Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Carrie Brownstein, Cronyism, and You

Hey there internship blog readers:

I will preface this whole thing by saying that the idea that people will want to read what feels essentially like a work-diary is somewhat off-putting.  I understand that what I have to say may be interesting (at times bordering on insightful!) but there is such a woefully large expanse of written words in the world already, and you’re really choosing the read this over say, Samuel Becket, Goethe, Allan Watts, Emily Dickinson, David Sedaris, or Khaled Hosseini?  The new Carrie Brownstein memoir is incredible.  Please, if you get one thing out of this – it is that you should purchase (from a local bookstore, not Amazon please) the book, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein.  You won’t regret it.

But all right, hey.  You’re here, I’m here, let’s dive in.

It occurred to me this past December that if I really wanted to, I could work in the music industry.  I don’t have any talent for playing music myself.  I can’t sing, play piano, play guitar, or anything like that.  But I love music.  I love buying it, listening to it, talking about it, reading about it, seeing and hearing it live, everything.

I happened to have a friend whose mom knew a guy who worked doing A&R at a major label.  My friend’s mom got me on the phone with him, and we chatted for about an hour about what he did, what I wanted to do (I didn’t really know – music related things?) and our own tastes in music.  I mentioned some of my favorite artists: SOPHIE, Jamie XX, Mitski, etc.  He told me that he knew SOPHIE well, and I had serious trouble containing my excitement.  Could I really professionally hang out with people like SOPHIE? (If you’ve never heard SOPHIE – check out his SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/msmsmsm).  I asked him if he had read Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.  He told me that he hadn’t yet – but that bringing up that book to him was about the best possible thing I could have said.  “It shows that you care,” he explained.  “You don’t take the time to read Carrie Brownstein and bring it up if you don’t actually care about this stuff [music].”

He told me that he thought I should consider artist management, and that he had a friend who ran a management company in Brookline, Mass.  He would send him my resume.  In the meantime he said, “Just hang out, keep reading Pigeons & Planes, going to shows, listening to records.  This industry is all about information, and the more of it you have – the more valuable you become.”

The next day the company reached out to me to set up an interview.

This whole process felt crazy to me.  Before I had spoken with this man, I had been sending a cover letter and resume to every label and management company that had an artist I liked on their roster; and getting essentially nothing back.  But here I happened to know somebody who knew somebody who knew a few other people and suddenly I had an interview.