Meet Lauren Denault, a 25-year-old musician and social media guru from London, Ont. Read on to find out how she ended up working for a recording studio and a live music venue (plus her thoughts on the Backstreet Boys and Canadian music).
What do you do? At EMAC, I control the social media presence. I get to work with the bands that are working in the studio, listening to the playback and capturing pictures that will best portray the artist online. We want to let people know what we’re up to and how they can record with us. I usually get to know the artists really well. It’s a very chill atmosphere.
At London Music Hall, part of my job is to do to all the things receptionists do: answer the phones, write cheques, Excel worksheets and so on. The other half is more fun. I sell tickets, book local shows at Rum Runners, our smaller venue, and update media content for some of the Music Hall’s side projects. On show days, I finish event settlements, deal with riders, inform the bands where to load in, let them know who their sound technicians are, write a few cheques, create a guest list, provide a final ticket count… Sometimes I don’t leave until midnight or 1am because I’m either doing the door or staying to watch the show.
What drew you to work in music? My first year of university. I hated it. I hated every class and everyone in it. One day I was unwillingly driving to class in my dad’s 1998 Voyager minivan when “Imagine” by John Lennon came on the radio. That song has always been one of my favourites. When I heard it that day, I got a gut feeling that something wasn’t right and that I needed to go in a different direction. So I dropped out of school and heard through a friend about a music industry program in London. I always loved music and said, “Let’s see where this takes me.”
What do you like the most about your jobs? At EMAC I love how much I have the freedom to be creative. I love that I get to sit in on recording sessions with some of my favourite bands. [Engineers] Matt [Grady] and Kyle [Ashbourne] are hilarious—the fact that I get paid to hang out is pretty cool, and I love that I can make my own hours. At LMH, the people are also amazing. Being able to experience the behind-the-scenes productions of some really big artists is a true blessing. (Also, getting into all the shows for free doesn’t hurt.)
What do you like the least? Honestly, I can’t complain. In school (I took Music Industry Arts at Fanshawe College) EMAC was a big scary place that you could only hope to later work at. Now that I have that opportunity, I’m quite content.
What’s been your most memorable moment so far? The Backstreet Boys were at the London Music Hall earlier in May and I turned into a total fan girl. I had all their posters on my wall when I was a kid and when I saw them play in concert back then, they were so far away and teenie tiny. But when they came to the Hall they were four feet in front of me… I became extremely giddy.
What’s it like working in an industry that’s so male-dominated? Is it a challenge? Or is it something that you rarely think about? I think that it was an issue maybe five or 10 years ago and that the rumor of the business being male-dominated is still out there. But I email a lot of people everyday from different agencies and promotion companies and a lot of them are women. If you’re motivated and passionate about making money in the music business, companies, artists and agencies will catch on to that and take you seriously—whether your male or female.
Who inspires you? Sari Delmar, the founder of Audio Blood. She started a company in the industry that continues to be current and caters to the smaller local bands of Southern Ontario. I’m inspired by the company’s hard work and dedication to developing Canadian artists and music.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years? I hope that I am still working in the music industry and that I love my job. Oh… and that I get paid a decent wage so that I can pay off my student loans!
Favourite band: Can anyone answer this question? That’s so hard! I can tell you that my favourite band for the last couple months has been Death Cab For Cutie. Ben Gibbard is such an amazing lyricist.
Favourite album: That’s also very hard! An album that has always stood out for me is Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins.
Favourite music video: “Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart” by the Backstreet Boys. Mmm, men in rain.
Favourite live venue: The London Music Hall is no doubt an awesome venue. Anywhere you stand is a “good seat.” I also have so many good memories at the Horseshoe Tavern [in Toronto] and seeing such a large variety of music there that just exudes Canadian urban culture. I just love to bask in it.
Favourite drink: WINE! All kinds of it.
Favourite watering hole: There is a bar right down the street from my house that has half-priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays. That’s always fun.
Most memorable live performance: Was at a Tegan and Sara concert at the Phoenix. They were all about the crowd and feeding off our energy. Each song they played felt like we were the last people that would ever hear it. It was quite profound.
Parting words: Always say yes to every opportunity. You never know where it will take you or who you will come into contact with that could one day help you become successful. Also, work hard! It pays off.