booth, equally at ease demonstrating the merits of the company’s acclaimed RedNet audio interfaces one minute, then discussing new marketing campaigns the next.

Here, she shares some of her story, her thoughts on women in the audio industry, and some advice for those aspiring to join the ranks of audio professionals. To find out more, visit Focusrite.com.

WiMN: How long have you been at Focusrite and what are some of your primary responsibilities?

HB: In total, I’ve been with Focusrite for eight years. This includes just under two years in the UK headquarters, where I started as their marketing coordinator, and over six years in the US office as the marketing manager, and now the director of marketing. I manage a fantastic team of marketing professionals, brand managers, artist relations, and technology evangelists. I ensure that everything we do at Focusrite Novation Inc. is in line with our global and marketing visions, and that we are constantly “Making Music Easy To Make,” just as our company mantra states.

WiMN: Please share some background about what attracted you to pro audio and how you first came to the industry?

HB: My father is a touring musician and songwriter, so growing up with a recording studio in our “almost” soundproofed basement, I was no stranger to the creative process of music making. I would regularly interrupt his work flow by asking him for help working out the guitar chords to the newest Alanis Morissette, Britney Spears, Oasis, or Aerosmith song…I know, varied taste, but I was a ‘90s teenage girl!

I studied interactive media production at University; nothing to do with music production. I love computers, I love graphics and art, I love the creative process. Leaving school, I knew I wanted to be in a creative industry, but I wasn’t sure which one.  As luck would have it, a few months after finishing my degree, Phil Dudderidge (who most will know as the chairman of Focusrite Plc) offered me an interview to join his very small marketing department, as a coordinator position had opened up. I am very humbled to say I’ve known Phil my entire life, and am honored that he thought my personality, rather than my specific University degree, would suit a career in marketing. I guess he was right––10 years later, here I still am…

WiMN: Is your technical knowledge a result of hands-on experience, or formal training (if both, how do you feel they complement each other?)

HB: A little bit of both! I will happily admit that I’m far more creative artistically than musically, preferring a paint brush and canvas to an interface and recording software. But I am very technically savvy, so I learn fast. As a technology fanatic, my father always bought the newest computer on the market, enabling me to learn from a young age, starting with an Acorn BBC Micro in the late ‘80s. Having been exposed to technology so early in life, it’s no surprise I chose a media production degree program and that I now work for an industry-leading audio engineering company. At Focusrite Novation Inc., I’m surrounded by incredibly smart, creative, and musical people. We regularly have in-office trainings on our products and I’m constantly learning something new.

WiMN: Have you noticed more women in similar roles in M.I. and Pro Audio since you started? What do you attribute that to?

HB: Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of women in M.I. or pro audio in general, but when I do, I always remember them! It’s a very male-dominated industry. I mainly interact with the sales and marketing teams of our dealers, media partners, and events, and I’m pleased to say I see more women in marketing, specifically, than in previous years, but still not enough. That said, even though the female M.I. community is small, we are strong and supportive. Women in pro audio are very encouraging of each other; we like to see each other succeed.

Our customer base at Focusrite Novation is predominantly male, so it’s not surprising that the majority of people interested in going into M.I. careers would be male. It’s just the law of averages. In 2010, when we opened Focusrite Novation Inc., the US subsidiary of Focusrite Audio Engineering UK, we were a team of five—president, director of sales, product specialist, myself as marketing manager, and one other female, Miriam Wiener, as artist relations. I’m pleased to say after six years, Miriam and I still remain. However, there is only one other woman in our US office of nearly 30 people. Luckily this isn’t a result of bias towards men in interviews; we just don’t get enough women applying for positions here!

WiMN: What advice would you give to young women looking to break into our industry or a technical career in general?

