Summer 2010, student Mia Verdoorn interned in her native country, South Africa. She spent June at Sony Music and July with Warner Music Gallo Africa.
You can read Part 1 here.
Throughout my time at both major companies, heavy emphasis was placed on the promotional side of the industry, which was very interesting to me as I had yet to take some of the marketing classes required for the business major at Berklee.
During my time at Warner Music Gallo Africa, I was busy with a lot of work for the Digital Promotions Department, which included press releases for the Warner Music Gallo Africa web-site. Some of these releases included:
• Billy Talent
• The Baseballs
• Step Up 3D Soundtrack
I also had to compile an 80-word CD review for the new B.o.B Presents: The Adverntures of Bobby Ray album, which is now used in the in-flight magazine of one of our local airlines, 1Time. I was privileged enough to meet the legendary trumpet player, Hugh Masekela, at one of his last recording sessions for his new album. The head A&R representative at Gallo invited me to go with him to sit in and listen to mastery at work. It was amazing! I tried my best to be invisible in order to not get in the way. “Bra Hugh” as they call him here in South Africa, took an immediate interest when he heard that I was a student at Berklee and told me that he was going to Berklee to do a show in October 2010.
The best features of these internships were the contacts I made. I was able to see how the industry works from the “inside out”. I feel that this is a really important aspect as you see how they treat their artists, how much effort they make and what the general “vibe” of the company is.
The worst feature was the fact that I couldn’t spend more time at each site. This meant that I was only there for one month, so the tasks they gave me were quite trivial. This didn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything though – I still soaked up as much as I possibly could whist I was there.
I would definitely say that a working knowledge of Excel, Power Point, and Word was beneficial. It came as a bit of a shock to my system to suddenly have to work on PC again as opposed to Mac like we do at Berklee. This is something to consider because many other countries also use Microsoft more than they use Mac because Mac is very expensive outside of the US.
Both companies encouraged me to stay in contact with them and let them know when I am ever back in the country for possible future employment. I would definitely consider the offers as it would be great to work for either one of them. I would like to thank the Music Business department as well as the Office of Experiential Learning for giving students the opportunity to take part in these internships for credit. I think it is a wonderful experience for students to get a “feel” of what’s really going on in the real-life world other than what we learn from textbooks in a classroom setting. If I can take part in another Internship while I am at Berklee, I definitely will!
Mia Verdoorn was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. She began piano lessons at the age of 11 and voice lessons at 14. At the age of 19, she left South Africa to pursue her career in music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Mia’s worked closely with prominent music producer and judge of the South African version of “American Idol” (“Idols” in South Africa) but decided to put the release of her first Afrikaans album on hold to complete her studies. She is a dual major in Vocal Performance and Music Business / Management. In addition to being a performer, Mia is also a songwriter and holds regular performances in her hometown of Pretoria whenever she returns.
Mia is the recipient of a Berklee Achievement-based scholarship (BEST). She is a writes for Berklee’s Music Business Journal and has contributed to upper-semester students’ projects via performing and recording. She’s made the Dean’s List for seven semesters in a row.
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