My Dream Job: A Career In the Music Industry

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic, excited and reflective these past few days as I enter my last term of college. As a result, this blog post is a little different than the usual, which I thought would be fun. 🙂

I’ve always loved to create. Whether it be through writing, art, or music, creating something that I can then share with others is a passion of mine. Since I was old enough to read and write, I’ve loved to create my own publications. It started with “Sophie Magazine,” when I was nine, then led to my first blog at twelve, “DottyZine,” which I named after my pet hamster. “Sophie Magazine” usually featured interviews with my little sister, lists of my favorite books and music at the time, fake advertisements, and “letters to the editor” submitted by my babysitter. 😉

IMG_4324I am now entering my last term of college. I’ve studied journalism for the past four years with a focus on public relations, and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I feel so lucky to be able to say that I love what I study every day. It has absolutely been the right fit for me. My dream is to someday work in the music industry doing PR. This could mean serving as a PR rep for a band, label, music venue…who knows? Although I’m unsure of where exactly I’ll end up as of now, I’m beyond excited to get started. “Sophie Magazine” may be out of print, but I still have the same passion and drive to create that I did when I was nine!

I remember the day I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. It was one sunny, adrenaline-filled afternoon during my sophomore year of high school. My high school was located in the middle of downtown Portland, so I was surrounded by a vibrant community where things were always happening around me. I heard about a small, free concert venue through my local radio station that was just a few blocks away, and I started going to shows during my lunch breaks. As soon as the bell would ring for break, my friends and I would burst through the high school doors and race down the block. The shows were always short, usually ranging from 30-40 minutes, and the artists would often do a meet-and-greet with the audience after the show–the perfect amount of time to fit a high school lunch period or quick, after-school activity. 😉

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After meeting Ed Sheeran, October 2012

The first time I met one of my favorite artists there, Ed Sheeran, I walked outside afterward and sat on the curb, taking in what had just happened. A newfound level of joy washed over me–I could hardly contain myself. (If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my previous post about this experience/venue.)

This joy eventually developed into a passion for meeting the people behind the lyrics–the artists who changed my life, face-to-face. I remember grinning so hard that day my cheeks ached. I thought to myself, I want to be involved in this world. I want to help other fans feel this way. But how could this translate into a career?

I began exploring options within the industry as I entered college, and eventually settled on the path of journalism. My parents are both writers, so I’ve grown up around pen and paper, journals, and books my whole life. (The Tripod Trilogy, A Wrinkle in Time and The Golden Compass are a few of my favorites.) It was an area in which I was familiar, but I wanted to explore the branding, promotional, client-interactive side of the journalistic field. I discovered the world of public relations, and quickly realized I could apply my passion for music, and the excitement I felt that day meeting Ed Sheeran, to that area.

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Chatting with The Paper Kites, March 2017

I considered pursuing music journalism, but decided I’d like to be even more involved in the industry (both PR and music) than that. I want to help artists,’ and bands’ visions come to life, meet PR professionals, collaborate, learn, and create a brand, plan, or event that will not only benefit a client, but allow fans to feel that same joy I did that first time I met a favorite artist.

Music is such a huge part of what makes me who I am. It sparks an excitement, joy and enthusiasm in me that nothing ever has before. It drives me to take risks, venture outside of my comfort zone, meet incredible people, and continue on the path to becoming a PR professional. I’m thrilled to have found an area of study in college that I can connect to this passion. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Want to read more about PR/journalism in the music industry? I created a blog about this specific topic for a class I took last term! Check it out here.

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My first “concert review”? LOL.
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CONCERTS: Passenger

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I’ve been lucky enough to see singer-songwriter Passenger live three times now, and each time, he never ceases to impress me with his infectious energy, crowd involvement, funny travel stories, and remarkable music. Last month, I had the pleasure of seeing him in Portland, Oregon with my friend Shayna, who bought me tickets for Christmas! (Click the picture above to see a clip of Passenger performing his song “Life’s For The Living.”)

Michael Rosenberg, also known as Passenger, is most famous for his single “Let Her Go,” which, he jokes, often gets confused with the hit Disney song “Let It Go.” He formed the initial band, Passenger, with singer and friend Andrew Phillips in 2003. They produced one album, then the band broke up in 2009. After that, Michael continued to pursue music on his own, keeping the stage name Passenger as he busked around the world solo. He is good friends with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, and performs with him often. My favorite duet of theirs is “Heart’s on Fire.”

