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Music Industry Pros and Belmont Alumnae Discuss “Starting Your Business”

Belmont recently hosted a curb seminar, “Starting Your Business and Building a Team,” in the Johnson Theater featuring Stephanie Haymes, ’06 alumna and A&R coordinator for Warner Music Group, Callie Cunningham, artist manager for Red Light Management and Meredith Jones, ’07 alumna and agent at Creative Artists Agency. Haymes, Cunningham and Jones shared with students the importance of networking, what makes great artistry and experiences with team-building in the industry.

Cunningham shared that the strategy as a label is to have amazing relationships with different entities, from booking to publishing. She emphasized that this is the modern-day artist development. Jones said that networking gets started by students staying in contact with people they make connections with, even after their internships end. Cunningham shared that across the board, internships are about relationships. Students should understand the importance of these relationships and make ‘friends’ everywhere they go.

When asked how to best promote yourself when starting in the industry, Haymes said she likes to see someone’s personality “through the screen.” She advised students to present themselves in a light they’d like to be seen in on social media platforms. Haymes also advised students to be eager.

Cunningham said that social media is very important, but that the music should always come first. She also said that she is looking for great artists in any form with great songs that can interact with a room and sell themselves well. Since the artist sets the tone for the whole team, Cunningham said that everyone works harder when the artist tries to out-pace his or her teammates.

Haymes shared that her idea of the perfect package for an artist would be having an awesome personality, the ability to relate to fans and a willingness to receive help in finding the right songs. Cunningham concluded by advising students to be likable and nice. Jones said to have a great show, but not have a show that outshines the music, and to dream big.

This event was moderated by Chelsey Kent, Belmont 2012 alumna and creative director for Still Working Music Group.


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