By Myki Angeline
Lisa Occhino is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Soundfly, a unique online music mentorship platform giving members access to music courses and one on one guidance. She connects music mentors and students all across the world with a vast, diverse roster of music professionals. In this exclusive interview, Occhino shares with the WiMN her extensive journey into the music industry and offers valuable advice to those interested in a career as an entrepreneur.
As a music professional with a strong work ethic, Lisa brings her many years of experience and knowledge to Soundfly. While attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music for music business, Occhino also interned at a handful of booking and music publishing companies and worked as editor-in-chief for their college newspaper. As if that weren’t enough to keep her busy, Occhino worked simultaneously on her startup company SongwriterLink, a website that uses an algorithm to match up songwriters who would collaborate well together. Upon graduation, she would work for three years at Sonicbids as the Managing Editor. Following that, she spent a few months traveling internationally while freelance writing, editing, and consulting for music tech companies before embarking on a career with Soundfly.
Occhino’s music experience began when she took piano lessons at age 6, which extended to songwriting by the time she entered middle school. Her love for all music expanded into her young adult years while playing in bands ranging from jazz to metal genres, and solo work as a singer/songwriter. But, despite her talents as a musician and artist, Occhino prefers working behind the scenes rather than being in the spotlight.
Working for Soundfly is something she truly enjoys for two main reasons; their mission and their team, “It’s a values-driven company with a mission that I really believe in and care about, and I feel so lucky that I get to work with such talented, creative, inspiring, and all-around wonderful people every day.” says Occhino. As the Marketing and Communications Director she can put her skills, background, and expertise to good use, while having room to grow, experiment, and learn; a perfect balance that keeps her motivated.
When asked if she has ever faced adversity for being a woman in the music industry, Occhino says she is very fortunate to have not, crediting her ability to pay attention to attitudes and company culture before accepting a position. She is grateful for always feeling valued and respected in the teams she has been a part of. Her mentors include her parents, who have owned a full-service advertising agency together for over 35 years, and the music department at Berklee College of Music.
Lastly, Occhino offers this advice to women pursuing a career as an entrepreneur in the music industry:
“I’ve learned that there’s more to it than just going out and trying to meet as many people as possible. A lot of it has to do with knowing the right people – ‘connectors’ with a strong network of their own – and the quality of those relationships. I believe that networking should be approached just like making new friends, without any sort of hidden agenda. In my experience, those deep, genuine connections with people are the ones that pay off, often in the most unexpected ways.”
She considers, All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman as essential reading to understand the ins and outs of every facet of the music industry.
And as a general tip, Occhino encourages approaching industry people whom you may assume are too busy or out of reach. As long as one comes from a place of authenticity and sincerity, it could surprise you how many of them would be willing to make time to talk to you and give their advice.
Subscribe to Soundfly’s Youtube channel to see educational videos like the one below: