It’s Jess!

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10007437_10203576585236754_4097551639242240231_nI feel like a New About Me is in order after about six months of changes! So let’s get down to business!

Got EducatedHey, I’m Jess.  I just graduated from Belmont University with a BBA in Music Business.  I love working in the Industry and I recently interned with CMT.  My next step in this crazy career path is Law School, so in the Fall I’ll be a professional Elle Woods.

 

I really enjoy: Nashville, country music, baseball, farmer’s markets, girl’s nights, puppy dogs, anything with Elephants,  coffee (two sugars, one cream), and causally capitalizing words I think should be.

 

 

1531584_10203054037493387_1015992539_nI’m really good at: rambling, awkward situations, making vines of my roommate, ordering takeout, drinking a six-pack of Angry Orchard when I’m happysadgoofymad, and losing my keysphonewallet.

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Mostly Likely you will find me: documenting my life and my friend’s (regardless of their opinions) lives via social media…or making nachos.

 

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Aliases: “The Original SCB aka Stone Cold Bitch”, “Captain”, “Maverick”, & “Boo Bear”

 

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I’m working on: that being right all the time thing…and being a southern belle… as well as world DΘMINATION.

 

You Can Follow all my Adventures on Twitter and Instagram under:Just_JessieLynn.  And I will be Guest Blogging on NowThatsCollege.com website.

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So You Want to Get into the Music Industry

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Check out this blog post and other’s this summer on Now That’s College!

Every year freshmen infiltrate Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee with the dreams of making it big in the Music Industry.  Whether that means playing, writing, producing, managing, or marketing music-they descend into this town looking for their “break” which will usher them into the big leagues.

What they lack to understand is that they aren’t alone.  Not only are there upperclassmen vying for these jobs and opportunities, but there are post grads, those opting out of school, and newly unemployed industry professionals on the chase.  Not to mention the people in New York, Atlanta, Austin, and L.A. who are trying to make it as well.

And as the Industry becomes increasingly smaller and smaller by the month with mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcy-the available employment opportunities begin to dwindle.

For lack of a better word: the Future of the Music Industry is Bleak.  Blame Generation X, the Government, the Recession, the Internet, Piracy, and really anything else you can capitalize…but its still a reality.

So why do we still attempt the impossible? I mean, the odds are not “ever in your favor” when it comes to this type of profession.

Maybe its the last frontier to make the American Dream a reality.  It and professional sports, seem to be the only occupations left that can be won by the common man and lead them to a better life.

Maybe its all those Disney TV shows about kids turned pop stars that brainwashed our generation.  Maybe its the “You’re Special!” notation that our generation grew up on.

Then there’s the overarching theme: We are all helpless hopeless fools who have been romanticized by our love of song.  Some days I like this one: the struggling artist.  I mean we are the ones in all the movies who end up making it and get the girl…right?

But if there is one thing I have learned after living and working in Nashville for four years (and trust me I acknowledge that I have much left to learn): it is that this sense of entitlement and this foolishness cannot get you a job and it will not put food on your table.

So If after reading all this, if you still cannot squash the notion of falling into this abyss; I have five tips to help you get an edge on everyone else who is on the hunt for your dream job.

1. Buy A Suit

Regardless of how you imagine the music industry is fashion-wise, you need to buy a suit. Sure, you probably won’t be wearing it every day to work, but when you show up to an interview you want to look your best.  You want to look as serious as you are.  (And if you’re not serous, stop wasting yours and everyone else’s time).  Put your best foot forward and spend some money on this; odds are you will be donning this monkey suit quite a bit.

Ladies you need a nice dress/skirt/Hillary Clinton Pantsuit that does not show off your assets.  In this industry, mainly dominated by men, there will come a time when you are accused of using your womanhood as a way to get ahead.  If it hasn’t happened yet (and bless your heart) it will. You will also have to prove that the info in your head is actually useful for things other than fetching coffee.

To all my artists out there, this is still relevant to you.  Gigging every night will not get you the contacts you need to get a head in this industry, so just buy the suit (or at least something nice from Nordstrom) so you can have a day job.

2. Volunteer

Yes, for free.

source: Grammy365

source: Grammy365

In Nashville, it is very common for labels and different associations to ask for help around album releases and festivals such as CMA Fest. You may find yourself stuffing press packages, escorting artists, or manning an information booth passing out koozies….

Volunteering may seem unimportant or boring-and at some point it will be-but it puts you in the right place at the right time with the right people. You will meet contacts this way which can lead to future employment.  That is, if you do a job worth remembering.

Leading into my next tip, these are also Resume Builders.  Adding these opportunities to your resume make you look like you have experience (which you kinda do), a good work ethic, and an interest in working in the industry from the ground up.

3. Have Your Resume Reviewed

To all my Business people:

source: LinkedIn

source: LinkedIn

PLEASE USE SPELL CHECK.