HB: I believe the opportunities are greater than ever before for woman in music. More and more girls are choosing audio production courses in higher education at stellar institutions like SAE, Full Sail University, Musicians Institute, and Berklee College of Music, to name a few. For both men and women exploring a technical career, having experience with as much gear as you can get your hands on is key! Knowledge is power. Study the manuals, watch the YouTube videos, go to the conferences, and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. The music industry seems huge from the outside looking in but it’s not as big as you may think, so the more people you meet, the better your chance of getting internships, recommendations, and interviews.

WiMN: Anything new happening at Focusrite that you’d like to share?

HB: There’s always something new happening at Focusrite! We are always striving to provide our customers with the product they want and the one they need—the better, faster, easier product than the one before. Our next big showcase is at the AES Show in Los Angeles, and then back to NAMM in Anaheim. We are always excited to show off our newest interface!

Front and Center: Publicist and Founder of The Bloom Effect, Fiona Bloom

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here

Front and Center: Publicist and Founder of The Bloom Effect, Fiona Bloom

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By Laura B. Whitmore

In an industry with an overwhelming amount of publicists, it can be hard to stand out. But that’s far from true for Fiona Bloom, a New York-based branding and PR maven and founder of The Bloom Effect.

Bloom founded her agency in 2007, offering branding for artists, personalities, music labels and lifestyle companies. The firm offers its clients a wealth of insight/knowledge and expertise as well as the benefits of a huge rolodex of premium, global contacts – everything it takes to make sure a brand or project is recognized or discovered by the right people.

As well as handling branding, publicity, digital marketing, A&R consulting and promotion services, The Bloom Effect produces a range of events, parties and live shows. Having produced over 2000 music showcases and consulted on hundreds of album projects, the company has played a significant role in the careers of over 300 artists, including The Zombies, Avery*Sunshine, Hollis Brown, Anthony David, Raul Midon, Jesse Clegg, France Rocks and many more.

See for yourself in our interview below why Bloom is among one of the most respected publicists in the industry. Visit http://thebloomeffect.com/ to learn more.

WiMN: You seem to have your hand in so many things…what’s a typical day like for you?

FB: A typical day for me is some hardcore outreach, generally churning out press releases or alerts, and pitches to about 150 people daily. That doesn’t include venues, my international counterparts, other calls that come up and emails to answer, plus talking to my clients regularly.

In between all these I somehow manage to add in about 2 – 3 meetings in person, and on a show day I’ll leave work, head straight out and catch a couple of artists depending on the agenda. Hectic but love it!

WiMN: What do you wish artists knew about working with a publicist?

FB: I wish artists knew how to manage expectations better. Also, that we do the outreach, have the relationships, but can’t guarantee anyone to write about you or invite you to record a session or premiere your song/video.

You’re hiring us because of our connections/reputations and strong trust we’ve developed with the media. Money can’t buy that!

WiMN: What have been some of your biggest challenges?

FB: Staying up on all the technology advancements, keeping relevant, making sure my database is always current and up-to-date. Also managing lists/contacts. I have over 10,000 outlets/writers in my database compiled of DJ’s, programmers, talent bookers, writers, stringers, journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, VJ’s, tour press, bloggers, podcasters, syndication, social media/content creators, TV producers, show segments. This doesn’t even include my peers – other publicists, labels, promoters, talent buyers/ bookers at venues, festivals, sync and music supervisors, brands and overall industry.

Other challenges include traveling to conferences. When you work as an entrepreneur/boutique, you have to really pick and choose which events and travel you can budget for.

Also going after key accounts. You’re always up against at least three other pubs and firms. In fact, I just lost out on two potential clients and not because I wasn’t cut out for it, but more because they decided to go in a different direction. I can’t let it get to me; have to keep it moving. Keep it scrolling, as the kids say.

WiMN: What made you choose to work in PR? Did you have an “Aha moment?”

