This week's feature is Andria Goodrow, a VIP Coordinator! She dove into what her job entails including all the highs and lows. Give it a read below...
Introduce yourself to us! What do you do in the industry? Where are you from?
Hello WIMI Readers! My name is Andria Goodrow and I’m a freelance VIP Coordinator for Artists on Music Tours. I was born and raised in New Hampshire but currently reside in Nashville, TN. I’ve spent the past 15-years working in the Industry in a variety of roles (Personal Assistant, Sponsorship Manager, Travel Host) but the bulk of my time has been spent on the road in the VIP realm.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I was hired on my first Tour in 2005, which puts me at the 15-year mark this May. Before I started Touring (in High School) my friends and I started an online/off-line Magazine called Hot Vibes. We focused on artist interviews, contests, and show reviews in the New England area. Through the Magazine we were able to connect with Tour Managers and other Crew members at shows and learn more about their roles on the Road. This is really what spawned my interest in working on Tour. I used my High School and College years to network and Intern at any position possible to gain experience. I had a lot of persistence which led to getting my foot in the door. (PS: Definitely don’t Google Hot Vibes now… we gave up the domain a while ago and now you’ll find everything from websites on jewelry to scantily clad women).
When did you know being in the business is what you wanted to do? Was there a specific moment where you were like “oh god, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
I’m not sure there’s a specific ‘aha’ moment I can attribute my infatuation with the touring industry to but there were surely a lot of collective moments. Growing up I always had an interest in creating, putting on shows, and going to live events. I do not have a musical bone in my body, so I think there has always been a constant need to chase the next best thing, working behind the scenes. Through the experiences I had in High School I was able to see that working in the Music Industry was a legitimate job and proving this to others became my new goal.
Is there anything you struggled with (or even still do struggle with) being in the industry?
On a personal level the older I get the more I struggle with being away from friends and family. It’s hard to constantly miss out on milestones like births, weddings, or funerals. Last Summer a Tour colleague passed away unexpectedly and it really hit me hard. I felt a lot of guilt for not staying in touch with him as much as I should. I wasn’t able to fly home to attend the Celebration of Life with our community of friends because I was on Tour. I still regret it. Time on the road goes by so fast all you have time to think about is your job in the moment. It was an eye opener for me to make time for what’s important and to keep better communication with those I love.
What is the best part of your job? Why?
I don’t want to say ‘travel’ because it romanticizes the job, but it’s true. The flexibility to have a constantly changing work environment means it never becomes monotonous (for me). It also means I get exposed to different cultures around the world and because of those experiences I’ve been able to grow both personally and professionally. It’s not always sightseeing and room service but when it is, I try not to take it for granted.
Is there someone who you consider as your mentor in the industry?
Yes, through Hot Vibes my friends and I were able to connect with Laila Bagge (Wahlgren) who was Manager for the Swedish girl group Play (circa 2000’s). She was the first person to give us a look into what life is like on the road by allowing us to shadow her for a string of shows in the New England and Tri-State area. She also gave us tons of access to the group for any of our Media needs (photo shoots, interviews, contests, etc.). This was the first time I really got to get an unedited look into what life was like on the road. Although I’ve lost touch with Laila over the years I had a full-circle moment while I was in Sweden on the Justin Bieber Tour. I was coming out of a convenient store and saw her picture and name on the front page of The Metro paper. I had to do a double take; it was surreal. After I got back, I did a bit of research and found out she went on to become famous in Sweden and since 2004 has hosted Idol (the Swedish version of our American Idol) show. It made me smile knowing she’d be proud of all that I accomplished since we met.
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry?
Make your own opportunities, don’t expect them to appear. Volunteer, Intern, take jobs that don’t excite you. The more knowledge you have the more you’ll stick out. It’s okay if your career goals change based on the opportunities you have. The Music Industry has hundreds of jobs you probably haven’t even thought about. I heard Oprah say in an Interview, “do what you have to now, so you can do what you want later”. Work hard and be persistent. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to. And when you get your foot in the door don’t stop working hard. You should never stop giving 100% because there’s always a hundred other people in line behind you waiting to take that job.
Have you ever been turned down or not taken seriously because you were a female in the industry? What did you do when put into that position?
Yes, and I could write a book on this subject. I will say that I experience this a lot less now vs. when I first started back in 2005. With sexism I can’t control how others view me, I can only control how I view myself. I won’t lie and say I don’t get extremely angry when a Male Venue Manager refuses to speak with me and will only speak with my male counterpart or when an Artist tells the company I work for that they won’t hire a female for tour. It’s insulting, demeaning, and incredibly saddening, and although the New Englander in me would love to tell those people off, it’s not worth it. The best response is to give 100% and prove them wrong. It doesn’t take skill to scream and curse at someone, but it does take skill to do the job correctly. There’s no better reward than upstaging someone that’s sexist with my hard work ethic.
What are some of your other hobbies? What do you do in your free time (which we know can be very hard to find)?
