Alumni Spotlight

Spotlight on Pete Stormer

Pete Stormer

What is your hometown?
I was an Army brat so I was lucky enough to live in seven very different cities before winding up in Murfreesboro for school.

What year did you graduate and in what area were you?
Graduated 2013 in Music Business.

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I compared music programs around the country and weighed them against the cost of attendance. I felt MTSU had one of the best programs in the country for the best price, and the proximity to Nashville was important to me. I lived out of state at the time, so I participated in the part time/full time program to get in-state tuition.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I began my career as an artist. I remember watching MTV when I was 14 and seeing someone play bass and thinking "That weird guitar looks cool. I want to play that." I toured as an indie artist for a few years and loved it, but decided that I would do better for myself on the business side of things.

What was the first concert you attended?
I think it was Sister Hazel and Fuel.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Some of my all time favorites are Manchester Orchestra, Jimmy Eat World, and Drake. New artists I'm excited about are nothing,nowhere., Nightly and Phoebe Bridgers.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I am one of the Digital Marketing Managers at Vector Management. I help coordinate marketing initiatives primarily in the digital space for our entire roster, including but not limited to social media, websites, content creation, advertising and more.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
I began as an intern while attending MTSU and worked as hard as I possibly could to make myself necessary around the office. I interned full time while also taking classes full time for two semesters and I was hired on when I graduated. I've been here for over five years and try to keep learning new things every day. It's easy to get left behind in the digital space if you don't keep up with the current trends.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
Being in management puts you as close to the artists as possible. You really feel like you're fighting for what matters every day, in both good times and bad.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?
I'll always be appreciative to Melissa Wald for keeping it real. She was full of advice on how to act in our internships and first jobs, and let us know that no one was going to hand us anything. If you want a job in this industry you have to work harder than everyone else and not just network, but build real relationships. I think MTSU does a great job of encouraging the "work hard" mentality.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Nobody owes you anything. Work like you know that, while being kind. It's a very small town and your reputation, good or bad, will get around. Get to know your classmates now if you haven't yet. Find the other movers and shakers in your classes, because those will be the same people who will continue to excel in the working world. You might have to work a less interesting job while you get your feet on the ground in the industry, and that's okay. A lot of jobs in this industry are, or operate like, a very small business so think like an entrepreneur. If you aren't constantly learning and evolving you will very quickly fall behind. What worked last year will NOT work this year. Read books. If you hate reading, listen to podcasts. The next 10 years are not the time to go home and watch Netflix every night. You need to be out networking and building your relationships and learning new skills in your free time. The music industry isn't about the corporate ladder. You could have just about any job in the entire industry in 5-10 years if you are good enough at what you do. Join a networking group like SOLID, YEP, or The Other Nashville Society. Or, start your own. Don't pay attention to people's social media. People are really good at pretending that they are much more successful and happy than they really are. Keep your head down and focus on what you are doing. Don't forget to take care of yourself in the meantime. Because we care so much about our work, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and ignore your personal and mental health. Most of all, have fun. If you're not having fun doing this, you should probably go do something else.

What words of wisdom do you have for students just coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Whatever you want to do, start now. You want to be a manager? Go find an awesome artist at the school and manage them. You want to be an agent? Start booking shows for them. You want to be an A&R at a label? Help someone put out an album and market them to other students in the school. Make your mistakes and learn lessons NOW before you graduate and you will be ahead of SO many people. But, stay humble. You will realize very quickly when you enter the working world that you don't know nearly as much as you might think and there will be a lot to learn still. Go volunteer at CMA Fest, or Music Biz, or any other program you can get yourself into. You'll be familiar to some of the people working in the industry and that will put you ahead of other people in your class when you're all going for your first job.

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention? Why?
Honestly, I was a nontraditional (older) student which gave me the advantage of wanting to be totally present at every class to finish school as strongly and quickly as possible. I think that paid off when Dr. Barnett recommended me to Vector. I couldn't ask to be at a better place.​

 

Spotlight on Will Reynolds

Will Reynolds

What is your hometown?
I grew up in Kirkwood, Missouri.