FB: I don’t think I chose PR; it was thrust upon me. I’d always done marketing and radio promo with other partners and for record companies, and then one day when I got let go from EMI, Mike Stuto, who used to book a popular NYC venue called Brownie’s, contacted me out of the blue and asked if I’d like to be recommended for an indie label that was a start-up looking for a publicist. I totally winged it. I convinced the label owner that I could do the job and guess what… The job was mine!

I guess my “aha moment” came when all the major labels tried to steal me asking my boss if they could take me for a bigger offer, but he would always tell them I’m under contracts which definitely wasn’t the case. Boy, did I learn from my naïveté.

WiMN: Tell us about your Efficacy web series…what got it started and what is your goal?

FB: My Efficacy Web Series really started back in 2008; wasn’t really sure what I was doing with YouTube back then. It was an afterthought, but I kind of wish I would have latched on to it then and really got it going as fast-forward to now, and I’d probably be making a serious living as a content creator. Well, we can’t be good at everything.

I started the series to really give a platform and spotlight to creative folks who weren’t getting any light on other outlets or mediums. I wanted to shine light and give a deeper lens into the artists’ career – their hobbies and other interests outside the music.

I called it Efficacy as a play on words with my company name The Bloom Effect – – the Effect- -Efficacy meaning to create a ‘desired effect’. It just clicked and I’ve kept it ever since.

I really need to step it up now, as the company who has been monetizing and marketing my channel –IND Music Network – a great group of folks, just got bought up by LiveNation TV, so my channel is in that network now. I congratulated IND Music Network, and they had mentioned they’re trimming their channels, so I was praying that they wouldn’t cut me loose! As it stands, I have nothing to worry about – whew.

I have about 158 Webisodes- that’s a lot of content. Some of the clips are super creative.

WiMN: How can our readers participate in the series?

FB: Your readers can easily participate. Have them reach out to me and I’ll send them an outline and instructions and we’ll get it going!

WiMN: What other projects are you working on that you’d like folks to know about?

FB: Other projects in the works:

  • The Zombies come back for a West coast tour.
  • Releasing this awesome project from Bruce Sudano called With Angels on a Carousel.
  • Setting up Hollis Brown for a big splash at Americana Music Festival in Nashville + hopefully Reeperbahn and a serious tour in Europe this Fall.
  • Identifying partners for the new Water Seed project ‘We Are Stars,’ and always looking for the next hot act or brand to represent.
  • I’m also doing a lot of speaking engagements this summer.
  • I’m working on 3 books – yep, I know that sounds rather ambitious but it’s accurate.
  • I’m looking to play more of an educator role with some adjunct classes I’ll be teaching at Brooklyn Campus at LIU.
  • Had this dream to produce a free-standing International Hip Hop Festival. Looking to secure partners/sponsors within the next 12 months and really make this a reality for 2018 in the desired City of Oakland, Calif.

WiMN: Do you have advice for other women in the music industry out there?

FB: Just follow your heart, live your dream and work hard, but also form alliances with other strong women.

Find a couple of mentors, do some mentoring yourself and make sure these men are on your side, too. Find those men who champion women and empower them – they’re definitely out there.

Put a great team together and learn how to follow your gut and instinct, which usually is always right. Don’t undersell yourself and don’t let them intimidate you! Know your self-worth.

Front and Center: Founder of InFocus Artist Management and Merch Cat, Vanessa Ferrer

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Founder of InFocus Artist Management and Merch Cat, Vanessa Ferrer

By Gabriella Steffenberg 

FullSizeRender-1An alumna of N.Y.U. and Berklee College of Music, Vanessa Ferrer has been a successful businesswoman for over 15 years in the financial and artist management fields. Armed with the heart of an artist, the belief that she could make a difference, and the drive to make it happen, Ferrer founded InFocus Artist Management in 2009.

After managing several touring clients and consulting with high-profile industry professionals, she realized a market need for DIY artists and their business teams, and used her multi-faceted background to develop a means for artists to maximize merchandise revenue streams.

