It’s 5 a.m. and I am stationed outside Space Miami holding my stubborn pride in one hand, and my dead phone in the other.
This is definitely how I pictured my life at nearly 28.
I was supposed to meet my friend Angela inside the club, but due in part to a well-to-do friend of a friend of a friend who fell back on his idle promise to walk me through the door, there I stood, outside the venue, as probably the only millennial ever in time to dare outstay their phone’s battery life.
The last few texts I was able to send during my phone’s dying breaths were something like:
“I’m waiting outside the venue.”
“Literally I’m right at the front talking to the door guy who is very lovely but he won’t let me in.”
“Please save me.”
You might be asking yourself, “Why not just go home, Talia?”
Because, yes, 5 a.m. is an entirely respectable time to call it a night. But you see, I am not a quitter, and was not about to let Miami Music Week defeat me.
You also might be saying to yourself, “This is pathetic and funny, but what does it have to do with this installment of Behind the Beat?”
Because, like my knight in immaculate eyeliner, my friend Angela Samartano, a social media manager of Red Light Management, came to my rescue that night by asking the manager of the famous DJ whose posse she was with that night to send a memo to the keeper of the pearly Space gates to let me in.
“Are you Talia?”
“Omg yes. Are you here to save me?”
“Yes…you’re with Angela, right? You can come in.”
“Bless your heart.”
So besides sitting at the cool kid’s table at all dance music events and getting access to all the best shows, what does my friend Angela do and how did she get there?
I’ll let her tell you.
20something: Was it a social media background that led you to music, or a music background that led you to social media?
Angela Samartano: I would have to say the latter, as music has been a major influence on my life long before social media existed. I grew up listening to cassettes and CDs on my Walkman, dancing around my house to all different kinds of music. Being enrolled in dance lessons from the age of four through about 25 years old, music was always my outlet for stress relief and it’s a passion that’s still alive and well. As year’s progressed and technology advanced, I became determined to learn how to create my own job opportunities through my love of music.
So how did you get your start in Music?
AS: Before music, I ran a style and (New York centered) culture blog for a few years while freelancing for a fashion blog and as time went on I felt like my heart wasn’t really in that game anymore. Music was always on my mind. Whether I was choreographing an entire routine to a song in my head on the bus to work or scouring the internet for tickets to see my favorite musicians on my weekends, I decided to switch gears. If I could blog about attending New York Fashion Week, why couldn’t I blog about attending Miami Music Week? After a bad breakup, it was time for a fresh start in every aspect. I left the other blogs in the dust and registered the domain name EDMinsider.com in July of 2011, where I immediately began working rigorously to build the site and its content up until launching in November. At the time, I was one of only a handful of online electronic music sources in New York City. The other bloggers and I formed a community where we networked with everyone and helped one another to succeed. Managing the social channels and contributors for the website as the dance music scene grew in such an astounding way, I knew that blog-world was far from the last stop on my journey in electronic music. I could have never anticipated that this would be my career path even 6 years ago, but I’ve never stop striving to be even better. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given so far but I know I definitely earn them through years of blood, sweat, tears, sleepless nights, forgetting my earplugs, losing my voice, chasing down interviews, carrying camera equipment, actually listening when people speak, wearing the wrong shoes to festivals, and the list goes on and on.
Tell us about Red Light. Who are their most notable clients? Who do you work with?
AS: Red Light has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I am proud to work for a company that allows me to be mentored by an exceptional group of colleagues while simultaneously doing what I love. Red Light has a plethora of legendary acts on its roster including Lionel Richie, Alabama Shakes, Phish and more. I work under the Tiësto team managing digital and social media strategy for his channels as well as his label, Musical Freedom Records. Other acts under my social media watch include Seven Lions, Dzeko & Torres, MOTi and more up and coming acts such as ZAXX and Riggi and Piros.
Have you ever posted the wrong thing? I.e mixed up accounts? If so, please do tell and how did you get out of it?
AS: Knock on wood (and any other surface nearby) that never happens to me! I always triple check everything and never rush through posts to make sure I can catch anything/everything before going live. I’ve literally had nightmares about posting something wrong or by mistake!
Personally speaking, whats your favorite social media platform? Which is your least favorite? Is there a one out there that’s not as popular and you think is underrated? One that’s overrated?
