Colorado is an incredible place for live music -- from our outdoor venues, one of which is world-renowned, to the vast festivals, shows and indoor venues we have to choose from. The growth of the music scene has created a small niche of music-industry jobs. In case you missed it, we recently spotlighted five people holding down five highly coveted positions. Keep reading for a short profile on five more folks who hold down gigs that many of us would gnaw off our throwing arm to land.
See also: - Five coveted Colorado music-industry jobs, first installment - Five coveted Colorado music-industry jobs, third installment - With Sub.mission, Nicole Cacciavillano brings dubstep to the masses - Alex Botwin and Berk Visual launch Elm & Oak Academy with CU Program Council - Alex Botwin's electronica is a Paper Diamond in the rough
Senior Manager of Communications (Tyler Jensen, Beatport)
Upon acquiring his first CD, Tyler Jensen knew that he would make a career in music. After multiple internships, some paid and some not, Jensen took jobs at both Napster and Warner Music Group out in California. When the chance to work at Beatport presented itself, he immediately packed his bags and moved to Denver.
At Napster, Jensen had become acquainted with Matthew Adell, Beatport's CEO, who posted the job opening Jensen responded to. "I saw the posting for the job on Facebook," he recalls, "and after talking with Shawn Sabo [Manufactured Superstars], I was packing my stuff to move to Denver."
The road to Denver started on the East Coast, when Jensen graduated from NYU. "I aspired to work at a major record label, maybe be an A&R guy," says Jensen "That was back in the day when they were discovering girls in church and signing them to seven-record deals." Jensen later landed a gig working for a major record label, but he eventually found his way to Beatport. Then the industry took a turn. "I had a great setup in LA," he says. "I was there for six years. I was doing fine. But I saw the record label going down, and I needed to get out."
When Jensen joined the company in 2010, Beatport had around 65,000 "likes" on Facebook page ("I did not expect Beatport to be such a major player in the music industry"), but these days, the company now sits at over 850,000, and a lot of that is thanks to the efforts of Jensen, who oversees social media for Beatport.
Probably the most enviable part of Jensen's job -- he's in charge of all other communication for the company -- is that he gets to work with all the artists that come through the Beatport offices to perform Ustream sets, a task which has allowed him to rub shoulders with some of the world's biggest names in contemporary music.
Director of Marketing and Entertainment (Catherine Nguyen, Beta)
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Catherine Nguyen found herself with then boyfriend, now husband John Le (aka DJ Dragon), passing out fliers and branding an up and coming production company. "It was an endeavor that didn't have an end in mind," Nguyen recalls. "Rather, it was a journey and music was the centerpiece of our actions."
On any given night, Nguyen's fingerprints are all over the entertainment for the evening, but it's not just about throwing an event. "When it all comes to fruition," she explains, "you come to the conclusion that we are in the business of making memories: Memories of a great birthday, or seeing your favorite DJ, or even discovering a new artist -- which becomes part of the customers' lives and they carry that with them forever. It's a powerful thing."
Nguyen has dedicated her life to the music scene in Denver. Starting out with promotions in the early days of Triad Dragons, to being responsible for brand management for the Beta, Nguyen is the person behind all the events at the number one club in North America.
But a job like this only works if the commitment is there, and the success certainly doesn't come overnight. "It is truly a labor of love," she says. "If you're doing your job right and are successful, it's a lot of hard working hours, sleepless nights and loss of hair that are poured into it." Nguyen knows this job is not for everyone, but her dedication over the past five years has landed her in one of the most important positions in Denver's club scene.
Boutique Music and Art Collective founder (Berk Visual, Elm & Oak)
Berk Visual (aka Wallace Gibbs III) met Alex Botwin at college in Tennessee, where Berk was in the early years of building Elm & Oak. "I started my first clothing line when I was seventeen," Gibbs explains, "and I've always been into that create and design realm."
Botwin, who really brought the music aspect of Elm & Oak to the table, joined forces with Gibbs in 2009 when the latter relocated to Boulder. The two came together with a vision and the means to create, which prompted the opening of the Elm & Oak storefront just off the Pearl Street Mall on 13th Street. The brand, which includes visual artists, musicians and designers, also uses its presence to promote music, a side of the business that Botwin is more than experienced with. "I just want to back what I believe in," says Botwin in regard to Cherub, TwoFresh and Black Actors, three artists that are receiving serious support from Elm & Oak.
Along with running this brand, both Gibbs and Botwin are music producers, each with respective careers of their own. As Raw Russ, Berk is steadily climbing the ranks as a DJ, supporting local and national acts, while Botwin is set to launch a headlining tour with Paper Diamond.
"As far as I see it," notes Berk, "we are definitely still on the upswing. It's just continuing to grow, and I feel like we got here -- I never had this grand vision -- I just knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to art."
Promoter (Nicole Cacciavillano, Sub.Mission Dubstep and Bass.Code)
"I feel like we have an event every other day," says Nicole Cacciavillano, in between promoting upcoming events, setting up new events and managing her team of promoters, artists and social media presence. "But I want people to experience the peaks and valleys of music and realize what is does for you emotionally."
Cacciavillano, profiled earlier this year in Backbeat, is still running things in the dubstep scene with Sub.Mission and Bass.Code, but she's also started working on a residency exchange program that will bring other local artists from national markets to Denver, while sending her crew of talent out to share their music. "We had someone from the Portland crew play an Electronic Tuesday recently, and I sent Patrick [Dirtmonkey] out to play." While under her supervision, Dirtmonkey has also recently released an album under the famed Play Me record label, along with former Sub.mission resident, Ishe.
Cacciavillano plans to scale things back on the daily shows and focus on bigger shows featuring international electronic artists. The upcoming Caspa show at the Fillmore Auditorium, slated for October 25, will be her second production at the massive venue, which housed her sold-out production featuring Flux Pavilion and Doctor P in 2011.
DJ/On-Air Radio Personality (A-Rich, Hot 107.1)
Being on-air is not as easy as it might sound, and, for his part, A-Rich (aka Alvin Richardson) has worked very hard to get into radio. Like most players in the music scene, nothing was handed to him. After working odd jobs from washing cars to bagging groceries to working in the hospitality industry, A-Rich found his niche in night radio and has not looked back since.
After graduating from the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in 2005, A-Rich interned at night with Slim, another radio host that works for Max Media, the parent company of Hot 107.1. After learning the ropes, eventually he got a shot at the big time thanks to Catt Collins in 2006. "After all that," he says, "the rest is just history."
An award-winning history at that. With seven years experience on the air, A-Rich has been recognized by the Colorado Broadcasters Association, which gave him a nod for having the Best Evening Show in a Major Market, no small feat considering how competitive the radio market is in Denver.
These days, you can find him hosting a variety of shows at Hot 107.1, namely the popular Future Bass Radio with Ishe, a local dubstep producer who plays live on the airwaves every Wednesday night. Along with Ishe, A-rich produces and delivers the show live each night.