In 2015, Ferrer officially launched Merch Cat, a musician friendly one-stop tool for artists to sell and manage merch at live shows. The app also features a website reporting component for tracking and analyzing inventory and venue sales. Ferrer is a member of NARAS, A2IM, the Music Business Association, and Women In Music.

WiMN: Did your journey into the music industry start at Berklee College of Music, or did you know beforehand that you wanted to work in music?

VF: I had been working in another career and I met a guy in a band who had been signed to an indie label. When the band’s record was released, the label wasn’t doing what they said they would, and the band also had decentralized management. I started filling in the gaps to help them out and I loved it.

Music had always been a “thing” for me, and I felt a deep connection to it, but I never knew what to do with that. This was when the light bulb really went off for me that here was how I could combine my love of music and my business experience and help artists. I saw how the band missed opportunities and eventually imploded because there was no one person or team looking out for their best interest. A lot of it came pretty naturally to me, but I wanted to solidify and re-enforce what I thought I knew, which was when I found Berklee and enrolled in their on-line classes.

WiMN: Who has been your biggest mentor within the field and what have you learned from him/her?

VF: I’ve had a few, but I’d have to say that Jan Smith, also known as “Mama Jan” has been my biggest mentor. She is a kick-ass woman and great role model who organically grew her business into a small empire. She’s a force with an amazing work ethic and love for what she does, and I found her to be really inspiring. I was fortunate enough to meet her through my music community in Atlanta, and I spent some time working with her on a business opportunity she was exploring when I was at a crossroads with where I was heading next.

She encouraged me to trust my intelligence and have faith in my journey. It was somewhat of a spiritual mentoring for me, and having someone with her success believe in me and my abilities at a time when I was feeling somewhat defeated, inspired me to stay on course.

WiMN: Tell us about Merch Cat. What prompted you to launch it in 2015?

VF: I had the idea for Merch Cat in 2013 after the singer/songwriter I was managing had a big show and I couldn’t find something cohesive to run the merch table. I had been using PayPal, Excel, physical counting, and Word docs that my artist would send after a show. I just thought in this day and age there has to be a better way, and if I was looking for it, chances were that other managers and artists were looking for it too.

I had the vision for an app that artists would embrace using, something intuitive to use with a cool vibe, while also being informative enough to help whoever was making business decisions do so. I also wanted it to be affordable for DIYers. I wrote my idea down, did a little research on creating an app and then put it on the back burner.

In 2014, the company that had been my primary place of employment for the past fourteen years decided to outsource my department. Around the same time, a stock I had invested in years ago returned some cash, and I had met my soon to be tech developers through working with Jan Smith. The stars were aligning and it felt like the right time to make a change, so I decided to take a leap of faith and take a chance on myself. My gut said go. The app took a little over a year to develop, it launched in December 2015, and here we are.

WiMN: What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned from starting both InFocus Artist Management and Merch Cat?

VF: Patience, persistence and perseverance. Nothing happens over night and there will be times when you can’t clearly see the road ahead, but if you have a dream and a vision, keep going. Pay attention to the signs in the universe and listen to your instincts – they can lead you to amazing places. They will also tell you when to cut your losses. Knowing when to walk away or go in another direction is as important as staying the course.

WiMN: What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career thus far?

VF: Creating and launching this app has by far been my greatest accomplishment. I’ve had a previous career that most would consider successful, but I’ve never felt like I was doing what I was meant to do in life. I’ve long had the desire to be in the music industry full-time and be impactful, and while management is my heart, creating this app has provided a way to help artists and their teams on a greater level.

WiMN: Who are some of your favorite musicians/bands and why?

VF: My musical taste is all over the place. Dave Grohl is just the coolest. I love his attitude and no B.S. approach, as well as the musicality of the Foos. Lenny Kravitz has been a longtime favorite of mine with his multi-instrumental talent and his fashion sense. Pearl Jam. Ambrosia (who?!?) from the late 70s and 80s are on the list – I love their vocal harmonies and song arrangements. And of course I love the classics – Heart, Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, The Stones, etc. for obvious reasons.