What year did you graduate and in what area were you?
I graduated in December of 1983 with a BS in Communication and minors in Recording Industry Management, Business Administration and Music. I also have 12 hours of post graduate classes completed.

Why did you choose the RIM program? 
I was a symphonic French Horn player in high school and a music major for my first two years of college. By the end of my sophomore year, I realized that I wanted a career in music but not performing and not teaching music or conducting. When I discovered the RIM program, I realized that there were several other paths to careers in the music industry which were available to me. My good friend and I left St. Louis in March of 1980 to visit MTSU. After getting a tour of the Haynes House recording studio by RIM fixture and icon, Rocky Schnars, we were both sold on RIM and MTSU that very day; our decision to come back was easy.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career? 
My mother was a talented pianist, my father played clarinet and both older sisters played string instruments very well, so I was immersed in music all my life. If there was a defining moment that sent me specifically towards a career in music it was discovering (while working at an animal hospital) that I was allergic to one out of every three cats and my only other strong career interest at that time was to be a veterinarian.

What was the first concert you attended? 
St. Louis Symphony concert most likely. Or possibly a concert which one of my sisters was performing in. My first rock concert was Aerosmith opening for Bob Seager at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown St. Louis.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Rize, Tuba Skinny, Kevin Renick, Foo Fighters, Alison Kraus, Southern Culture On The Skids, Collective Soul, Dwight Yoakum, Son Volt, Peter Mayer, Elastica, Repubica, Veruca Salt.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?  
I am the president and owner of MediaMan Productions which includes four divisions; MediaMan Productions (Internet & Audiovisual Services,) NASCAR This Week (WRFN 107.1 Pasquo,) Fantasy Racing Stats (Fantasy NASCAR Statistics) and Tennessee Prompters (the largest, dedicated, full service teleprompter provider in the eight state central south region.)

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?  
I came to MTSU with the intention of pursuing a career in audio engineering and production but realized early on that I did not want to spend my life listening to out of tune instruments repeating the same licks over and over again (in a room with no windows). I realized that, in an industry loaded with talented competitors (my fellow RIM classmates), I did not have the same passion for engineering and music production that my classmates had. I switched to a business administration emphasis within RIM but then, as an ARMS (Association of Recording Management Students) volunteer, I happened into an opportunity to work with cutting edge live video production equipment which ultimately led me to discover my calling… producing and staging large multi-image audiovisual presentations to live audiences across the country. But, technology giveth and technology taketh away (when was the last time you used a 35mm slide projector?) I was laid off during the recession of 1991 and forced, due to my inability to find full time employment in my field, to go into business for myself (which I now see as a blessing). I’ve been self-employed now for 28 years.

What’s the coolest thing about your job?  
That’s easy. I love what I do for a living. I love working in locations all over the country and I thrive on pressure and adrenaline (thriving, not just surviving, under pressure). Teleprompting an important speech for a live convention audience or prompting on location for network news anchors to millions of viewers via live international feeds sure beats a 9-to-5 job any day. Helping small businesses build and profit from their internet presence or to coordinate all of the technical aspects of a new business’ grand opening concert sure beats driving in rush hour traffic ten times each week.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?  
As my spiritual teacher and inspiration, Professor Joseph Campbell put it simply, “Follow Your Bliss.” Be willing to shift course, to change your scholastic path, to follow your instincts and discover a career you’ll love. I entered RIM as a junior, fairly certain of my path, but switching my focus and changing my scholastic direction ultimately led me to a profession I love and to a rewarding career.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Every potential candidate for a job brings three primary attributes to the table… aptitude, attitude and experience. Aptitude cannot be taught; you either have the skills that are necessary and are capable of doing the job you applying for, or you aren’t. Attitude cannot be taught; you either desire to advance yourself and to be the best at whatever you do, or you don’t. Fortunately, if you have good attitude and the aptitude that is needed, then you can learn anything you don’t already know. Therefore, lacking experience as you enter the job market may not be as big of a negative as you might believe if you promote your attitude and aptitude. Whenever you interview for a job, be sure to make a point of saying that you possess a number of the skills which are necessary for the job. Tell the interviewer that you want the job, that you are eager to begin work and that you will strive to be the best at the tasks you are being hired to do.  And be sure that the interviewer knows that you are eager to learn anything you don’t already know.