AS: Instagram has always been one of my favorite platforms. It’s a great way for people to express themselves artistically and curate the way they want to be viewed by the world. Instagram has had the ability to launch careers in blogging, photography and of course social media; and to me, that’s very intriguing. The creativity behind an on online photo stream such as Instagram removes the more annoying aspect of social media like having to read people’s word-vomit opinions, political views and baby updates like with Facebook. Another favorite is Snapchat for the fact that what you send out into the world has a very abbreviated shelf life. It’s also an effective marketing tool because it creates a sense of urgency for viewers to go check out a brand/person’s story before it’s gone forever. Plus, it’s great for those of us with short attention spans.
Is there a celebrity account that you think is incredible? Tell us some of your faves, and why…
AS: You mean, besides Kanye West and Deadmau5? Those two always make me laugh on Twitter; even when they’re attempting to be serious. I’m certainly not the first person to say this, but Dillon Francis pretty much owns social media. With all his hilarious characters and story lines on Snapchat and Instagram, he’s easily one of my favorite accounts to follow.
You are an active member of the Nap Girls collective. Tell us about who they are, what they do, and your involvement. What has it brought to your life? What would you like people to know about your fellow nappers? What are so hopes for the future?
AS: I first learned about Nap Girls when meeting one of the founders (Liz) last February in Los Angeles. Before Nap Girls was more commonly known among the dance music industry, there were maybe 40 women working in music chatting in a private group about our common interests and concerns in the ever-growing scene. Prior to joining the group, I never realized just how many women there were working in some respect of music all dealing with common hardships, concerns and inequalities in our world. Nap Girls has been a major support system, building a real community of empowered women striving to lift one another up in a whole where women so commonly being each other down. My fellow nappers are publicists, artists, managers, DJs, creative directors, bloggers, photographers as well as those who aspire to be in those positions. Watching the movement grow from its infant stages through now, it’s astonishing to see how many solid steps in the right direction we’ve made and how the scene is accepting change slowly. With the rapid growth Nap Girls has shown in just one year’s time, I grow more excited to see what’s in store for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
What’s the most annoying cliche about working in social media?
AS: It could be difficult for people who aren’t necessarily tech savvy to comprehend what I actually do. For example, my parents. Neither of them have a Facebook or Instagram or Twitter account, and both wouldn’t know the difference between Carl Cox and Porter Robinson. Although, they’re extremely supportive of what I do they join the others who think that I “tweet for a living.” That’s only a small piece of the puzzle!
Is your life just like a continuum of parties as I imagine it to be?
AS: For years I would have answered yes, but now not so much. Working in dance music and social media, you’re never really off the clock. However, I’ve learned to balance supporting artists/friends when they’re playing in town with being a major homebody and cherishing my rest. I used to drop everything to attend a show I wanted to go see, and stay out through the next morning partying. But now? I’d much rather a glass of wine, a blanket and Netflix. Don’t get me wrong, I still go out to my fair share of nightclubs and festivals. I’m just much more picky now about which events will get me to put on pants (let alone heels) on a Saturday night these days. It makes the events you do choose to attend that much more special. Quality over quantity!
What’s one word of advice you would give someone who is attending a music festival for the first time?
AS: Go where the music takes you. With the exception of the maybe 1 or 2 names that are probably your reason for attending the festival, don’t look at the line up or the set times. Hear a beat you love? Go dance to it! It doesn’t matter if you’re at the main stage or the super underground tent on the opposite end of the grounds, let your freak flag fly and find your own groove.
What are you looking forward to most this festival season?
AS: Every summer I get to meet new people from all over the world and reconnect with others, some that I’ve met through online communities such as Nap Girls. I have built lasting friendships and professional relationships all through attending music festivals over the years. Festival season (basically from Miami Music Week in March through ADE in October) is the time when we get to catch up with one another, collaborate and create new memories. As cliche as it always sounds, music really does bring people together and I wouldn’t trade my “festival season” memories for the world. Oh and of course, with every festival season brings further evolution of sound/visual production and endless amounts of new music.
What’s one word of advice you would give someone who wants to work in music, but has no idea doing what?
AS: Music is such a broad category, so there are infinite possibilities and ways to find your niche. The key is to focus how you intertwine your existing skills within the realm of the music world and expand from there. You can be a lawyer for a musician/artist, or a business manager, a graphic designer, a videographer, a tour manager, a publicist, a booking agent, basically anything you want. You certainly don’t necessary need to be making music to work in the industry, but no matter what —be prepared to hustle. The lifestyle of working regular hours but also needing to be out until all hours of the morning on some days is so strenuous on the mind, body and soul that you really love what you’re doing to make the juice worth the squeeze. Be kind. Be humble. Never stop working your ass off!