Please tell us your story! How did you get your start in the music industry? Did you choose to work in music or did it choose you?
I got my start in the music industry while I was as an undergraduate at Western Washington University. During my final year at Western, I began booking shows at the University. I had taken over the role from my good friend, Hunter Motto, who now is the talent booker for the Crocodile in Seattle. The University was lucky enough to be located between Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington so we could scoop up artists when they were traveling between the two cities. This role made me fall in love with the music industry. As the year was coming to an end, I knew I had to try and network my way into a job. I put together a music conference so I could meet folks that I hoped would potentially hire me. I had a really hard time finding a keynote speaker and ended up using a Pollstar directory to cold call folks who worked in the music business in the Seattle area. I called Alex Kochen, the then VP of AEG Live’s Northwest office, and he agreed to do it. After the conference he asked for my resume and I eventually interned for him after graduation.
After the internship ended, I moved to San Francisco and did a very short stint helping market venues and nightclubs. I did that until Alex called me, offered me a position to be his assistant and moved back to Seattle. I accepted and packed up my life to start the role the following week. I ended up working for AEG Live for a number of years assisting Alex and the two other talent buyers, Chad Queirolo & Katie Brogan. The office handled both Showbox at the Market & Showbox Sodo + shows across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, lower British Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii. It was a great experience, but I quickly learned that talent buying wasn’t really the path for me. So a good friend connected me with a few companies in NYC and I accepted a role doing touring for Foundations Artist Management. I worked there for about a year and half until Goldie, co-owner of Mom+Pop, offered me a role as a marketing manager.
I ended up spending nearly 7 years at Mom+Pop, where I worked my way up to co-GM and Head of Marketing alongside Jess Page. We were able to work on some amazing projects including Courtney Barnett, Flume, Tash Sultana, and many others. We were really able to see the label grow and become what it is today. During this time I also went back to school and got an MBA. I caught the entrepreneurial bug and left Mom+Pop in January 2021. Jess Page had also left by this time so we once more joined forces and launched Rareform in July of 2021. Now we’re working directly with artist teams, labels, and distributors on marketing, digital, and release strategies. Our mission is to help artists release albums in the best way possible and to build sustainable fanbases.
What does your day-to-day entail?
The first thing I do is scroll through my inbox and read anything that’s urgent. After that, I take some time to myself and get my 2 year old pup Tula ready for the day. Once she is all settled, I’ll usually attack the most important tasks over a cup of coffee. We work with a number of international teams so the beginning of my day is focused on the UK and European teams, and my day ends with a string of calls with Australian teams. No two days are the same but I’m generally trying to move forward the campaigns we’re working on and chatting with third party teams. If I’m not going to dinners or shows in the evening my day usually ends having dinner with my partner and hanging out with our dog.
What is your favourite thing about the music industry? The most fun part for you?
My favorite part of the music industry is helping make an artist’s dream come true. I know it sounds cheesey but knowing that the work I do directly impacts them and helps them find their audience is pretty amazing. I hope that all artists I work with can have a long and successful career doing what they love.
Do you feel that higher education is a necessary step to enter the music industry?
Personally, I don’t think you need a degree to work in music but it helped me. It allowed me to find my way to the industry and sparked my interest in entrepreneurship. It put me in the right place at the right time but I had to hustle to figure out how to use the opportunities I’ve been given. I don’t believe there is only one path to follow, it’s much more like chutes and ladders vs. a vertical climb. I know many folks that have wildly successful careers that never continued on to higher education.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or adversity in your career, and if so, how did you approach them?
Being a woman in the music industry is challenging, but it’s getting better. There are more women in the senior level positions and more women in the business in general, which is encouraging to see. Prior to launching Rareform I’d only had male bosses, but have had the pleasure of working alongside some incredible women throughout my career.
Do you have a single piece of advice that you can share, that has helped you in your career?
What has really helped me in my career is not being afraid to ask for help or ask for an introduction. There have been a number of key introductions that helped me reach the next level in my career and put me up for jobs I wouldn’t know existed. When considering a move to a new company, look for roles that expand your network and teach you new things. Be a sponge and learn as much as you can.
Who has been your greatest champion in your career, who has helped you along the way?
I don’t know that I’ve consistently had one mentor but there are a number of folks that, without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Those people include Hunter Motto, Alex Kochan, Christen Greene, and Goldie. But the person that has been by my side for the last decade, and am now fortunate enough to call my business partner, is Jess Page. While at Mom+Pop, we worked hand-in-hand so I couldn’t think of anyone better to start and run a company with.
Do you have any activities that you do for self-care that are non-negotiable?
I’m learning to play tennis which has been a great stress reliever. It’s really nice to have an activity to fully focus on and break away from the stress & concerns of work. I also love a good dinner with great food, great wine, and great company/conversation.
How firm are you with boundaries between work/life balance and how do you try to enforce them?
My boundaries and work/life balance can use some work. I deeply care about Rareform, and all the artists we work with, so personal and professional life can be hard to separate from each other. This is something I am consciously working on, as I know the best way to take care of our artists is to make sure I am taking care of myself, as well.
Any tips for a quick ‘pick me up’ if you’re having a shitty day?
Taking a coffee break. Those few minutes to myself can make all the difference and help reset.
What inspires you?
Seeing the artists we work with succeed. And getting to see a live show, with so much being done online, it’s nice to see actual fans enjoying themselves and singing, dancing, etc. to music that you’ve been a part of marketing. It’s a great reset and I generally walk away from seeing a show with a million new ideas.
What does 2024 hold for you? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
This year will be pretty busy for our team at Rareform. We have some amazing records coming out in February including Royel Otis’ debut album; Middle Kids; and Erick the Architect to kick the year off with. Plus more big announces that we can’t quite share yet. We’ve been growing the company and the staff has been expanding, we’re looking forward to digging into new projects and working with new teams. I’m also moderating my first panel this year at SXSW in Austin: How to Break Your International Artist in the US. I’ve spoken on a number of panels, including at BIGSOUND last year, but this will be my first time leading the discussion.