Senior Spotlight: Ariel Hong

Where are you from?

Born and raised in New York City, moved to Jersey, made it back here.

What is your background in music?

Jammin’ in the womb, forever till the tomb. I played piano and violin for about 9 years through middle and high school, and attended shows since I was 5, ranging from Classical to Rock music.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

Long story short, found a band based in Brooklyn (courtesy of MySpace) during freshman year of high school and followed them throughout the years. That’s when I started getting into the underground music scene and knew I wanted to study Music Business. I wrote about them in my college essay and got accepted SO U KNOW it was meant to be. Also having a non-existent football team for a college was a plus ++

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

Always digging new vibes, but top list include Spoon, Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, Phoenix, La Femme, Youth Lagoon, Deerhunter, Neon Indian, and The Dig. Anything reverb soaked, essentially. And Dave Matthew Band. These h0mes got me through high school.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Lime in the Coconut by Harry Nilsson. Instant classic.

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

Concert Management hands down. That Brooklyn band I mentioned earlier? Freshman year my class booked a sold-out show for them. Talk about dream clutch. Another one is Music Publishing- made a project about Smallpools (before they got big) out of chocolate and shot a parody music video for our final- brownie points forever for this class. Also Professor Jennifer Blakeman is straight chill.

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

Every music-related moment is always kickin it. But I recently went to see Magic Man at Webster Hall. They brought the opening band, The Griswolds back out on stage for a R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix)” cover. It was the most lit 8th grade dance of my life.

What was your best Internship?

Ok you can’t just pick one favorite candy. H0megurl needs her gummy bears and Reeses. Honestly I’ve learned something valuable from every one of my internships. But if I had to choose my top 2 it would be my time at PopGun Presents and Sony Music. PopGun Presents was clutch where I got to engage with artists I was personally a fan of and learn more about the indie side of the music business. They dealt with the more underground scene in Brooklyn. My experience there felt like I stepped into one giant Tumblr. Great vibes.

For Sony Music, I was lucky enough to be under College Marketing, where the department is pretty small and my supervisors were like a second family to me. I also came in at a perfect time where Sony Music as a whole was moving locations. The new building, located right outside of Madison Square Park, provided an open space where I was able to not only engage better with my department, but also meet new friends from other labels and learn a bit about them too. Plus theres a rooftop access so thats a game changer ++ ♪ My department allowed me to get my hands into all facets of the company’s operations, and do work that’s actually meaningful. I was also able to sit in on meetings with managers of pretty cool bands that Ive been a fan of since high school. It was definitely an unparalleled experience. Your internship is pretty much what you make of it. The best advice my boss gave me on the first day was “Don’t be a mouse and go to work and leave right afterwards. You’re in the music industry. It’s not about who you know today, it’s about who knows you.” Those words have never been truer. Believe me I took that to heart and went all out. Had one of the best internship experiences of my life. Plus you cant complain about all that free show swag

What is your dream job?

Become a Vinyl Wizard. Just kidding. Sort of. Definitely stay in the music business, focusing on artist development and strategic branding. Also maintain a creative side. I love doing photography and documenting behind-the-scenes work for friends’ bands and other local artists. That’s how I really got introduced to the music scene; I like seeing artists grow organically and the process behind it. Audio-visual matchmaking and editing behind-the-scenes and live works for artists would be a killer dream job. Call me in 10 years.


Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

Nope. I knew I wanted to do this since my freshman year of high school.  Haven’t changed my mind yet. Following the path

What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

Make new friends, try new things, GO TO SHOWS. They say NYU doesn’t have a campus but real talk: New York City IS our campus. Take full advantage of where you are. Don’t stay in a bubble, go to Brooklyn, trek out to Smorgasburg, follow Brooklyn Vegan and check out the hippest new bands. There are so many events that aren’t worth mad scrilla. Most are even free. I go to shows at least 3 times a week, 7 on a good week. Go out. Try new things, you never know where you’ll end up. Make friends at music events in and out of NYU, they may become the most important contacts of your LIFE (and career). Also do as much as you can at your internship. Offered to go to a show at work? GO. Asked to get lunch with your boss? GO. Your experience is what you make of it. You’re in one of the best programs in the WORLD and its up to you to decide what will happen next. Network, make friends, take initiative to learn and utilize your skills. You never know where you’ll end up. The craziest things happen and believe me the music industry is so small everyone knows each other. NYU, NYC, and the music industry are not places where you can expect to get what you want handed to you on a silver platter. Go out. Keep it lit.