We are back with the Building the Community Series! As much as I enjoy being able to highlight artists and their songs, there is something special about taking a look at the business side of the industry and having the opportunity to talk to individuals from across the board. At times, these folks don't get as much credit and the spotlight they deserve. I created this feature to be able to sit down with these amazing individuals and learn about their journey on the business side of Country Music. I sat down with Jenna Heideman and talked about how she got into Country Music, her decision to pursue a career in management, why she created Desperado Management, her vision moving forward and the advice she has for anyone who wants to start their own company or pursue a dream.
"Desperado Management simply stated is an artist management company; we manage artists. My outlook on an ever changing industry is that we want to shake things up. We don't want to do things the same way they've been done for the last 20 years. I named the business Desperado Management because a desperado is a "bold, reckless outlaw". That's our outlook. Our goal is to come into the music industry, shake things up and do them our way. I believe in my artists. I don't want to change them, I want to amplify what they're doing."
Get To Know Jenna
"I was born and raised in a small town, population 550. Growing up, all I can remember my parents listening to was country music. My mom had a Blackhawk cassette tape in the old blue minivan we had. Mom took me and my sister to our first concert when I was five years old. The artist was Shania Twain and I believe that changed my life.
Shortly after that, I got my first CD - it was Jo Dee Messina. My next one was Garth Brooks. When Tim McGraw released “Set This Circus Down”, I played that thing repeatedly on my little alarm clock CD player in my room every night. Once I had a TV in my room, I would wake up early to watch music videos. I loved country music.
That love of Country Music continued. It turned me into a teenage girl who would take my parents credit card, buy concert tickets for me and my friends to go see Luke Bryan, Justin Moore or Jason Aldean when they came to a local county fair or some little venue. Basically, any venue within a three hour drive, we’d go to. I developed a love for going to live shows and experiencing my favorite artist or a new artist with my best friends.
When it came to my senior year of high school I had to pick a college and a major. For my basketball senior night I had to write a short bio telling where I was going to college and what my major would be. I wrote that I’d study biology or manage bands. Like.. managing bands was not a career you heard of in middle of nowhere Illinois. I went to a local community college for a year but then heard about Belmont University. I told my parents I was going to transfer to Belmont and the next year I moved to Nashville.
My first year here, I interned with an artist management firm. I thought “this is it, I am going to be a manager.” Little did I know it was going to take ten years, quitting a few jobs, and getting fired from a job to land in just the right place."
Q & A With Jenna Heideman
Q: What is your vision for Desperado Management?
A: "Right now, since we are new, I have three artists that I'm managing. All are independent artists. I'm starting from the ground up and my goal is to get those artists established. I want to get them rolling in their careers so they are able to support their families, their band, their team etc. while doing what they love. The first part of my vision is establishing the artist management side. Eventually I want to grow into Desperado Media, have a podcast umbrella and develop brands with that. Long term, I would love to get into managing PBR cowboys/bull riders. Down the road I'd love to work with and develop Western athletes. I see such an opening there. There are many cowboys that don't focus on the business side of the industry and I’d like to manage some of them. For right now, I am representing Cody Hibbard, Clay Hollis and Joey Greer. We are working to get things rolling from the artist management side first."
Q: Memorable moments so far with Desperado Management. What do you enjoy?
A: "The most memorable moment so far is starting the company. Before Desperado Management was truly Desperado Management, I had a full time job working with another artist. Since I started working, I have always done other things on the side. I never worked only a 9-5 job, but I usually had a 6-10 job as well. At one point I was working full time for an artist, while also managing two other artists. It was a memorable moment when I quit that job. I quit that job to start a career. I was in the studio with Clay Hollis and we cut 10 new songs for his upcoming album. I met Cody Hibbard through the Texas Music scene. We have been friends and have thrown each other bones like "hey, can you open for this show" or "hey, can you help me with this". Cody Hibbard and I started to work together because he saw my passion and work ethic. It's so crazy, as it was all coming together for me to start Desperado Management.
Going to a live show and seeing the fans react is what I like most about my job. In management, especially where I am right now, I work alone. I work from home, I'm constantly on socials, e-mails, calls etc. and being isolated can be draining. But being able to go to a live show and see the fans react, sing along and interact with the artist demonstrates my hard work is paying off and that all the things I've worked on with the artist pay off."
Q: What advice do you have for anyone who's trying to become an entrepreneur and start their own podcast, business, service, etc.?
A: "Work harder and don't quit. A lot of people don't put in the hard work and quit right away. So don't quit when you get to podcast #50. Keep going and push to get to podcast #100. My other advice is to work a day job. Work 9-5, make your money and hustle on the side. Work 9-5 then come home and work on your passion 6-10. If you get a bartending job and work 4PM - 2AM, do your “passion” during the day. Build your passion project on the side and when you're ready to make the jump, make the jump."
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