What words of wisdom do you have for students just coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?  
My advice would be to find a balance in everything you do in life. Work hard, but not too hard. Play hard, but not too hard. Enjoy the passage of time and help leave the world a better place than you found it. Live life up tempo! I spent my first two years at a different school but my biggest regret and/or unknown was not being told by my student advisor at the start of my freshman year that I could have taken CLEP tests and knocked out many required general study classes which would have then allowed me to take more independent study classes and/or advanced level classes of interest.   

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention? Why?   
Dr. Geoff Hull’s Legal Problems class. I probably use what I learned in that class on a regular basis as much as lessons learned in all my other classes combined and wonder what I have forgotten and/or relearned the hard way over the years since.

 

Spotlight on India Jade

India Jade

What is your hometown?
Cajun Country/ The Crawfish Capital… Breaux Bridge, LA

What year did you graduate and in what area were you?
Fall 2011 in Music Business

Why did you choose the RIM program?
Cliche, but for as long as I can remember I’ve dreamed of being in music entertainment, specifically a singer. It was only right that I pursued a career in a field I was truly passionate about.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I would have to say during my middle school years. At that time, I realized there were so many roles in the industry of music and entertainment. Even if I was not successful as a singer/songwriter I could obtain a career in other areas of the business.

What was the first concert you attended?
Earth, Wind & Fire at the Houston Live Stock and Rodeo 1997. I vividly remember Verdine White’s luxuriously long flowing hair! :)

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
P!nk, Leikeli47, Raja Kumari, Solange, Janelle Monae, Ray BLK, Jon Bellion, Khalid, Skepta, Julia Michaels, Midland, Taylor Swift,  Dua Lipa, Jidenna, Kehlani, Big Sean, Anderson .Paak, HAIM, twenty one pilots, DJ Snake, Major Lazer this list could go on for days!

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I’ve created a media company, DJade Media, where I am DJ & Producer. I am a mobile DJ providing services for parties, weddings and other events. I also DJ and MC/host for artist’s live performances. I’ve worked with artist such as Blaze x Black, Erva Carter and DEN. I have performed a plethora of events around the city of Houston and Louisiana. I have been named as Broadcast Houston’s #2 top female DJ. I began my DJ journey as a mix DJ using a pioneer DDJ-SX controller and have converted to a digital vinyl system which allows me to use vinyl. I pride myself on actual turntablelism; i.e scratching, beat matching etc. I’ve acquire two technic 1200s and am now officially a #GirlGoneVinyl. I’ve rebranded myself as Jade “SheJam”, and am building SheJam Ent. The overall goal is to encourage and help the youth obtain their dreams and goals. I want to assist them by helping to build confidence, obtain resources, and learn basic life skills to achieve success and pursue their passions. I am also a social personality and brand ambassador for Cox Media Group. I perform promotions for their two radio stations, The New 93Q Country (KKBQ) and Houston’s Only classic rock station The Eagle (KLGK). I interview artists and obtain footage for social media platforms. I also DJ for the stations promotional events. Along with all that, I also bartend and do work for a temp agency part time! Extra cash flow to invest in myself and my brand!

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
My career path, like most I’m sure, has been a rollercoaster. Right after graduation in 2011, I moved to New York City and obtained an internship with Sony Music. I was assistant to the A&R manager of Sony Masterworks, Sony’s classical music label. Due to some unfortunate circumstances I had to relocate to Houston, TX, which isn’t far from my hometown. I became a technician for the Apple store and remained in that role for 3 years. Throughout those 3 years I worked on solo projects, produced on other artist projects, and practiced my skill set as a DJ. I got to a point where I needed to let go of all things that exhausted me mentally and kept me from putting in the energy and efforts into my true passions. I took a few major risks, quit my secure job with health benefits and begin building my company and brand. So far it has been the most enlightening and amazing journey. I’ve never felt so sure and stress free in my life. It’s an amazing feeling!