I love to keep busy on my off time, so I have several. I started designing Custom Press on Nails that I sell through Etsy and on Instagram (@FoxyDigits). I am a huge fan of Halloween and Special Effects Makeup, so I started a separate Instagram account to showcase the characters I create (@Foxy.Horror). Another hobby (that I also use to generate income on my off time) is sourcing and reselling clothing on Poshmark. It’s great to see used clothing get a second life.
Would you like to get into other areas of the industry besides VIP coordination?
Yes, previously I’ve worked on the road in several different areas (Personal Assistant, Sponsorship, etc.) but for the past 7-ish years have been focused on VIP. I am always open to other Tour or Event related positions and believe my path is always evolving. The one thing I know for sure is that I don’t see myself as valuable in an office only job, I have to have some on-site involvement. As I get older, I am continuously seeking new ways to apply and grow my skills within the Industry. Outside of the Industry I’d love to get more involved in Emergency Management or other related non-profit work. I would love to use the skills I’ve obtained in the Event Industry for the greater good. Volunteer and Donation Coordination for FEMA or a similar company would really be fulfilling.
You’ve toured with some of the biggest artists (Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, etc.), what is it like touring with such well-known artists and working in the biggest venues?
I enjoy working with artists at all levels but the larger the crowd the louder the screams. There’s something electric about an arena or stadium filled with fans. With so much excitement in one place it’s harder to take your job for granted. It fulfills you on a larger scale because you realize that all of the hard work the artist, crew, locals, and venue staff put in to make the show happen paid off. Working with larger scale artists on the VIP front is amazing because they’ve been able to develop a large dedicated fan base over the course of their career. When I was younger meeting artists and going to concerts played such a crucial role in the development of my career path. It makes me happy to be able to assist in providing that same experience to fans all around the world through the tours I’m a part of.
The one consistent thing I’ve purchased throughout my career for every tour is baby wipes. Everything else can either be purchased on the road, or I don’t need it.
What is the best/worst tour memory you have?
This is so hard to answer because I have a few of each…. The most recent “best” tour memory was getting to go to Rottnest Island in Australia to see the Quokka’s on the Rob Thomas Tour. Exploring the Island with tour friends was such a beautiful way to end the 6-month Tour. The most recent “worst” tour memory was the Justin Bieber Mumbai, India stop (at DY Patil Stadium). The story is too detailed to elaborate here but I can honestly say by experiencing that show date I’ve evolved both professionally and personally for the better.
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
I would be lying if I didn’t say the Backstreet Boys.
What is something you can't live without?
Comfortable sneakers (I’m looking at you Adidas NMD’s).
Go-to Karaoke song?
I have a terrible voice so I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. If I had to pick it would be a tie between Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” and Hawthorne Heights “Ohio is for Lovers” (both singing and screaming parts).
Tea or Coffee?
First concert you went to?
Celine Dion (1996) at the Boston Garden
What’s something that you always have on you?
Gum and a Sharpie
Who is your dream artist or band to tour/work with?
Honestly, anyone that pays me. As a fan I’d love to work on any project with RuPaul. I’d also love to do a tour for Lady Gaga. Everything she does is spectacular!
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
It differs with the Tour and what the VIP Program entails. For the most current tour I did my schedule was:
6:15am – Wake up (on bus), get changed, + Coffee!
7:00am – Load In: Offload cases, sort VIP merch shipments
8:00am – Walkthrough: w/ Security & Venue Event Manager
8:30-10:30am – Meet & Greet Room Build
[space was a 30x30 footprint equipped with custom drape, carpets, a seated riser, photo booth, logo blow ups, inflatable seating, and lighting/music]
10:30am-4:30pm - VIP Assistants arrive and help build VIP Space(s)
Train VIP Assistants on Program
VIP Settlement with Tour Accountant
4:30pm – Security Meeting with Venue Staff & Event Manager
5:00pm-6:30pm – VIP Program (2 Packages, M+G and Early Entry)
6:45pm – Dinner + more Coffee
7:00pm-10:00pm – VIP Load Out: breakdown VIP spaces, push cases to dock, load truck
10:30pm – Shower
11pm-1am- “Office” Time: advance with venues, answer emails, complete show report, etc.
1:30/2am – Sleep
Where do you see yourself in five years?
There are so many answers to this… I’ve never settled on one vision for myself and I think this helps keep me open to any possibility. Some things I’d like to do within the next five years include: expanding my consulting services, go to school for SFX Makeup, explore career opportunities in the Emergency Management field, and get more involved in helping companies grow their VIP Departments.
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years?
I hope the Industry (as a whole) incorporates a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. I’d also love to see expansion on the benefits that 1099 and W2 temporary employees receive. I’d also love to see additional safety measures in place to help protect the health (and mental health) of Crew while on the road.
Lastly, what saying do you live by?
I’m from New Hampshire so I have to plug the state motto, “Life free or Die”.
Thank you, Andria for taking the time to talk with us! We're so lucky to be able to learn about everything you all do. You can follow Andria on Instagram here to keep up with her work in the industry!