Among the newer artists I’m digging lately are Band of Horses, Civil Twilight, City and Colour, Ray Lamontagne, Grace Potter, Florence and the Machine, Ingrid Michaelson and the list goes on…I have too many “favorites!”

WiMN: What kind of adversity have you faced for being a woman in a male-dominated industry?

VF: The industry I spent most of my prior career in (Commercial Real Estate) was totally male-dominated, and I experienced some disparate treatment during that time, so it prepared me well for being in another male-dominated industry. When I was managing my former artist, I would get comments like, “oh so you’re in love with him,” or when explaining my desire to do management, “oh so you’re a groupie.” Those comments were mostly from people outside of the industry, so I didn’t take it too much to heart because those people didn’t get it.

Inside the industry, I’ve found that when I’m exhibiting Merch Cat at conferences, people tend to think I’m just the chick manning the booth, and I get a kick out of it when they discover that it’s my company. And then you get the men who pretend they’re interested in your product and are really just interested in a date. It’s a fine line, but I think you have to treat every opportunity as potential and then adjust accordingly.

I’m aware of the stigmas and stereotypes, but I try not to let it intimidate me or allow myself to feel insubordinate. I put myself forth as an equal and I think that resonates with people. I believe it’s a really exciting time for women in music and women in tech, as there are a lot of initiatives currently out there to support us. We need to use those and our “womanhood” to our best advantage.

WiMN: If you could give a piece of advice to women pursing a career in the music industry, what would you say?

VF: Work hard and be present. Network your butt off. Build relationships (relationships, not just contacts). Respect boundaries and other people’s relationships – they’ve worked hard to build them and so should you. Know your strengths and lead with those, but don’t be afraid to ask others for advice to get what you need to go where you want to go. Express gratitude to those who help and support you. Your likability can be one of your biggest assets in this industry. Surround yourself with positive people who share your vision and point of view.

The industry is full of jaded people who may cause you to second-guess yourself. Take them with a grain of salt and keep moving forward – this is your journey and no one else’s. Dream big, but set realistic goals and take a step back every once in awhile to re-assess. If the path you’re on isn’t working for you, try another. Listen to your instincts, and follow your heart.

WiMN: Where do you see your businesses five years from now?

VF: There are some really cool things in the development pipeline for Merch Cat, so I hope to get funding to execute them and still be running strong in five years. I can’t share details, but I will say the plan involves a fan side-app, so everyone could potentially be a Merch Cat user. If I had to sum it up, I’d say I see Merch Cat being a premiere servicer and artist-to-fan facilitator in the merch space.

Right now, InFocus is pretty much just functioning as the parent company for Merch Cat, but I’d really like to return to management someday if the timing is right and opportunity presents itself. For now, that’s on hold until Merch Cat stabilizes as a profitable music tech company. Five years is a long time. If you asked me five years ago what I’d be doing now, never in a million years did I think I’d be the sole founder of a bootstrapped music tech company. Anything can happen!

Front and Center: Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Universal Music Enterprises, Sujata Murthy

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Universal Music Enterprises, Sujata Murthysujata-2-web

We are honored to feature today’s Front & Center subject and 2016 She Rocks Award recipient, Sujata Murthy Senior Vice President, Public Relations, at Universal Music Enterprises (UME).

Leading her team, she is responsible for creating, as well as spearheading, media campaigns across traditional and emerging platforms across UMe’s repertoire. UMe has been recognized as the top Catalog label for 2012, 2013 and 2014, based on performance according to Billboard Magazine.

