We're back with another feature with the wonderful Jessica who is the manager of publicity at Atlantic Records! Check out her interview below!
Introduce yourself to us! What do you do in the industry? Where are you from?
Hi! My name is Jess and I am a Manager of Publicity at Atlantic Records. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, but now live in beautiful, sunny L.A.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I started interning in the film publicity world while I went to school at UC Santa Barbara. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience, but I always knew music was where I wanted to be. The summer before my Senior year of college, I interned in the Publicity Department at Columbia Records and immediately fell in love with the ‘biz. Through this experience, I made amazing connections that ultimately led to my first job as a Publicity Assistant at Atlantic.
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”?
It’s so hard to pinpoint an exact moment! I have always been drawn to the loud and chaotic energy of live shows and the community that comes with it. When I discovered that I could get paid to talk about music, go to shows, connect with artists, and work alongside like-minded people , I knew this was what I was meant to do.
Is there anything you struggled with (or even still do struggle with) being in the industry?
As someone who struggles with anxiety, I’d say the biggest challenge is work-life balance and stress management. It’s no secret that this industry is fast-paced and 24/7, so it’s really important to set boundaries and take time for yourself. Whether it’s a morning yoga class or a nice glass of wine in your sweatpants, do whatever you need to do make sure you’re rested and ready to get back at it; because as we all know, the music never stops!
What is the best part of your job? Why?
The best part of my job is definitely getting to do what I love alongside some of the most talented people on the planet. As a publicist, it’s especially rewarding to lock in an artist’s first major interview, TV booking, etc. and watch their dreams come true in real time. It makes all of those emails and late nights worth it.
It’s also been extremely empowering to work with artists who are using their platforms to get politically active and speak out against injustice. Change starts with all of us!
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry?
The most important advice I can give to someone starting out would be to always have the “no job is too small” mentality. Even though some of the tasks you’ll be handed may seem mundane or pointless, there are always opportunities to learn and grow.
Say yes! The best way to network and learn about the inner-workings of the business is to put yourself out there and expand your horizons. If another department needs help with something, always volunteer. The more experience you have across the board, the more educated you’ll be about the industry as a whole.
Be thoughtful and engaged when networking! It’s cliché, but it’s truly all about who you know in this business. If you do your research and actually take the time to listen and learn from those you’re networking with, the more memorable you’ll be.
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?
I think every woman in this industry has experienced this in one way or another. The big-ego, “bro-culture,” is rampant in this business, so it can be difficult to make people see you as an equal and take your opinions seriously.
Whenever I find myself in a situation where I feel like my voice isn’t being heard, I try to remain confident in my opinion and move forward. As women, it’s also important to support each other’s ideas when we recognize that one of us is interrupted, overlooked, etc.
What is something you wish someone told you about your job prior to starting it?
Be prepared to have a chaotic and ever-changing schedule (get ready for lots of late nights and early mornings!)
Learn to shrug off rejection and embrace your mistakes.
Invest in quality ear plugs + a solid portable charger
Get ready for your new uniform – “Publicity Black”
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’m a big foodie, so I love trying new restaurants around the city. I also love dancing, so if I go missing, chances are I’m on the dance floor under a disco ball somewhere. And like everyone in LA, I love the beach, but definitely don’t go nearly enough!
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
The hardest question! But at the end of the day, I’ll have to go with Blink 182.
What is something you can't live without?
Iced coffee, Pinot Noir, a cozy robe, and AirPods,
Go-to Karaoke song?
Actually this is the hardest question. My sister and I have an entire Google Doc of options, but I’ll have to ultimately go with “Ironic” by Alanis. Such an anthem!
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee. And too much of it.
First concert you went to?
Aaron Carter. And what a life-changing experience that was!
What’s something that you always have on you?
Altoids, lip gloss, portable charger, hoop earrings
Who is your dream artist or band to tour/work with?
Ah I’d have to say Spice Girls, Rolling Stones, Daft Punk, and of course, Beyonce.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
No two days are the same in the PR world, but a typical day begins with combing through emails from the East Coast while whipping up some eggs and a smoothie. I also do a quick Twitter run-through to catch-up on any news I may have missed (although that’s seemingly impossible these days!!). I then hop on my laptop to go through the Google alerts for my artists and mock up any clips that have posted since the day before. The rest of the day consists of pitching/following up on pitches, drafting press releases, researching different opportunities for my artists, catching up with managers and journalists, and covering artist promo/press days.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to still be working in publicity with an even larger and diverse roster!
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years?
There is so much that needs to change in the industry, but I think the most important thing would be for everyone who works in this business to feel safe, respected, equal, and supported by their peers and in their workplace. We have such a long way to go, but I think we’re moving in the right direction.
Lastly, what saying do you live by?
Take deep breaths and do your best.
When shit hits the fan, that’s all you can do!
Thank you, Jessica for letting us feature you! Be sure to keep up to date with her and follow her on Instagram!