Each of Passenger’s songs tell a story. Focusing on themes of life, loss, laughter, love, change, travel, stars, summer nights, fear, shimmering waves, growing old, and his views of the world, Passenger captures vivid scenes and memories through his music. His latest album is titled Young As the Morning Old As the Sea.

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Before Passenger came on stage in Portland, the fabulous Paper Kites performed, an Australian band who formed in 2010. This was a fun surprise for me–I listen to The Paper Kites regularly, and I even played one of their tracks recently on my weekly college radio show. They rocked! I was standing directly in front of the guitarist, who had so much energy and incredible skill. I even met the guys after the show (see above), and talked to them about my music blog and radio show. They were pretty stoked to hear that I had played them on the air. Along with being enormously talented, these guys are so funny and kind. Check out their latest album “Twelvefour,” here, and click here to watch a clip of their performance in PDX. (Pictures below are mine.)

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My friend and I were first in line about 2 hours prior to the concert, and ended up being front row once we got inside the venue! It was amazing to be at the barrier–I’ve only ever experienced it at one other concert. Passenger was so interactive with the crowd–he responded to fans shouting compliments, and talked to all of us as if we were old friends of his. Being so close to him standing on the edge of the stage as the lights reflected off his guitar and the beads of sweat on his forehead made the whole experience so raw, real, and incredibly fun.

Passenger told a few different stories through out his set. He started by explaining the story behind his song “Travelling Alone,” from his album Whispers II. Michael said he initially struggled to write this song–he had the first half of it written, but wasn’t sure how to continue it.

Me at the concert.

He recalled the day when he had crossed paths with an Australian man who was travelling alone. The man explained that he and his wife had saved up to go on an extravagant trip together after their children had grown up, but she had died before they had been able to go. To honor her memory, the man decided to take the trip anyway. Along the way, however, he found that it was more difficult than he expected–he began to feel further away from home, and further from his wife, than he ever had before: “He said ‘I’m a long way from the Gold Coast. Furthest I’ve ever known. Oh and this just ain’t my home. It was my wife’s idea, but she’s no longer here. She left me travelling alone.’

The other half of the song is written about a woman Michael met during his travels. Her husband left her, and she told him the story: “‘See, ten years with this man. And a life time of plans. Oh, and I loved him to his bones. Now I’ve lines on my skin…And he’s traded me in. He left me travelling alone.'” Michael described to us the process of intertwining the two stories in order to weave the song together. Although the two stories are very different from each other, they shared a common theme of lost love experienced in different ways. Listen to it here!

Passenger played a mix of old and new tracks during his concert–one being “27,” a fast-paced, witty single that tells the story of his life up to the age of 27. Before performing it, he reminded the crowd of the importance of doing the things that make you happy, regardless of what anyone else might think. He wrote “27,” during a time in his life where he felt he had to “sell out to get sold”–he struggled to create music that he knew producers and record labels would enjoy, but not necessarily content that brought him joy. I sang along to every word!

After his final song, the encore was loud enough to break the glass windows. He had wrapped up the show with his single “Scare Away the Dark,” a fan favorite that features a distinctive chorus of “oh, oh oh, oh, oh oh no’s” that the crowd continued to belt even after Michael had left the stage. After a few minutes, he came back on and finished up the show with “Holes.” Click the photo below to watch the fun encore!

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After the show ended, Shayna and I took our chances and waited outside in the rain in hopes of meeting Michael. After about an hour or two, he came out and greeted us! He was so kind, asking us if we enjoyed the gig. I gave him a big hug, telling him that we loved the show, especially since we were lucky enough to get front row. “Oh yeah, I saw you dancing and singing!” he responded with his thick British accent. We chatted for a few minutes about Portland and music before he hopped onto his tour bus.

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Overall, it was an unforgettable night! Thank you to Passenger for being such a down-to-earth, talented performer, and Shayna, who made this night possible 🙂

CONCERTS: Tori Kelly

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Last week, my friend Annie & I finally got to see one of our favorite artists live on her #WhereIBelongTour: Tori Kelly! Tori started out on YouTube, and after being eliminated from American Idol, she began working on her own music when her YouTube career took off. She has an incredible voice that seems to have no limits–she can cover every song flawlessly, always adding her own sense of flair to the piece. She is able to sing extremely high notes, and she reminds me a bit of artists like Ariana Grande & Mariah Carey. I’ve been a fan of Tori for about two years, and she’s recently been making music with a few of my other favorite artists, including Ed Sheeran!