What's the coolest thing about your job?
I get to do what I love regularly. I wake up and am excited about my days. I don’t hate the idea of going to work. I also get to work with and meet other amazing creative minds.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?
I think the most important thing that I realized during my time at MTSU is that you only have one chance to make a first impression. With that being said, be you and don’t be afraid to shine. You should never dim your light for anything or anyone. Be the best version of you and put your best foot forward at all times. Those who are forgotten were never known!

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
It never hurts to try different things until you find what is truly right for you. Society’s  definition of responsibility may not necessarily be what’s responsible for your soul. So always do what genuinely feels right to your true self. Of course be logical, but make sure you’re truly happy with the decisions you make.

What words of wisdom do you have for students just coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Be involved on and off campus. Get to know your fellow RIM majors, attend events and guest speakers, and don’t be afraid to try your ideas. Attend local live shows. This is the perfect time to grow your network.

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention? Why?  
The one class I wish I would have paid more attention would have to be Digital Audio Technology. Being a DJ and producer, a lot of that information has come in handy when working in studios.

 

Spotlight on Leigh Ann Jones

Leigh Ann Jones

What is your hometown?
Was born in Danville, VA and moved when I was 7 years old to Franklin, TN.

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
May 1997, Majored in Recording Industry Management with a minor in Mass Communications and Marketing.

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I wanted to work in an area I was passionate about which was music.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
In high school when I was in Chemistry, I knew I needed to find something without a lot of Math or Science haha.

What was the first concert you attended?
Anne Murray at Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
I listen to all types of music from Country, Contemporary Christian, Contemporary. My favorite Artist of all time is Amy Grant.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
Trainer at WME (William Morris Endeavor). I train all of the new employees that begin their career in the Nashville Office and continue to help them at each level of their career. I also oversee our mailroom, interns and floaters.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
I began working in management for Glen Campbell Enterprises and then transitioned to the Agency side. I ended up working for the Agency that repped Glen and one of our management clients Bryan White.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
Training and Mentoring the employees and watching them grow and achieve their goals. Whether it is being an Agent at our company or moving into another aspect of the industry that fulfills them.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today?  Any life lessons?
Work Hard! Don’t let your ego get in your way.  Always remember where you come from and you once were the new person. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Know that you have to be patient and passionate about what you do. This industry is not always easy. Patience will pay off in the end but you have to give it time. Things will not happen overnight.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program?  Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
There is not much I would have done differently. Networking is key. Getting involved in the program. Getting to know your fellow students because you will one day work in this industry with them. Networking and attending outside industry events is really important. Get to know what is going on in the industry and the trends are important.

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention?  Why?​
I wish at the time there had been a Talent Agency Class. That is the one thing that I really didn’t have much knowledge on moving into the industry.

 

Spotlight on Brent Rawlings

Brent Rawlings

What is your hometown?
My hometown is Rockvale, TN.

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
I graduated in 1993. My minor was Electronics and specifics were in Music Production. Most likely equates to Music Biz.

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I knew I wanted to work in music in some shape or form and felt MTSU was well rounded enough to give me all the necessary tools.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
My dad was offering to pay for my education and I was already playing music. It just made sense to find a school with similar interests and surround myself with a bunch of like-minded individuals. In my early 20s I knew I’d be a bass player. Then I saw Bela Fleck give a performance on campus and Victor Wooten made me realize I should bone up on my engineering skills. I’ll never forget that day.

What was the first concert you attended?
Willie Nelson with my parents.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Royal Blood, Tame Impala

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
On tour I do front of house mix. Off tour I’m monitor engineer for rehearsals, multitrack demos for upcoming albums, help at band’s home studios, and many other manual labor style jobs like lifting gear and sweeping floors. I run internet and speakers for occasional parties. This list could go on and on.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
I opened a small studio. It had a tape machine and a computer. Pre-laptop recording. I also ran sound at local clubs and still do when the opportunity arises. Being part of the local scene was/is the key to getting any work.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
It’s not a 9 to 5.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today?  Any life lessons?
There’s no way for the Industry to absorb every individual that comes through the program. Those words from a teacher stuck with me

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
The song is way more important than the kick sound.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program?  Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Go to every class and sit in the front. Get involved in as many things as possible.