UMe is the centralized U.S. catalog and special markets entity for Universal Music Group. Representing some of the most influential and legendary recording artists of the last 100 years, UMG has the most extensive catalog of music in the industry including: ABBA, Louis Armstrong, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Patsy Cline, John Coltrane, The Commodores, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Marvin Gaye, Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Peggy Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley, Nirvana, The Police, Smokey Robinson, Rolling Stones, Rush, Frank Sinatra, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, The Supremes, The Temptations, U2, Muddy Waters, Barry White, Hank Williams, The Who, and Amy Winehouse.

Learn more at www.universalmusicenterprises.com.

WiMN: Can you walk us through the steps of overseeing and developing a media campaign for a UMe artist?

SM: Media campaigns for our artists are viewed with a global perspective. We coordinate with our territories around the world to schedule everything in a highly synchronized manner – from when we break information, to where an artist will be on street week/release week. We first have a conversation with the artist and their team to understand their vision and goals for the artist and the project. We then work collaboratively to develop a long-range plan that will achieve the greatest success for both the artist and label.

WiMN: What have been some of the most exciting campaigns you’ve ever worked on?

SM: I have had the honor and privilege of personally working with artists that are known as the “originals” of the great American songbook, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andrews Sisters, Les Paul, Peggy Lee, Mercer Ellington, Nancy Wilson, George Shearing, Margaret Whiting, Kay Starr, Jo Stafford, Ella Mae Morse, Keely Smith, John Raitt, Paul Weston, and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Just a few of the amazing artists that I’ve worked with over the years from the rock, pop, country, and R&B genre include The Beatles, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Megadeth, KISS, Cat Stevens/Yusuf, Supertramp, Chuck Berry, BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Heart, Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd, Who, Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys, Beach Boys, The Band, Elton John, Richard Marx, The Police, Radiohead, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn, Glenn Campbell, Garth Brooks, Andy Griffith, Stan Freberg, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Hammer, Rick James, Mary Wilson, Four Tops, Temptations, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, and Motley Crüe.

WiMN: What do you think is the biggest key to success in the field of public relations?

SM: I believe the key to success in PR or any field is adaptability.  Things are always changing direction – sometimes simple like last-minute schedule revisions. More complex scenarios include introducing and working with emerging technology and new media.

WiMN: What is one of your biggest career milestones?

SM: My artist opening the Grammys.

WiMN: Have you ever faced adversity in the music industry simply for being a woman? If so, how did you overcome it?

SM: Women are a minority in the music industry. I had to work twice as hard to be noticed and did not give up until I achieved my goals. I have been an active mentor to others and, I hope, forged a path for other women to follow.

WiMN: What is a little-known fact about you?

SM: I’m a Texas girl – I grew up in Houston. When I’m relaxing with family and friends, I speak with a slight Texas accent. This also probably explains my love of George Strait. And there is nothing like good BBQ or a Friday Night Lights marathon.

WiMN: Do you have advice for young women who might be considering a career in the music industry?

SM: My advice is to explore all the possibilities. A music industry job is not limited to a label, management or agency. Music can be a part of almost anything. Like the talent you work with, be creative!

WiMN: What does it mean to you to receive a She Rocks Award?

SM: It’s an honor to be recognized by WIMN. They have created a much-needed organization to connect women in the industry and create a powerful network of strength and support. I’m humbled to be in the company of Chaka Khan, Leslie Ann Jones and the other past and current recipients.

WiMN: What one piece of advice would you give to young aspiring female musicians looking to make it big in the music business?

SM: You are responsible for your success. Let the experts do their part for your career, but oversee all aspects and be comfortable with your choices and direction. Learn as much as you can about all aspects – from radio to touring to advertising and more – as this will give you a better understanding of the overall business.

Front and Center: Head of Sales and Marketing for Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and Musician, Carolyn Sills

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: Santa Cruz Guitar Company Head of Sales and Marketing, Musician, Carolyn Sills

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By Gabriella Steffenberg

Carolyn Sills gets the opportunity to do what she loves every day at the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. Working at the acclaimed guitar manufacturer for almost six years, she has held the role of head of sales and marketing for the past three.

