I can say there’s a lot I did right at Berklee and some things I’d do differently. I would have started a band first semester instead of fourth. I would have dedicated more time learning guitar. I would have started a small management company. But one of my best decisions with the most career impact is my choice of internships. Here’s my story.
On a typical morning during the end of my fourth semester (November of ‘09), I was getting my morning breakfast at Dunkin Donuts when a random man approached me because I “looked like a Berklee vocalist”. I quickly learned that he was a major player in the local music scene and he had some performance opportunities for me. The person I was talking with was none other than Ric Poulin, the owner of Bristol Studios, a world-renowned producer, and manager of Universal-Motown signed group JADA. Bristol Studios is a Boston based recording, music and artist development studio and Ric has a great resume and has worked with the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Yo Yo Ma, New Kids on the Block, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Swizz Beatz, RedOne, David “Big Papi” Ortiz and JADA.
We talked for a bit and Ric asked me to come in and audition for a new dance/pop group he was helping to put together. Little did he know that my dance experience consisted of a few high school dances and my skills, while enthusiastic, were right up there with Christina Aguilera’s ability to sing the National Anthem.
Within a month I was “let go” from the girl group – once they realized my dancing skills really were hopeless – but they liked my vocal skills, enthusiasm and work ethic so they offered me a 10-hour-a-week job helping with Bristol Studio’s marketing. I answered phones, scanned receipts, helped with Facebook promotions, and spent a lot of hours performing research projects on the Internet.
My success at Bristol led to more opportunities. When it came time to start looking for my MB-495 internship, I had two options. The first was to look for a completely new internship and the second was to continue working at Bristol Studios but in an enlarged role.
After several meetings with Ric and Laura Poulin (Ric’s wife and co-owner of Bristol Studio), they decided to expand the artist development department within Bristol with me at the head – what a great experience for an internship!
My new responsibilities include booking gigs for our clients, researching venues, and building relationships with venue managers. This is perfect for me, because not only am I able to develop a relationship on behalf of Bristol Studios, but it will also create opportunities for me and my band, Pink Cigarette. It just goes to show that when you work hard and invest your time and talent you can create opportunities for yourself that you wouldn’t have had before.
With my consistently strong work ethic combined with my Berklee experience, I’m confident I will do well in my new position and will be able to prove my worth at Bristol Studios. If I can make my position lucrative, I hope to be hired on in a funded role after this internship. If you want to take anything away from my story, it’s to work hard at the mundane tasks you’re given, look for opportunities to expand your knowledge and value, and take dance lessons – just in case.
Andrea Wiseman is an active Berklee student finishing the last of her classes as a Music Business Major. She is starting to make a name for herself in Boston, MA. Andrea is currently the front woman in Rock/Blues band, Pink Cigarette (clubk interview) and is the artist development coordinator at Bristol Recording and Voice Studios. Although she plans to stay in Boston for the next few years, Andrea hopes to migrate to Los Angeles and make a career out of performing and managing.
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