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention?  Why?​
Studio Maintenance. The skill of troubleshooting is underrated. It seems a whole course could be taught on this topic. As things have gone digital, I’ve become more of network engineer than I ever imagined.

 

Spotlight on Aaron Tannenbaum

Aaron Tannenbaum

What is your hometown?
Lynchburg VA.

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
2002. Music Business.

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I had a gut feeling when touring the campus that the program was the right fit for me.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
No, once the love of music became a real passion for me through school and friends, I knew I would be involved in some capacity the rest of my life.

What was the first concert you attended?
Bob Dylan.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
Agent CAA. Planning, negotiating, and executing anything related to touring and expanding an artist career and creative goals.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
Receptionist, Agent Assistant, Agent.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is seeing an artist on stage and proud of his or her accomplishments.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Out work everyone, be kind and honest.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Do as many internships as you can. No classroom can substitute for being present in the day-to-day operations of a job that you are interested in.

 

Spotlight on Anderson Hall

Anderson Hall

What is your hometown?
My hometown is Chattanooga, TN. I was born in Chattanooga, but my family moved around fairly often throughout my childhood. During those moves, we lived in Jackson, TN for a long span of time too. In Jackson, I really started my devotion to music when I picked up my primary instrument on guitar. But when I started attending college, my family moved back to Chattanooga and been here ever since then.

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
I graduated in December of 2014 with an Audio Production Concentration. I tried my best to take as many live audio courses that were offered.

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I chose the RIM program because I was accepted to MTSU my freshman year; however, I was living in NC at the time and attended Appalachian State University for a few semesters. After my family moved back to TN, I gained in state tuition at MTSU, so I transferred in Spring of 2012. The main reason I chose the RIM program is in the past I considered a career in the studio side of the recording industry, and MTSU was the top choice school for that. Over time, I discovered that my true passion was in Live Audio as I engineered concerts, theatrical musicals, and corporate events. Also, I had developed a passion for music as I continued to learn multiple instruments including guitar, piano, bass, mandolin, violin, and vocals. I realized that my passion and knowledge of all of these instruments could be harnessed even more as an audio engineer controlling the timbre of each one along with other instruments too.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I don't know if I had one specific or defining moment that I knew exactly. I have always had a huge passion for music, so it was almost as if I knew in my younger adolescence. I had been performing often, but just started to learn the audio production side of things. It was my freshman year of high school when I started mixing live theatre that I began to get a strong passion of sitting at a console.