Because of the company’s small size, Sills and her coworkers all wear many hats, which led to her heavy involvement in marketing and assisting with customer service as well.

Outside of Santa Cruz Guitars, Sills rocks out regularly in her band, The Carolyn Sills Combo. For more information on Sills, read on below, and check out the Santa Cruz Guitar Company along with The Carolyn Sills Combo website.

WiMN: How long have you been in the sales and marketing business?

CS: I have been working at Santa Cruz Guitar Company for almost six years now, and have been the head of sales and marketing for the last three. I joined the company to run marketing and assist with customer service, and continue to do those jobs as well. It’s a small shop, and we all wear many hats.

WiMN: What’s the best piece of advice someone has given you regarding the industry you’re in?

CS: Richard Hoover (owner of Santa Cruz Guitar Company) has taught me a great deal, most importantly to value and nurture all the personal relationships in this business. Get to know your players, your dealers, your market… There’s no substitute for genuinely caring about the people you work for and with, and it allows you to build lasting relationships with those you associate with on a daily basis. This makes it all a lot more meaningful and enjoyable.

WiMN: What’s your favorite part about working at Santa Cruz Guitars?

CS: I am very proud to be able to sell and market an instrument that I can completely stand behind. Our luthiers are so incredibly talented at what they do, and our guitars stand alone in craftsmanship and tone. It’s a pleasure to be able to represent them in the music industry, and have total confidence that our customers will be happy with their one-of-a-kind guitars.

WiMN: Which musicians inspire you the most?

CS: I’m inspired by any musician with sincerity in their music, lyrics and performance.

WiMN: What’s your favorite song of the moment and what about it makes you tick?

CS: My favorite song of the moment is “Beaumont Blues” by The Bellfuries… It just came out a couple of weeks ago. It pays homage to a bygone era but still sounds fresh and new. Great guitar, great lyrics/singing, amazing production – I highly recommend their new record.

WiMN: Tell us about a fond performance or studio memory that you’ve had with your band, The Carolyn Sills Combo.

CS: We’ve had many great moment together… Recording our first record was a highlight… We holed up in a barn in the Redwoods for a week, and came out with a collection of songs that truly represented our unique sound and style. Last year we performed down at the Cowboy Festival in Santa Clarita, and that was a highlight as well, getting to play the same festival as Don Edwards, Dave Stamey, The Lucky Stars…

WiMN: Do you have any new music and/or touring in the works?

CS: We are finishing up our second album right now, and it is due to be out before the end of the year. It’s more of our trademark spaghetti western swing sound, and it’s shaping up to be the perfect follow up to our first.

WiMN: What do you enjoy doing outside of Santa Cruz Guitars and playing with your band?

CS: Outside of talking guitars and playing music, I enjoy hanging out with my husband, Gerard, and my pup, Cowboy. We have way too much fun together.

WiMN: What are your goals for 2016?

CS: My goals for 2016 are the same as every year… Work hard, have fun, and be as good as possible to the world around me.

Front and Center: COO at Project Independent Networks, Moni Parra

The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.

Front and Center: COO at Project Independent Networks, Moni Parra

By Gabriella Steffenberg Moni Parra

From experience in artist and tour management, to a managerial marketing position at AMC Records, Moni Parra has been in the music industry for over 15 years.

Based in Tucson, Arizona, Parra is the Chief Operations Officer at Project Independent Networks. Project Independent is, as Parra describes it, the “producer.” As a company they book the tours, the venues and the local talent to create the events and showcases. Project Independent’s mission is to educate and showcase Independent Rock, Hard Rock, Metal, Punk and Hardcore artists around the world. Additionally, Parra is the first and only woman to have achieved Board of Director status in the 12-year history of the company.

