Artist/Venue Relations and Marketing
May 25, 2016
How old are you?
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Dallas, Texas.
How long have you been in New Orleans?
Seven years on and off. I moved away for a year and came back.
What brought you here originally?
I got a scholarship from Tulane and it was a full ride so it was a no-brainer. Didn’t want to be living the student debt life. I went to Tulane without really even looking at what New Orleans is. I had no idea.
What brought you back to New Orleans?
I came back to visit all my friends that were here over a summer. I came back and expected to be happy to be here but I didn’t expect to get a whole new appreciation for the city the way that I did. Live music here is what sparked my passion for the industry in the first place so I decided to work in the music business.
As of now, in what capacity are you apart of the music community of New Orleans?
I have a couple of jobs I juggle in the industry. I am the Marketing Director at the Howlin’ Wolf and I do PR and management for some local artists including Rebirth Brass Band and Mike Dillon. I also work production and artists relations at music festivals and local events.
Can you define sexism as it presents itself to you?
I wasn’t even sure sexism was something I could define in a general sense because my understanding of the concept comes from specific experiences. But after thinking about it, I’ve come to define it as a lack of being treated with respect because I am a woman. And sometimes, the most frustrating part is people don’t even realize they’re doing it. My congeniality is continuously confused with weakness. Physical appearance is hyper accentuated and focused on instead of the professional capability I bring to the table. It’s not something I don’t understand, and not something I can’t take with a grain of salt, it’s just disappointing.
How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?
Honestly? Never great. Usually I find it underwhelming and frustrating, but it also amuses me. Most of the experiences I’ve had with it since entering into this industry have been so absurd and so undermining of what I can do that it’s been a challenge to rise to the occasion. It’s like “You think that. But I will continue to do what I’m doing and when I’ve done all these things that you can tangibly see, you can fuck off.”
Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?
I’m not hyper attuned to it. I kind of assume people—especially people from out of town—are going to look at me that way based on my gender as well as my age. Literally almost everyone I work with is a guy and then they meet me and they say, “What are you doing? You’re getting the coffee, right?” I take it mostly in stride. If it’s really stark then I react aversely but I address the comments or behavior outright. I bring whoever it is to the side, address what they said or how they acted that made me feel disrespected. I ask them to stop and then walk away. At the end of the day, those people can think what they want but the reality is I’ll do it and I’ll do it better than you.
Can you recall any specific occasions when you’ve experienced sexist behavior against you?
I had one particular circumstance with a colleague who didn’t work that closely with the venue who essentially made an underhanded comment saying, “Well if I looked the way you do, I’d be exactly where you were this fast as well.” I thought he was joking because we were sweeping the floor of the venue and I was like, look at me in all my glory, sweeping a floor. Then I realized he was serious and I kind of took that for a second and rolled with it. But my other colleagues were phenomenal. The way I approached it was that I came back to them and told them what happened. I was not trying to throw him under the bus but I wanted to get their take on it. What do you think he was thinking in his mind when this happened? Is there a way to shed light on it? They explained to me his background and that he was just kind of distraught because he wanted to make it farther in the industry and had not. But his anger was a obviously misguided. The other circumstances I can think of are with artists or people from out of town. Most New Orleanians I’ve encountered are more open-minded than that but I have experienced quite a few tour managers who are more than surprised when they see my face stepping off the bus to handle their production.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m happy to be in a city where people are so confident in what they believe and are very fierce and loyal to those beliefs because that leads to projects like this. It’s a really refreshing thing to be with people who want to speak their mind and who care about the community that they’re in and want make it better. I am excited to hear the rest of what you get for this project, especially knowing some of the other women that are involved in this. I know there are going to be some strong, sassy opinions and some truly eye-opening perspectives. I can’t wait to read them.