Senior Spotlight: Jordan Williams

Where are you from?

I am from the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland.

What is your background in music?

My father has been a Jazz musician my entire life. I have two older brothers that also made music when it was time for me to decide what I wanted to pursue as a career. I’ve written hip-hop music since I was 16 and have been studying more formally since I arrived at NYU in 2012.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

I wanted to be in NYC. I knew if I was going to work in the music industry, I had to be either here or LA. The layout of NYC is a little more accessible than LA, which is why I chose NYC/NYU. I applied on a whim thinking I wouldn’t get in and even applied to a few lower caliber schools in the area so I’d still be able to live in NYC. When I got in, I additionally reasoned that I’d be able to get a good education and better connections in the industry if I went to NYU.

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Anderson .Paak, GoldLink. All of these artists have changed the way I think about their genres.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Yeah, I actually really like Miley Cyrus. I listened to her last album just to be up on new music and then ended up really enjoying it. I’ll admit to it to anyone, but you probably won’t see me playing her out loud anywhere.

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

There are a few. First and foremost, surprisingly, Intro to the Music Industry. The way the class was coordinated wasn’t the best, but the things I learned in that class provided a foundation for me that I still use today. Also, Music Publishing. That was sort of the opposite of Intro to the Music Industry. I wasn’t too interested in it but Professor Jennifer Blakeman’s enthusiasm and drive definitely made its mark on me. I even interned for a publishing company the summer afterwards.

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

I watched the film “Warriors” after working a Meet&Greet event for Run the Jewels right after the release of their album¬†Run the Jewels 2. I was interning for their label, Mass Appeal Records, at the time. I watched the film with them and a few super fans. They paid for beer for everyone in the the Nitehawk theater and I was even able to bring my girlfriend. There’s nothing better than Killer Mike pointing to you and saying to your girlfriend, “your boyfriend is a great guy.” After the film was over, Nas showed up and premiered a song for the small audience. I can say I’ve heard a Nas song before anyone else (except the other people in the theater, obviously). Definitely a night I’ll remember for the rest of my career.¬†

What was your best Internship?

Audible Treats. As soon as I showed up, I was brought right into their workflow and was able to start growing immediately. They brought me to industry events regularly, the first to do so after I turned 21, and I still interact with them today. I work in management and was able to bring a lot of experience and knowledge I received from Audible Treats to my current job, although Audible Treats was a PR agency. I’m grateful for the experience I had there and their willingness to really let me grow into my own in their company.

What is your dream job?

I work for a management company (Equative Thinking) now as an Administrative Assistant. The dream is to manage a successful artist. I am surrounded by great and driven people where I work. I look to them daily for advice and motivation as well as educate myself via books, articles, and whatever I can find to really hit the ground running towards that dream after graduation.

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

When I entered the program, I wanted to be a DIY hip-hop artist. I wanted NYU to teach me how to be self-sufficient in the industry as a creator. Although I still make music and my internships and NYU have attributed to my growth as an artist, I wasn’t expecting to fully immerse myself in the business as opposed to the creative aspect. However, I think it does help that I was an artist first. I think that gives me an edge as an artist manager.

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

Try as many things as you can and be patient. I’ve interned for a label, publishing company, PR agency, and now I work for a management company. The more things you try out, the more likely you’ll land on what you actually want to do. I didn’t know I wanted to be in artist management until the beginning of my senior year. Be willing to try new things and wait until something sticks. If you’re truly passionate about the music business, something will.
Lastly, and possibly the most important, keep and maintain your relationships in the industry. When you leave an internship, you should have at least one person who you can go back to for advice or possibly even a job opportunity, if needed. Keep those relationships strong and trying to work in the industry won’t feel so lonely. Finding your place is a lot easier with a support system. You never know where a lunch date can get you.