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: Music Journalist, Amy Sciarretto
While she’s known as the queen of metal, Sciarretto is an expert on rock, pop, movies, and make-up (yes!). She’s written for Kerrang!, Spin, ARTISTdirect.com, Revolver, VH1.com, Alternative Press, Guitar World, Decibel, and more, and currently writes for Noisecreep, Spinner, Urban Ink, Rebel Ink, Beauty News NYC, PopCrush Blog, and many more.
In her 15-year career, she’s interviewed everyone from Pantera to Pearl Jam, and Nicolas Cage to Leonardo DiCaprio. She has also guested on and co-hosted numerous radio platforms throughout the past decade, and was a weekend DJ on Sirius Satellite Radio’s 24/7 metal channel Hard Attack for two years.
Simply said, if you read about music, cosmetics, tattoos or movies, you’ve most likely been exposed to Sciarretto’s top notch wordsmithing.
Get to know her below, and learn more about her at AmySciarrettoWriter.com.
WiMN: How did you get started in the music industry?
AS: I started early. I began writing for local-ish music magazines (Chord, Rockpile, Juice) when there were tons to write for in high school and college. When I got to college, I ran my campus radio station and was the music editor for the school paper while interning for a local trade magazine for radio. I seized any and all opportunities available and wasn’t choosy; I did them all. I was also a street-teamer for Victory Records in the Philly market, when street teams were a brand new concept. When I graduated college, I had four job interviews that June. My first gig was at CMJ, the college radio trade.
WiMN: What did you want to be as a little girl? Did you always know it’d be music-related?
AS: Always. I was always intrigued by what was going on behind-the-scenes at things like the VMAs. I used to watch and look for the people with headphones and clipboards and laminates. I used to be jealous of China Kantner, the VJ, because I wanted her job and to be the person introducing Beastie Boys and Bon Jovi videos.
WiMN: Who have some of your biggest mentors been?
AS: My first boss Bram Teitelman from FMQB. He taught me what it meant to do a solid job. Ron Platzer from Victory Records really helped to shape my career and taught me how to foster relationships. Jonas Nachsin from Roadrunner – that’s where I learned the nuts and bolts of how to break and work with bands on the label side of things.
WiMN: What are some of your most memorable interviews? Why?
AS: The best ones are conversations, where the reader walks away LEARNING something they did not previously know. I get that type of interview by asking non-standard questions. Some of my favorites were Mike Patton of Faith No More and Maynard James Keenan. They are smart and creative guys so you have to know your shit with them. But when you can converse with them and not just draw the interviewer vs. subject line in the sand, the end result is much more enjoyable for the reader.
WiMN: Tell us about your book Do the Devil’s Work For Him: How to Make it in the Music Business (And Stay in it).
AS: It’s a pocket guide of wisdom and experience meant for anyone looking to break into music, be it a band, someone who wants to intern and be a publicist, etc. It’s meant to be easy to read, easy to digest and easy to put into action. I think it’s perfect for a Music Biz 101 class to use as a textbook, too.
WiMN: What type of challenges have you experienced throughout your career for being a woman in a male-dominated field? What was your response?
AS: I have experienced people treating me like I was a groupie when I was backstage trying to get an interview done to meet a deadline. That always sucked/sucks. But I don’t let it bother me. I just keep doing what I do.
WiMN: You’re known for writing primarily about metal, but you cover a wide range of topics. What are some of your favorite things to write about and why?
AS: Makeup + fashion! Those are two interests of mine, so I like to cover that stuff, as well. Write what you know and love is the guiding principle.
WiMN: If someone is trying to pitch you a story idea, what are some things they should NOT do?
AS: Don’t cross the line between persistent and pushy. Don’t send a pitch on Monday at 2PM and send a push follow-up on Tuesday at 2PM. I get 1000 emails a day, two hands, one brain. I need a second to get to it.
WiMN: You’ve met some celebs along your successful career. Was there ever someone who left you entirely star-struck?
AS: Howard Stern! He was at a show I was at and I could not even muster courage to say hello because I love him so much.
WiMN: What are some changes you’d like to see in the music industry?
AS: There are still some people set in the OLD way of doing stuff. Adapt. Evolve. Or die.
I also don’t want to see record stores die off like dinosaurs. My nieces and nephews, in their teens, have never even BEEN INSIDE of one. Sad.
WiMN: Any other words you’d like to share?
AS: Love what you do, fuck the rest!