PLEASE KEEP IT TO ONE PAGE.

PLEASE HAVE MULTIPLE COPIES-nothing is worse than showing up to an interview without having more than one copy.

PLEASE USE LINKEDIN, PLEASE.

As for Artists with their Youtube/Instagrams/Twitter Accounts/CD Baby/Reverbnation Websites/Facebook Pages:

BE SOCIAL-like actually interact with people who are interested in you.

MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS EXCELLENT QUALITY-nothing worse than shitty sound recordings or your mom’s shaky video.

POST OFTEN

HAVE A ONE SHEET

4. Get A Degree

10342431_10203741885249151_7696620081474085990_nRegardless of what you want to do in this industry, I highly recommend getting a degree.  Sure Iggy, Steve Jobs, and Taylor Swift didn’t need one, but the kicker is you are not them.  And with all the odds I laid out to you, its better to be safe than sorry and get something you can fall back on in the event that this whole crazy dreaming doesn’t pan out. Many Colleges and Universities offer Songwriting, Entertainment Industry Studies, Production, Vocal/Music, and Music Business Degrees.  So invest in yourself and get one.

5. Intern, Intern, Intern…Then Intern Again

Lastly, Please Intern, and then do it again and again.  You will learn so much about the climate of the industry and you will meet so many people who can help you with getting to where you want to be.  Some internships suck.  Those are the ones you take and still learn something from and move on.  Some internships are awesome.  Those are the ones you take and hopefully run with. Internships lead to contacts and jobs.  They are you’re big break silly. Regardless if you are bringing your boss coffee or transcribing Luke Byran’s newest interview, it is the relationships you make that will help you in the long run.  In this business its not only what you know, but who you know. So put the entitlement aside-and intern.

As for my Artists:

Play everywhere and anywhere.  Going on a family vacation? Play for the locals.  At a party? Plug in your iPhone for a song or two.  Play Everywhere and Anywhere.

Pass out your links to where people can find your music.  Get a following.  Make friends with people who are trying to get into the business/are in the business and help each other.

 

That my friends is only the tip of an iceberg and I could probably write a book of do’s and don’t’s, but hopefully these will help you reevaluate if this is for you or not.  And if it is, hopefully they lead you to where you need to be.

My Best-Jess

The 2014 CMT Music Awards: Behind the Scenes

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cmtMusicAwards-2014Last night I had the opportunity to work backstage at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena.  But when I say last night, that means I got there at 8 AM that morning…

10401726_499656626801643_121387829_nUpon arrival I had to go through credentials to get my assignments and backstage pass. Then all of the Artist Escorts (aka Me) had to gather together to learn the run down of the arena and the many paths we would need to take throughout the night.  Memorizing dressing rooms, appearance schedules, which elevators and stairs take you where…it was a lot to take in.  Thankfully, the Talent I was assigned to was not performing so I had a low key schedule until they arrived.

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Starting at about 9 AM, the final dress rehearsals began for the show prior to the final show run through.  The ever talented and beautiful Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert took to the stage to sing their new duet “Somethin’ Bad” which is featured on Lambert’s newly released album Platinum.  Between the glitter cannon and the bad ass lyrics, we all knew this performance would be the highlight of the show.

2014 CMT Music Awards_Cham640Then came the rehearsal for the opening act where Luke Bryan, ZZ Top, Florida Georgia Line, and Jason Derulo (and his ever allusive dancers) all performed a mash up of their songs “La Grange”, “This is How We Roll” (which features Luke Bryan), and “Talk Dirty”.  From pyrotechnics to strategically planned remix, the act had the potential to epically fail.  Timing had to be just right, and it took several go throughs to get it down.  However, by the last run through it was show ready.

openingWe broke for lunch around 1:00 PM and that gave me some time to run through my Talent’s schedule and switch out my walkie’s battery pack.

lady-antebellum-cmt-music-awards-2014Next thing we knew, acts were arriving and the buses and dressing rooms were filling up.  Lines began to form around the Bridgestone and press was filing onto the red carpet.  Catering at Craft Services and the Crown Royal Room began to serve up food and drinks.  People were running golf carts to and from the bus lot frantically picking up and dropping off acts to rehearse.  The best way I could explain it is organized chaos.  Everywhere you looked people were running and tracking their acts.

imagesAfter picking my Talent on the red carpet, we took an elevator down to the backstage level. Here we had time for them to access the press room, WonderWall, and the Crown Royal Room to mingle with the other Talent onsite as well as their managers, publicists, and friends/spouses.

2014 CMT Music Awards - ShowYou’re main job as an escort is to be a babysitter for lack of a better term.  You keep track of where they are in the building 24/7.  You make sure they are where they need to be when they need to be.  You keep them calm, fed, glamed up, and hopefully on time.  I think that was the hardest aspect for me; trying to babysit my Talent without feeling weird.  After all, they were adults and honestly I think they were capable of going places and coming back to me on time.  Yet its live TV, and we run on a strict timetable with no room for error.  I had a booklet at least 20 pages long of our detailed schedule down to the second.

