|From Annville to Nashville and Back Again
“After skill, it’s all about who you know.” That’s according to Lebanon Valley College senior music business major Brianna McGoff of Dalton, Pa. McGoff is living that philosophy – she landed an internship after meeting Stephen Shutts of Road Show Concepts, an entertainment marketing company based in Nashville, at last fall’s Revolution Music Conference.
“Stephen was giving a presentation about the things he’s done – basically namedropping,” she said. “I was impressed and wanted to know more, so I started talking to him and eventually asked if he needed an intern. He said, ‘Sure.’”
Shutts, who has been in the music memorabilia business for 22 years in addition to his touring career, was preparing to begin taping a new show for CMT with his friend and Grammy award-winner Robert Reynolds of the country/rock and roll band The Mavericks.
Tentatively titled “Rock Raiders,” the show stars Shutts and Reynolds as they travel the country in search of legendary music memorabilia, which they appraise and sell to collectors. No strangers to this concept, the duo had previously toured with a mini country music museum they created from their years of collecting.
McGoff was assigned to serve as Shutts’ personal assistant this past summer, an experience that proved to be life changing. She accompanied the actors and production crew during local “raids,” and worked as a production assistant on a set in Memphis.
“I had to be on set for any assistance that the producers and actors needed,” she said. “I set up tables, applied make up, pulled wardrobes, and basically did anything that was needed to make a successful filming.”
In addition to her work for Shutts, McGoff was able to experience some of the more glamorous side of the country music industry in Nashville, like going backstage at concerts, hanging out on the artists’ tour buses, and walking the red carpet – which is actually purple – at the CMT awards.
“I got to wear a dress designed by Manuel,” she said, grinning. “Rascal Flatts walked the carpet right before we did, and the crowd went crazy for them. You could hear crickets when we walked. The show hadn’t aired yet so no one knew who we were.”
Though she is a big country music fan, McGoff said she wasn’t allowed to be star struck. “You can’t be in this business. We’re all in it together. One day, I could be working for them, so I had to keep my giddiness to myself.”
But that doesn’t stop McGoff from being excited now about her star sightings. During her internship she met country artists Tanya Tucker, Rascal Flatts, The Mavericks, Steve Earle, and members of Little Big Town and Cheap Trick, among others.
While in Nashville, McGoff applied the skills she learned in her music business classes. She partnered with full-time performer and rising country star Stephanie Quayle. The two worked closely all summer developing a business plan to help launch Quayle to the next level, and eventually get a record deal. The plan was designed to build financial support for Quayle’s career, and it worked. “We have potential investors lined up,” McGoff said.
After graduating in December, McGoff will return to Nashville to begin her own career in the touring business. She wouldn’t feel as confident in that move, though, without the experience of her Arnold Grant-funded summer internship and the networking that began at last year’s Revolution Music Conference, which this year will bring another outstanding group of music industry panelists to campus.
“The music industry is so broad,” McGoff said. “Students need to attend the conference to talk with the industry executives to figure out all of the options, and to think about what part of the industry you might want to get into. Everyone who attends comes out with some kind of positive outcome. You build your professional network, secure internship and job opportunities, and learn more about your field.”
McGoff is serving as an “elder” in the music business colloquium course this semester, helping to plan this year’s conference. She advises students attending this year’s conference to “meet as many people as possible, be nice (you never know who will get you a job), and to ask lots of questions.”
The eighth annual, student-run Revolution Music Conference will be held Saturday, Nov. 17 in Blair Music Center. Admission is free to those who pre-register; $20 at the door. High school students may attend as guests of the Office of Admission by emailing Roberto Marti at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the full schedule of events and registration information, visit www.lvc.edu/rmc.