Music production

Music Production Senior Student Andrew DeGirolamo applies experiential learning opportunities like SXSW to his personal and professional growth

Andrew DeGirolamo, a music production/recording industry major with a minor in marketing from Newton, Connecticut, took the lessons he learned from the Ohio-in-LA program and used them to get the best personal and professional experience of SXSW, building relationships with industry professionals.

“I wanted to go to SXSW because I wanted to meet and learn from music industry professionals, especially as I was preparing to graduate OU,” DeGirolamo said.

DeGirolamo, who participated in the Ohio-in-LA program last summer, has found SXSW extremely beneficial both personally and professionally.

“I went to the Ohio-in-LA summer program last summer and it prepared me to build relationships, and I feel like I was able to transfer that well to SXSW,” said From Girolamo. “You never know who you’ll meet and when. On a personal level, there are also a ton of musical events/concerts, and it was a lot of fun.

For DeGirolamo, most days started with sessions starting at 9:30 a.m. such as the importance of collecting data to see trends and create art, decentralized autonomous organizations or “cryptocurrency companies”, how to publicize as an independent artist, music and film music, among others. After attending the roundtables, he used the opportunity to meet and connect with these speakers and ask them questions, taking notes on all the ideas offered.

Andrew D. Japanese Breakfast
DeGirolamo meets Japanese Breakfast singer Michelle Zauner.

Over the days, he was also able to schedule one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry leaders like the head of promotion at Glassnote Records. He was able to connect with him about their favorite music and professional interests. After the day-long sessions and mentorships ended, the heart of the festival began, according to DeGirolamo. Every night there would be different concerts and parties, allowing attendees to interact in a more relaxed and fun way with industry leaders.

“While a lot of great things happen during the day, the night gigs were where the real magic was,” DeGirolamo said. “I’ve talked to a lot of sound engineers at most shows, and I’ve met a lot of people like me as well as other professionals, and now I have these relationships with those people. I’ve met several of the artists I’ve seen on stage, as well as their managers and distributors.

Some of DeGirolamo’s favorite gigs included Spoon, Mattiel, Wet Leg, Magdalena Bay, and Japanese Breakfast. In addition to the possibility of hearing these artists, the various rooms where they all played also interested him. DeGirolamo said the best venues were the Moody Theater, as well as the Elysium, a gothic bar where he went for a “synth-pop” night to see Orion, Club Intl and Desire.

DeGirolamo attends Mattiel’s concert at SXSW.

In addition to panels and mentoring sessions and gigs, there were also several Spotify business sessions on artist branding that really piqued his interest, as well as sessions on independent artists and alternative payment methods in the music. For DeGirolamo, who produces his own music and also aspires to help other artists, these sessions have been extremely valuable.

After graduating, DeGirolamo hopes to get a job at a record company and move to New York while continuing to write and record her own music and that of other artists.