A native of Navan, Co. Meath, Gareth Browne has spent his time in New York forging his path into the music industry, in particular, establishing a career in artist management and bookings.
Garreth, 25, completed a Bachelor of Business Studies in DCU before moving to New York.
America: The Great Unknown
I’m a little different to previous J-1 students who move to America on the graduate visa in that I had never even been to America, let alone NYC, before I boarded the plane in May 2014.
It was something I only dreamed of. Having grown up with posters of NYC all over my bedroom wall, it was always something I knew I wanted to do from a very young age. I came here with little more than a suitcase, a dream, and knew a couple of people in the city already.
Matching your job with your passion
From a very young age, I’ve always loved, if not obsessed, with music. When I was coming close to graduating from DCU, I started thinking about the future. I always knew I wanted to pursue a career that matched my passion as well as my skill set so I turned my attention to music.
I began researching artist management and record labels and realized that it was a very possible option for me. With retail and banking experience on my C.V., I moved to NYC with the intention of pursuing a career in the music industry. I spent two weeks sitting in a Starbucks calling and emailing every record label, management company, publishing/licensing company, and music marketing company in the city.
After sending hundreds of emails, and making countless phone calls, I finally landed an interview with a management company and subsequently, got offered the job. I spent the entire year working at Talent Consultants International (TCI), an artist management and booking agency.
Almost immediately, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be and I was very lucky that all my hard work had paid off. I was essentially ... living the dream!
Learning on the job
Within weeks, I was attending shows all over New York City, meeting artists, industry people and trying to soak it all in as much as I could. I was attending album release parties, photos shoots, concerts, networking events and more.
I spent the year working closely with all the artists, specifically on social media, marketing, public relations. bookkeeping, booking, and so much more.
In March of this year, I was sent on the road with one of our bands Hollis Brown and was assigned the position of their Tour Manager.
Before I knew it, I was in a van driving from New York to New Orleans to play a show which was to be broadcast all over the world on Yahoo’s Live Stream at the legendary House of Blue’s. We then drove on to Texas and attended SXSW in Austin after doing more shows in Dallas and Houston, before driving all the way back to NYC two weeks later.
Landing on your feet
In those two weeks, I learned a lot and I’ll have those memories forever. Over the past 12 months, I experienced a lot and realized that anything was possible.
In a matter of weeks, I went from working two jobs in Ireland, not know what was in store, to living in NYC and working in my dream job.
Being Irish is definitely an advantage here, you stand out and people instantly recognize the accent. Everyone has a connection to Ireland in some way here so you find yourself bonding with strangers over their love for the Emerald Isle.
What advice would I give to future J-1’s?
If you have any doubt, or any fears, just do it, I promise you won’t regret it. Even if things don’t turn out the way you hoped, at least you can say you tried, and you lived in the US.
Save as much money as possible. As soon as I got here, I sorted out my Social Security Number and opened a bank account which helped a lot. I ran out of cash pretty quickly so having an American bank account meant that I could transfer money there from Ireland and have easy access without all the charges.
With regard to job-hunting, just keep trying. I took on the attitude that “I had nothing to loose” along with a bit of “I’m not taking no for an answer” and it worked out. I was literally calling the same people back every couple of days to see what the status was with my application. If you have LinkedIn, I would update it, you’ll be surprised how many employers Google your name.
When house-hunting, I based my search on Craigslist which can be a little questionable especially if you’re searching on your own, but I got something almost straight away that was exactly what I needed. I would just say go with your instinct, if it feels “too good to be true” then it probably is.
Also, when viewing places, I would advise bringing a friend with you and ask people what they think of the area. I spent the year living in Astoria, Queens and I loved it! It was really close to Midtown Manhattan and it’s a little quieter and more laid back, but still has a lot to offer.
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