To state that living in New York City this summer is an eye opening experience would be an understatement. Having only been to New York for one brief occurrence before venturing here at the end of May, I had no expectations.
I anticipated my experience with New York to be positive, but I did not predict falling in love with the city. The culture, people, and overall variety the metropolis offers are enthusiastically electrifying. Part of my love for New York comes from my sincere interest in my internship with Tommy Boy Entertainment, a record label that gained notable recognition in the 1990s with the New York hip hop scene from legends such as Afrika Bambaataa, Queen Latifah, House of Pain, De La Soul, and Naughty By Nature. Every morning, I wake up eager to jumpstart my day and begin my duties as an amateur A&R and mix/mastering engineer for the record label.
I reside in the NYU dorms in Washington Square Park with a monstrous collection of interns working in a variety of fields (I’ve found that a majority pursue finance and technology). While most work five days per week for the hopes of enjoying Friday night and starting the weekend, my favorite days of the week surprisingly lie within the workweek. A vast amount of my working time is spent perusing SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify for new artists to pitch to my supervisors, Brian Delaney and Rosie Lopez.
Brian is an early-thirties family man who lives for the thrill of discovering new artists daily. He is typically found in his office bumping the newest underground electronic or hip-hop jams on his KRK monitor speakers. For the most part, I interact and receive my assignments from Brian relating to A&R, pitching label signed artists to music blogs, and discovering new underground hip-hop music videos for the label’s “Heat Beneath the Street” YouTube series.
Rosie, the label’s head manager, carries a strong presence throughout the office while commanding Brian and the other employees ensuring that they are keeping the interns busy. Rosie grants me permission to sit in on A&R meetings every Thursday to witness the process for selecting potential artists to sign firsthand; initially, I found this as a very surprising yet honorable experience. She intentionally asks me as well as the other lower-level employees of our opinions of certain artists. Rosie relies on the opinions of the youth to guess whether or not a track could potentially be a hit. While she does contain a vastly more significant amount of experience compared to me, she utilizes the tools she is given by asking the opinions of younger employees of those immersed in popular culture (I consider this a very strong leadership quality when running a company or group of people).
Tommy Boy typically signs what I consider to be underground SoundCloud and Spotify artists with potential to release top hits within the future. The label current stands as independent but used to have an affiliation with Warner Bros. Records during the 1990s when their catalogue consisted of the New York hip-hop legends. To date, Tommy Boy A&R employees (including myself) comb through SoundCloud for hours on end searching for the next mainstream artist. I have been grateful for my experience with the label because they grant me a hefty amount of responsibilities such as reaching out to potential artists, reaching out to music blogs, running the label’s Twitter page, and various other duties. Brian has requested that I master the latest remixes the label intends to release along with a track I recently mixed for an up-and-coming Tommy Boy artist, Annalie Prime. My duties stay consistent from day to day, however, I always find new ways to enjoy my job whether it be discovering and reaching out to a new artist, finding the newest and hottest music videos on YouTube, or simply enjoying my time with my co-workers. I would not trade my experience in New York for this summer with Tommy Boy for anything else in the world. I have been so appreciative to experience such an educational opportunity.
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