What was the first concert you attended?
The first major world tour sized concert I saw was The Eagles on their Long Road Out of Eden tour. It was a great show, and they were the only band performing that night. It felt like they played for almost three hours. It was pretty good seats that we had too. Ironically they are a client of the production company I work for, Clair Global.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
I regularly listen to Bob Dylan & The Band, who backed up Dylan for many years. I have tons of their albums, digital and vinyl, that I enjoy. I also have had the pleasure to see Bob Dylan live a few times on his recent tours. I also listen to Steely Dan very often. I've seen Steely Dan live three times over the years. Lately, I've also started listening to Grateful Dead with the classic album American Beauty. I've seen the current version of their band, Dead and Company, live with John Mayer a few times recently too. Other artists include The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Tom Petty, and Neil Young.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
My current position is Clair Road Staff where I tour with a variety of artists. This past year I worked with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts as Monitor Engineer with In Ear Monitors, Floor Wedges, and Side Fills on a Digidesign D-Show console. I toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul to Soul World Tour as PA Tech, where I was responsible for hanging three line arrays and two sets of subs on stage right, putting up all of the front fill speakers where the arrays don't cover, and setting up each of the opening acts' performances too. This year I also did a one off at Fenway Park to end James Taylor's tour where they added four sets of delay speakers that I helped setup.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
My career path has always been live audio. I really truly began this career at MTSU Production Services (MTPS). I started off as a stagehand just helping set up shows and tear them down. Over the years, I really worked my way up and was Monitor Tech, Monitor Engineer, FOH Engineer, and System Engineer on numerous shows with up to 70 or 80 hour work weeks sometimes while still being a full time student. After I graduated, I still worked at MTPS full time and was promoted to manage all the technicians and stagehands for multiple shows around campus. I've toured with a smaller band called 12 South. They do mostly wedding receptions, but other events include corporate shows and holiday parties. This is where I really began to get a touring experience with traveling and gigging. Most recently, I got employed with Clair Global, one of the largest touring audio companies. As their name states, they are a global company with offices and warehouses all over the world. This year I visited almost all 50 states with them along with many places in Canada too. Over all these years, I also have been a stagehand with Crew One, mostly Nashville, but they do also work in Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Memphis. I have done numerous shows with them including Bon Jovi, The Eagles, Carrie Underwood, KISS, Michael Buble, Zac Brown Band, WWE, Kenny Chesney, Aerosmith, etc.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
I think the coolest part is that I get paid to travel the world working in an industry I enjoy. We get to see countless cites. We entertain about 10,000 people each concert, so this year I helped over half a million people see great musicians put on a phenomenal show.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?
I guess to me the biggest advice I learned was just keep giving it your all. I wouldn’t have the job I have today if I hadn’t given it my all be it with the guitar 15 years ago, as a student in the RIM program, or as an MTPS employee. Also, attend any seminars, events, or gatherings that you possibly can. In this industry, it’s a lot about who you know. Ironically for me, I got this current position by attending the Touring Career Workshop at Soundcheck in Nashville. Now here I am touring the world with extraordinary world famous musicians all because of a great first impression. I went to numerous seminars on campus too, like the AES event one summer.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Don’t expect to necessarily be at a console right away or a huge famous songwriter or big name businessmen immediately. It really takes tons of work and proving yourself in the industry while also respecting very established hardworking people who have already proven themselves in the industry. I think at first I wanted to be behind a console immediately with a major artist, but that is a whole new level of work. You have to really be ready for anything from some of these artists. That doesn’t mean give up or just accept your current position either. Continue working and thriving to prove yourself everyday.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I don’t really feel like there’s anything I would’ve done differently while attending MTSU. Sure I wish I did a little bit better in a few classes, but while also being a full time employee on campus, I feel like I went above and beyond as a student. I strongly do suggest that if you are an audio engineer to work with Middle Tennessee Production Services. I learned so much there as a student and employee. It not only taught me about the audio engineering side of things, but it helped me hone in on talking with a customer and learning how to treat a corporate client vs. how to work with a full 12 piece band on stage. It also gave me a brotherhood of workers who did major shows together on big holidays. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career if it wasn’t for MTPS. And I know many other people working with big name artists who worked with MTPS as much as I did.

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention? Why?
I think I wish I paid more attention in Audio Fundamentals and RIM 4200. Most of the things taught in both those classes were regurgitated many, many more times in other courses and off campus seminars. Also I think I felt like I was going into live audio, so those classes didn’t apply as much to live audio. But they really did, and I had to learn these fundamentals again. It really took me being in John Merchant’s Live Sound class to realize that. He tested us on it often, and that is when it struck me that I do actually need to be familiar with the physics of sound.

  

Spotlight on Lexi Cothran

Lexi Cothran

What is your hometown?
Franklin, TN

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
December 2014, Music Business and Songwriting

Why did you choose the RIM program?
I fell in love with music at a very young age. When the time came to decide my career, there was no doubt I would end up in the music industry, in some capacity. After a ton of research on various schools, and a brief stint at another college, I decided MTSU would be perfect for me. I was right.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Not particularly. I started singing at the age of four and grew up saying I wanted to be an artist. Midway through high school is when I really started looking into the other various careers in the music industry, and it was just a no-brainer. I never had a doubt in my mind that a career in music was for me.

