As part of our Attendee All-Access interview series, Music Biz caught up with Gabriella Andrean, who recently began her career in the music industry with RCA Records thanks to an interview held during last year’s Annual Music Biz Conference. Read on to learn about her path from student volunteer to industry professional, what resources and opportunities our event offers music industry students, and her tips for first-time student attendees!
Can you tell us about your first Music Biz Conference? What made you want to attend? How was your experience attending as a student volunteer?
It’s crazy actually… I was on the email list for Music Biz and I rarely checked their emails but one day after class I saw an email about a volunteer opportunity. It was during finals week but being that I was a senior that had all group projects for finals, I was free the entire week! In the email, it stated that I would be able to network with more than 1,000 industry professionals and have the opportunity to even get a job, so I signed up immediately. I am super thankful for my school for financially supporting me by paying for my hotel to stay in Nashville.
Even though I went on this trip by myself, I quickly made friends with all of the other student volunteers! The experience was incredible to say the least. I had the chance to network and sit in on most of the panels. I was definitely tired by the end of the week, but all of it was worth it.
You interviewed for your position with RCA Records during Music Biz’s Career Day Interview program last year. Can you discuss how you landed the interview?
At the Music Biz Conference last year, I was assigned to work the room in which the student interviews were being held. When I was not busy helping out, I would take the opportunity to talk with any free interviewer for at least five minutes.
I had a chance to speak with an HR rep from Sony for no more than three minutes, but we shared contact information and I later reached out to schedule some time for coffee after graduation in NYC. She introduced me to one of her colleagues that gave me about three jobs that I should apply. Two months later, I got one of them!
What drew you to the open opportunity with RCA? Can you share with us what your current role entails?
Out of the three options given to me from HR, the Urban Promotions Assistant role at RCA really intrigued me because other than doing my job responsibilities, my soon-to-be boss really stressed the importance of learning. He expects me to ask questions and network, gaining exposure to the many facets of the music industry, which I have always appreciated. RCA Records is also home to some of my all-time favorite artists like Alicia Keys and Usher, so that was definitely a plus.
Were there other opportunities that the Music Biz Conference offered to students that you were able to take part in?
The biggest takeaway was most definitely all of the panels I got to sit in and hear from other young industry leaders. My favorite panel was on the first day in which I got to hear from Amber Grimes, SVP Global creative at Capitol Records. Hearing her story was nothing less than inspiring. She definitely set the tone for the week for me and gave me the push I needed.
Did anything from those programs help you as you wrapped up your college education or as you began your career with RCA?
Overall, the Conference just exposed me to the many ways the industry is so rapidly changing. A ton of the panels that I sat in on talked about various issues from licensing to how Tik Tok is here to take over everything. I felt like a sponge absorbing everything that was said. It definitely helped me understand where the industry was heading and how, as a millenial, I would be a critical player helping it move forward.
Networking is a major component of the Music Biz Conference. As a student, were you able to start building your professional network at our event?
Of course! I met new people and people I knew since I was a kid, surprisingly. I still follow all of the other student volunteers on Instagram and LinkedIn, constantly checking in on what they’re up to and how they are shaking up their careers, which is always great to see.
Now that you’re an industry professional, does the way you approach attending the Music Biz Conference differ from when you were a student?
The goal will always be to connect, whether I am a student or industry professional. I still have a ton to learn, so that also won’t change. I think the only difference is that I am not primarily seeking a job opportunity right away like I was as a student. My goal is to build my brand and meet as many professionals —newbies and veterans alike — as I can.
What advice would you give other students attending the Music Biz Conference to make the most of the event — whether or not it is their first time attending?
A lot of students always want to connect with the executives at networking events, but I always say focus on your peers. Your peers will be EVPs one day. That is what matters for the long run, never forget that!
Our Attendee All-Access Series checks in with previous Music Biz Conference attendees to discuss their past Conference experiences and give first-timers a taste of what to expect at Music Biz 2020!
Music Biz 2020 will return to Nashville May 11-14 at the JW Marriott in the heart of downtown Nashville. The music industry’s premier business-focused event, our Annual Conference offers a platform for the commerce, content, and creative sectors to network, get on the cutting edge of the latest trends, and meet with trading partners. For the most up-to-date Conference information, visit musicbiz2020.com. To register for the 2020 event, visit this link — early bird rates are available through this Friday, March 13, 2020.