Through the Project Independent Artists Alliance (PIAA) is comprised of some of the bands that Project Independent Networks encounter on the road that show professionalism and excel in showmanship, with PIAA currently representing 44 bands. The bands that accept the invitation to join PIAA are brought in and offered the services of a record label without any contractual obligation.

To learn more about Project Independent and PIAA, head to www.projectindependent.net.

WiMN: You began your marketing career as the Director of Client Services at a large independent dental firm in Los Angeles. What made you switch toward the entertainment industry?

MP: It wasn’t really a switch, because music has always been my life. It was more of a “right place at the right time in my life” kind of deal. I was becoming friends with a Southern California band and their manager. They scheduled a meeting one day and said that they were going to sign a record deal, and proceeded to offer me a job as their Tour Manager. It didn’t take much convincing to say yes. And now here I am, 16 years later…

WiMN: What has been your proudest career moment?

MP: Without a doubt, being named COO of Project Independent last year!

WiMN: What is your role in helping fulfill Project Independent’s mission?

MP: As COO I work hand-in-hand with each and every band that participates within Project Independent. From the first phone call and inviting the bands to participate, to being on the road, I am there offering my guidance and encouragement long after the tour is over. Some of these artists become my family. In fact, most of them that know me from working with Project Independent know me as Momma or Mamasan!

WiMN: Project Independent is currently in its 12th year of hosting the Living Loud tour, which is an annual fall tour that is open to independent artists within the rock genre and has been webcast live to a fan base of nearly 2.5 million viewers worldwide. With less than two months before the tour kicks off, what are you looking forward to the most?

MP: With our recent partnership with North American Independent Rock Music Association (NAIRMA) and the Foundation For A Sound Solution, a lot has changed with Project Independent. For one thing, we no longer webcast our events – that is reserved for the LIVE Awards show in January. For another, Project Independent is no longer a pre-sale program.

I’m really looking forward to getting out on the road and seeing how the changes enhance the program. I also am looking forward to meeting the new artists that are joining us. And, of course, seeing how the artists that return to Project Independent have grown and evolved. After all, what parent doesn’t love seeing their children grow up?!

WiMN: What has been the biggest success story of PIN thus far?

MP: I would have to say our biggest success is our longevity. Twelve years in the music industry as Independent shows our dedication to the Independent Artists. From humble beginnings in Southern California, to the World’s only International Rock Network, I am awed and grateful to be a part of it all.

WiMN: What, if any, challenges related to gender inequality have you faced during your career?

MP: We all know that 16 years ago, women in this industry were few and far between. But that being said, I personally never let my gender be an issue. I treat people the way I would like to be treated: as an equal. I’m happy to say that I have received the same treatment in return. I found that being a confident woman in this industry has, at times, given me the upper hand.

WIMN: Tell us about the Foundation For A Sound Solution, a California based non-profit for independent musicians, as you recently became their Public Relations Director.

MP: I was first introduced to the Foundation For A Sound Solution through NAIRMA. NAIRMA approached Project Independent in regards to turning our annual North American tour into their Nominee Showcase for the 2016 NAIRMA Awards. I spent time with their Board of Directors, many whom I knew from my years on tour, and felt that they really understood the plight of the Independent Artist.

They offer educational grants for continuing music education, as well as business grants for artists to assist with expense such as touring and equipment. They also contribute to school and community programs to ensure that music stays a relevant part of the community.

WiMN: What is your advice to other women in the music industry?

MP: Don’t let someone else’s idea of what “success” is dictate your future! If you have the passion, the drive, and the patience, you can achieve it all – being a woman is just a bonus!!

WiMN: What do you have in store for the rest of 2015?

MP: My year is pretty much packed with preparing for and embarking on the 2015 tour for Project Independent, and preparing for the 2016 NAIRMA Awards this upcoming January in Los Angeles, CA.

I hope you will all come to your local NAIRMA’s Road to the Red Carpet Showcase and support the artists. Introduce yourself, and come give me a hug!