What was the first concert you attended?
Sammy Kershaw. I was four years old and completely in love with him. My dad thought it would be funny to tell me that I would get to sing with Sammy during the show. He also thought I would be too scared to ever do something like that. Dad was wrong, and I spent the entire concert crying because I couldn’t go on-stage. Last year, I finally met Sammy for the first time, and we laughed about that story.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
As far as newer artists go, I’m loving Carly Pearce, Mitchell Tenpenny, Danielle Bradbery, Luke Combs, and Ryan Hurd, just to name a few. I’ve also been hooked on Old Dominion, Kelsea Ballerini, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young and Dustin Lynch’s latest albums.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
I’m currently a country producer for Premiere Networks (iHeartMedia). My daily responsibilities revolve around running a DJ prep service called “True Country,” which reaches roughly 170 radio markets across the nation. I interview country artists and go to events (concerts, album releases, No.1 parties, etc), then I write about everything for my DJs to talk about on-air. They subscribe to my service and use my content to prepare for their on-air shifts. I’m basically a ghostwriter for DJs.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
I began as an intern at Premiere Networks when I was a senior in college (thanks to Professor Tammy Donham). Unfortunately, they didn’t have a position for me when I graduated, but during my time there, I had really focused on networking. That led me to my first position in the industry – Social Media Coordinator for iHeartMedia. I ran all social platforms for the six radio stations in Nashville for a year. When my former internship boss decided to leave Premiere Networks, she included me in her letter of resignation, and my now-editor contacted me to see if I was interested in taking over her position. And here we are – nearly two years later.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
The perks! I get to have conversations with some of the most iconic artists in country music, go to the coolest shows and be a part of celebrations that truly define artists’ careers. My favorite events to attend are No.1 parties for new artists. There’s nothing like seeing the excitement in the eyes of an artist when they’re handed their very first No.1 plaque. (Bus trips to Garth Brooks shows aren’t too shabby either!)

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?
One of the things I remember my professors always stressing was the importance of learning who’s who in the business, particularly if you’re planning on working in the country music world. It’s imperative that you know the movers and shakers of your industry. I continue to use this advice on a daily basis. Oh, and “be a good hang!”

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
First off, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a job in the industry right out of college. It will take time, and I promise it’s worth the wait. If you don’t have a job lined up, get networking cards. This was the best thing I ever did for myself. I even had them when I was an intern. You never know who you’re going to meet. It looks so much more professional if you’re able to hand them a card with your information on it, instead of asking for a number.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
First off, internships are key. Be open to trying out different parts of the industry. You never know what you’ll like most until you’re in it! Second, work hard, ask questions and get to know your professors. The reason I have my job today is because I made an impression on Professor Donham, and she helped me find an internship because of it. Your professors have more advice and knowledge than you can imagine, and they’re in that position because they enjoy sharing their knowledge. Get to know them!  Trust me, you will see them again or meet someone they know after graduation. I wish I had been more invested in my relationships with my professors earlier on in my college career.

  

Spotlight on John Lentz

John Lentz Alumni Spotlight

What is your hometown?
Tullahoma, TN

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
1983 -- Music Business

Why did you choose the RIM program?
My love of the record industry and MTSU has a highly acclaimed program.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
April, 1977 when I received my first copy of Billboard as a subscriber. I was sixteen and the entire record industry was documented each week in that magazine. I knew then where I wanted to work in my career.