By 8:00 PM my feet were toast and we were not even half way through the show.  And I was pretty hungry seeing we hadn’t gotten a dinner.  Yet keeping up with mine and others talent (“Anyone have eyes on Luke Bryan?”, “Jess to Kelly, What’s You’re Twenty?” “Copy that”) made the time pass pretty quickly.

Next thing I knew the show was pretty much over and “ZZ Top has left the building…Lady A has left the building…Tyler Farr has left the building…Can anyone find the Derulo Dancers?” came flooding over the walkies.  As the mass exodus of stars caravaned down our hallway, they for once seemed like normal people.  It was like a college reunion where all these people who lived busy schedules were able to finally reunite and be with people who understood their lives.  They caught up and planned after parties or when they would finally catch up again.  For once, I wasn’t feeling the star struck wide eyed feelings I had to suppress all day.  These were just people under the fancy clothes and makeup.  They work harder than most people and for a few seconds in that tunnel they got to just be themselves.  It was very cool.

CMT-Music-Awards-2014-Show-PicturesAs Miranda and Blake, Carrie and Mike, Dan + Shay, and Brett Eldridge funneled out into their limos and buses, we finally met to turn in our gear and head out.  Sitting in my car had never felt so good, and I was so excited for the thunderstorm we had in Nashville last night to fall asleep to.

Perhaps I’ll get to actually watch the show sometime this week (I honestly only heard a few parts), but if I do so say myself; my view was ten times better.

-Jess

Forever

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Forewarning: This blog is gonna be sappy and sentimental.

Few things last forever.  Milk spoils in about 2 weeks.  Tire treads wear out in a few years.  Prime Time TV runs only about 6 seasons on average. Fashion evolves with the seasons. Kids grow up and move away.  Shops on Main Street will open and close.

Things change a lot.  I’ve never been good with change.  I actually hate it, I attempt to control aspects of whatever is going on.  I’m wayyy tooo Type A.

People change.  I know that’s debatable, that we in essence are the same people we have always been but over time we grow and adapt. But I believe that people change and that I am no longer the quiet kid from the Catholic School in Ohio.

Nothing in my life has ever been constant.  I’ve always felt a bit on my own.  Like I was always watching out for myself.  But in hindsight I realize that’s not the case.

646_1116880443744_1155893_nYou see, God must have known that I couldn’t do things on my own.  He knew I needed a best friend.  He knew I needed a sister.  So he gave me my best friend of 17 years.  6208_1209072748494_7841841_nWe have very similar families, for a while we could pass as sisters, we had similar interests, and a maturity level that seemed only laughable at times.

She’s my person, my rock, my soul mate.  But in the past year I’ve felt farther from her than ever. More than when they separated us in high school. More than when I moved 500 miles away four years ago.

10849_1313775606000_6852922_nAnd I could get into all my fears and self doubt and nights when I just felt like I was losing a piece of myself.  When I would compare our lives and question which one of us was on the “right” path. There were times when I blamed myself for leaving her alone at home when I was living a crazy schedule in Nashville.  The Times I felt like I had abandoned her.

There were times where I felt forgotten, like I didn’t matter anymore.  There were times I felt we couldn’t be more different.  There were times when people would tell me all the cliches “People Change and that’s ok to just not be friends anymore.”

I tried to accept that, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t give up 17 years of friendship over night.

And there was a time I figured I could, that I could just wave goodbye and she would be okay; she’d found someone to replace me anyway.

But I selfishly could not.  After all this girl had saved my ass more than once and been my only friend for a long time.

8416_1240896784075_5724222_nAnd I’m glad I have not.  Because after all the wondering and conflicted times; I’ve realized that we are Best Friends Forever.  I’ve got at least one stupid plastic necklace from an arcade to prove it and a million pictures to support as evidence.  We aren’t friends for now, or for another 10 minutes, or 10 years…

Forever means there are times when she’s gonna hate my guts, when I wear an awful shade of tangerine and hold her bouquet, when she FaceTime’s me so I know if the outfit for my date looks ok, when I babysit some grubby kid with her face, when she comes to my Law School graduation, and when we make up reasons to drink wine and eat cookie dough from the bucket.

148366_10200381462600685_1818563335_nI mean we have a lot to go through in the next 75 years or so.  A couple bumps in the road ain’t gonna stop us.

1525540_10202877061709103_1663341784_nSo bring on the times when I have to tell her things she’s gonna hate, when I wear an appealing gray dress and hold her bouquet at her wedding, when I FaceTime her for 2 hours all about my date, when I get to babysit her adorable babies, when she plays in a fountain with me on my Law School graduation, and when we eat cookie dough and drink wine for no reason.

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