The fair favored wishes and good omens for our trip began just before midnight when Stark and I shuffled down the Sky Priority lane and handed over our tickets. At this point, our only anticipation was in wondering just how we might survive a red eye flight now that we were willing to admit to ourselves, in the eleventh hour, that we were maybe getting a little old for sleepless nights. But as the attendant scanned our tickets he asked, “Have something fun planned?”
“Yea.” Stark was awake enough to answer. “A few Broadway shows and a Billy Joel concert.”
Without knowing exactly the occasion, the attendant said something along the lines of, “How fun! It’s a party. It’s like turning 30 all over again…”
The comment made me laugh out loud. I knew he was speaking only of himself and the joy it would be for him to turn 30 again, but it was easy for me to react with a somewhat distressed tone as I turned to Stark and insisted, “AGAIN? How old does he think I am?”
This trip was in fact planned as a 30th birthday present to see Billy Joel in concert at Madison Square Garden. This, most particularly, has been at the top of my bucket list since he last graced that New York City stage, and it has been one of those bucket list dreams that I thought for sure would never happen as it had been more than ten years since he last played at MSG. I thought his time performing there would be done and I had missed the boat.
Still, there were a lot of things to do prior to Friday night’s concert. We would be landing in New York around 6:00am before hiring a taxi to drive into the city, checking into the hotel, and ultimately getting situated for a two hour nap. I was surprised I could even sleep. I had an early afternoon meeting at Sony Music and had promised to meet up with my former Sony colleagues and managers beforehand.
In fear of being rendered speechless by nothing more than a total lack of sleep and a bit stressed in having to hide a black bra under a white blouse (yeeeea I forgot to pack all my underwear, go figure), I was surprised I had any remaining calm as I walked into the nearest Starbucks for some caffeinated reassurance and found that every Personal Assistant in a five block radius was there ordering 4+ drinks each. Still, I waited. I needed the caffeine, the sugar, the calories, and anything that could guarantee that I might LOOK ALIVE for a meeting that was, at this point, only an hour away.
My green tea latte was delivered with only 18 minutes to spare. I could make it if I walked fast or I could take a cab? Walking fast would certainly give me time to wake up and rehearse what it is I had to say, just incase I went brain dead mid-sentence. If anything, it would just give me a chance to relax and enjoy the fact that above all else, I was in New York City. I LOVE the feeling of walking to work in the morning, coffee in hand, and all dressed up with somewhere to go. So I picked my head up and gave a noticeable smile before walking out of the Starbucks only to see the one, the only, Mandy Patinkin waiting in line. Now my day was truly off on the right foot!
The line in the sky lobby was longer than I had ever seen it before, besides the obvious crowd of college kids that every CMJ brings to the Sony lobby. I took the time to balance my coffee in one hand and a journal of notes in the other. “14 years of music marketing experience… promoter… tour manager… venue owner… yada yada yada. Why do I want to do this? Easy…” I thought, “we’re family.”
I spent about half an hour chit chatting with Emma before she walked me down to my meeting with HR. After a short wait reading Billboard magazine, it was time to meet some new Sony relatives. I gabbed away as if we were already old friends and these two ladies were part of my already well-established Sony family. Really, they were, despite this being the first time I had ever met with them. I told them of my experience and the overall “big plan” to take my marketing know-how to a global level. Just before leaving, I pointed to the Billy Joel poster propped at the edge of the desk and said, “You know, there are two things that got me into music. I told you how I got into the music industry by first being a musician and well, I give all credit to my cousin Sam and Billy Joel for those initial musical desires to play the piano. It feels like I’ve come full circle after talking to you today and now I’m going to see Billy play MSG tomorrow!” (Now keep that comment in mind because it’ll come up in a later post.)
Hanging upstairs again, it wasn’t long before Frank and Todd were back in the office with only moments between meetings. We greeted each other with hugs and before Frank could say much about the meeting I had just had, I wowed him by pegging Pantera after an accidental three second music clip he gave when he hit his desktop spacebar sitting down at his desk. I was on top of it! Something about being there just puts me into this all-knowing music mania. After giving a joking lecture to Emma about how everyone should know Pantera, Frank said he had stopped by HR before coming upstairs. He said they had nothing but good things to say about me, that I had a unique story. Hearing that was a huge relief!
We discussed the idea of moving, where I might live and how Stark would be coming with me. We talked about what it was I wanted to do now with Sony back on my radar and I presented my idea for the perfect music business that would, in my opinion, take the marketing department up a notch. Eventually, I was on my way with a Record Store Day bag filled with all the latest albums.
The journey continues. Read more…