What was the first concert you attended?
Dexter Gordon and Maynard Ferguson at Vanderbilt. My first rock concert was Boston in 1977.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Incognito, Miranda Lambert, Jack White, Snarky Puppy, and Kacey Musgraves.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
Senior Music Director at FirstCom/Universal Music. I find production music for clients in addition to search engine design, client demand research, and some music planning.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
Started on Music Row as country and gospel charts manager for Cash Box. I programmed music in several current and gold formats for Media General Broadcast Services in Memphis. Researched and produced weekly compact discs for over 2,800 radio stations worldwide in current and gold music formats for TM Century in Dallas. Senior Music Director at FirstCom/Universal Music in Dallas since 1999.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
Listening to an extremely wide variety of music every day. I never know what clients will ask for next. It is exciting to continually learn about the different types of music that our clients request.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?
Just about everything Doc Hull said that I still remember serves me well to this day. Don Cusic also reminded me to be open to new music and new styles of music. Take full advantage of everything MTSU has to offer. Then do the same with an internship. Meet as many industry veterans as possible and volunteer to work with them as much as possible. In your twenties, there is plenty of time for this.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Make as many connections as possible. Go to as many seminars, conventions, meetings, new release events, etc. as are available. Make the industry know who you are and what you can do. And do not be hesitant to find employment outside of Nashville, Los Angeles, or New York. Finally, enjoy this unusual industry...it is a lot of work but a lot more entertaining than making widgets.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Learn some aspects of all parts of the industry to be well rounded in knowledge and more marketable to employers. Make lots of good connections and keep up with them. They just might help land a job later...they did for me. And know that MTSU is a widely recognized leader in music industry education so make the most of the opportunities available.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
A second degree in finance would have helped

In which RIM class do you wish you had paid more attention? Why?
Music Publishing. In today's industry, publishing has taken a new leading role in revenue for music companies. Knowing music publishing is knowing how to make any music business more profitable.

 

Spotlight on Wes Osborne

Wes Osborne featured on Alumni Spotlight

What is your hometown?
Ringgold, GA

What year did you graduate and in what area of concentration were you?
May 2015 – Music Business

Why did you choose the RIM program?
As far back as I could remember, the one interest I always had was music. I chose the RIM program because I couldn’t see myself studying anything else. I had so many interests in music I wanted to know it all. As I explored the program it was just that. It was extremely comprehensive across all parts of business but always relating it to the music business. It was the perfect fit for me. 

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to pursue music as a career?
As I look back, I believe it was when I started going to concerts and shows around the age of 13 or 14. My friends and I would go to this tiny little venue in a shopping center that probably held 200 or so. I could not get enough. I would ask the guy at the door if I could stamp hands and help fold merch. Of course, the answer was no because I was 13. Half the time I wouldn’t even care what band was on stage I was watching how it worked. Trying to figure out who was in charge, who was talking to the sound guy or who was walking backstage. I recall thinking ‘I want to be them.’ Back then I had no idea what I was observing or that it could someday lead to a career path. Five or six years later I realized it was possible so I had to go for it.

What was the first concert you attended?
2004 When The Sun Goes Down Tour – Kenny Chesney and openers were Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley.

Who are some of your favorite artists currently?
Little Big Town, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Taylor Swift, Carly Pearce, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Young.

What is your current position and what are your primary responsibilities?
My current position is Creative Services Coordinator for Opry Entertainment Group (Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, 650 AM WSM, Ole Red Tishomingo & Nashville, and Opry City Stage – New York City). My main responsibility is to project manage all design work for Opry Entertainment Group including graphic design timelines, installations, print production, digital signage, and more.

What career path did you take to end up in your current position?
I started as an intern in Grand Ole Opry marketing because marketing ended up being my main interest as I was finishing school. Over the span of a year, I was able to develop and create my role on the Creative Services team.

What's the coolest thing about your job?
For me, the coolest part is working with iconic brands that are credited to be the jumping off point for country music and developing the city of Nashville into ‘Music City’.

Another very cool part for me is hearing super-star artists and public figures speak so highly of brands that I work for.

Was there any advice or key learning during your time in the program that you still find applicable today? Any life lessons?Make yourself irreplaceable. Make the business you are interning or working for think they cannot function without you.

What advice would you have for students who are preparing to graduate soon?
Work hard. No matter what you are doing. Hard work cannot be denied and it will get noticed & never, never, never pass up an opportunity whether it’s what you want to end up doing or not.

What words of wisdom do you have for students coming into the program? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Listen to your professors. They have incredible advice because they have been there. They have seen it all. Show them you are willing to work for this career path and they will help you the best they can. It worked out for me in the end but I wish I would have gotten more involved early in my time at MTSU. I wish I would’ve volunteered/interned more over the summers and made more contacts earlier. It’s never too early to put yourself out there and try to get some experience under your belt.

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