“Working here has given me hope that doing what you love is something that can actually be achieved and I don’t have to settle for anything less.”
The fall of my junior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to be in the music business. I didn’t know anyone who was in the music business, or what I would want to do, or how to get “in it.” Fast forward to January 2016, I emailed around to a bunch of people and places that were related to the music business in some shape or form to somehow get my foot in the door. But not many of these places wanted a high schooler as an intern – can’t really blame them; I had no experience whatsoever. Then I got an email from Rift Magazine, saying that they were looking for writers. My first piece was published in the beginning of February. I loved writing so much. I was able to listen to cool and new music that not a ton of people had heard yet. But, I still wasn’t sure if that was exactly the thing I wanted to pursue as my full time career. I had only just turned seventeen and I still had so much to figure out.
In May, I got accepted into McNally Smith College of Music for their PSEO program, with a major in Music Business. It was perfect, and I was so excited because I was going to learn how to do so many different things within the music business and I didn’t have to pick ONE thing to do for the rest of my life – or at least, not yet.
That spring, an old friend of mine had started a band with some guys he knew, they all went to a music school in Chaska. They were starting to get the ball rolling with getting gigs and becoming an actual band, so I asked them if I could be their manager and they said I could. I was going to help them out with getting gigs, starting a website for them, distributing their music, and everything else that a manager does. Plus, I was going to do it for free because they were friends of mine and I just wanted the experience.
I started emailing around to small venues and bars with live music in the Twin Cities. One venue in particular I was really excited about. I was still writing for Rift and I follow the magazine fairly closely as well, and I saw an article on this new venue that was going to be opened in South Minneapolis by this female musician. The tiny and intimate listening room called The Warming House was being opened in the basement of a bike shop – the Farmstead Bike Shop. I emailed Brianna Lane, the Executive Director of The Warming House venue the band’s info, and I also mentioned that I was a writer at Rift, thinking it would give me some more cred. Unfortunately, the band would not work in the small space at The Warming House because they are a loud rock band. But, Brianna offered me an internship position because she was impressed by how young and determined I was and am.
I went back and forth with Brianna Lane for a little while, discussing exactly what The Warming House was all about, what kind of help they needed, and what I was interested in. Again, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I was up for literally any job that they would give me. Brianna and I agreed to meet for coffee the following week to discuss my potential position, and to just get to know each other basically. Luckily, Brianna really liked me and I was granted the internship, though my exact position was still not determined and the exact details still needed to be worked out. After that, I started meeting with Brianna about once a week for a couple of hours only. She had me doing very basic things right at the beginning, like updating the email list – just very basic tasks.
Eventually, I started doing more and more work – creating the events and finding out artist info, as well doing my other duties. All of which is pretty easy, and while it may not be the thing I would want to do for my career, it was a good start. I really enjoyed interning right from the beginning, but the thing that I enjoy the most is hanging out with Brianna. Spending a couple hours a week with her only, she and I grew very close. She has taught me a lot about music, the music business, and just life in general as well. She is a great boss, role model and mentor for me.
While I am given fairly simple tasks, the most important thing that I get to do while I am there is to observe. I see first hand how Brianna communicates with artists, and all the time, thought and effort that goes into actually putting on a successful show, the basics of running a successful business, and many other things as well.
One of the biggest perks of the job is going to shows there… and going to them for free! I had mentioned earlier that the venue is fairly small- a max capacity of 49 people small. When you are that close to an artist as they are making their magic, it’s one of the most incredible things. One show in particular that really had an impact on me was batteryboy’s performance. They performed the show as a trio; a bass player/ keyboardist, guitarist/ singer, and a cello player/ singer. During their performance they decided to turn the lights off, and it was almost a completely acoustic set. Nothing had been manipulated. It was just you and the music. Mesmerizing.
After the show, I bought one of their records on vinyl, and ended up speaking to the lead singer Cobey Rouse for a few minutes. It was somewhat surreal to me – I look up to these artists that come through the venue because they are actually living the perfect life. Yes, being an artist, a local artist at that, it isn’t the easiest thing, but they are doing what they love and making a lasting impact on people. There are only a few Bob Dylan’s and Prince’s in this world, or state, but the fact that I could contribute to helping more Twin City artists become the next Dylan, or Prince – that is the greatest thing to me.
Interning at The Warming House has helped me to realize that I am actually where I am meant to be. Being in the music business was something that I was born to do, I believe. I know it’s not the simplest thing to do in the whole world, but it’s where my passion lies. Before The Warming House, I didn’t know that I would be fascinated with Public Relations, or how to book a show from the venue’s perspective. I don’t know if owning a music venue will be where I end up, but if it is, I would have to owe it to Brianna Lane and Greg Neis for showing me so much, and supporting me with the decisions I make regarding my future. Working here has given me hope that doing what you love is something that can actually be achieved and I don’t have to settle for anything less.