Tori’s opener was Us The Duo, an extremely cute, singing couple. Us The Duo got started on Vine, similar to Tori’s career on YouTube. They went viral and eventually gained a loyal fan base of over 4 million people. Now they’re touring all over the world. I absolutely loved their set. They sang a cover or two, and performed a ton of songs from their chart-topping album No Matter Where You Are. Their chemistry on stage was so genuine. They sang into each others’ eyes, and kept sneaking looks at each other as they took turns with their parts. ADORABLE.

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When Tori finally came on, the crowd went wild. She had been teasing us for hours on Snapchat and Twitter, tweeting out things like this:

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Tori debuted songs off her upcoming album, Unbreakable Smile, which really got me hyped for it’s release on June 23rd. Additionally, she belted out a few throwback songs that everyone knew the words to, like her most popular single, “Dear No One.”
My other favorite song that she performed was “Confetti.”

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She had an insane amount of energy on stage. She got the crowd involved and excited during her loud, fast-paced songs, (like her most recent single “Aint’ Nobody Love“) and when she sang her heartfelt, personal songs the audience quieted and it seemed as if she was singing to each one of us individually.

CGoICFVVAAAItwQIf you get a chance to see Tori live, I’d highly recommend it! She aslo loves meeting people, and often has fun meet and greets set up before her shows. I didn’t get to meet her, but I heard about the experience. On this tour, Tori ran a contest for fans to hang out with her before the show & drink tea. She posts a Snap of #teawithtori after each city she visits! (Tori’s SnapChat: KoriTelly)

If you are trying to meet Tori but don’t want to pay, get in line pretty early when going to one of her shows. Rumor has it that she says a quick hello to super dedicated fans waiting outside!

                     Find Tori:

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

Website

5 Indie Bands You Should Be Listening To

Check out these 5 indie bands I’m currently loving!

1. Bastille

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Dan Smith, the leader singer of this band, named this group after Bastille Day, which is celebrated on his birthday. The band formed in 2010 in London, and has released two studio albums: “Bad Blood,” and an extended version of the first album, “All This Bad Blood,” along with numerous remix CD’s and EP’s. You’ve probably heard Bastille’s most popular single, “Pompeii.” (The video is super cool, too!)

If you listen to Imagine Dragons, Of Monsters and Men, or Walk The Moon, you’re guaranteed to love Bastille. I can’t wait to see them live in November. My favorite song by them right now is “Get Home.” Browse their YouTube Channel here!

2. Bombay Bicycle Club

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With two EP’s and four studio albums, Bombay Bicycle Club is gaining a loyal fanbase. If you listen to Foster The People or Little Comets (who I will be covering on my blog very soon!) you should check out this group. They were featured in the soundtrack for Twilight’s Eclipse. Check out the song, “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep,” here.

I’m currently loving their song “Luna,” which you can listen to here.

3. The 1975

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(Photo by Carissa Thrush)

Matty Healy, Adam Hann, George Daniel and Ross MacDonald form The 1975, one of the most talented, and addicting bands of all time. Lately, I can’t seem to stop listening to them! I saw them live last year, and since then, I have been a loyal fan. I almost met Matty at one point–he walked right past me, but I was too chicken to stop and ask him for a picture. Next time!

This group has toured all over the world, and even played Coachella this year. The band currently has only one studio album out, but Matty recently tweeted that new music will be coming from the group on October 30th. (Not sure if that means new album or not, but definitely a new song or two!)

Do you listen to The Neighborhood or HAIM? Then check out The 1975 HERE. I love “Robbers,” “Heart Out,” and “Pressure.”

4. Cathedral Pearls

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This super new indie band from Spokane, Washington, released their first EP “Place Of Our Residence” in June 2012, and since then, have released “Off My Chain.” You can check it out HERE! I recently visited Spokane, and someone suggested I listen to this band. I’m really glad I did! I love the live version of their single, “Off My Chain.” Their sound is so refreshing. If you listen to the band London Grammer, you might really enjoy Cathedral Pearls. Take a few minutes browsing their website and find out more about them! Click here.

5. Two Door Cinema Club

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I first discovered this band when their song, “Something Good Can Work,” was featured in the popular YouTube video, “Obama’s Victory Dance,” about two years ago.

Two Door Cinema Club is the kind of band you dance to alone in your room. 😉 Their fun, catchy singles are the perfect cure for a bad day. My favorites by them are “Do You Want It All?” and “This Is The Life.” I’d love to see them live one day!

Love Vampire Weekend or Arctic Monkeys? If so, you NEED to listen to this band! Check out their YouTube channel here, and their newest single here.

Tweet me what you think of these bands!