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POP INTERVIEW: The Agency Group’s Alisa Preisler

Alisa Preisler is a shining example of young women succeeding on the other, less talked about side of the music industry – in her role as an agent.

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Alisa Preisler is a shining example of young women succeeding on the other, less talked about side of the music industry in her role as an agent with New York firm, The Agency Group. A regular traveler for her job, she just returned from SXSW 2013 and lived to tell about it.

Alisa Preisler

What is your job description?
Simply – I book tours for bands. There’s a lot more involved though. there is the whole process of scouting bands, signing them, coordinating with their team (manager, label, publicist, etc) on when and where to tour, who to tour with, etc. Routing the tours, getting offers in, and finally then confirming the tour dates. Coordinating the announce date for the tour. Then of course making sure the promoters are doing their job to promote the shows. Getting bands support slots on larger tours. Getting them on festivals. Issuing contracts. Hounding promoters for signed contracts and deposits. Getting ticket counts to see how the shows are selling in advance.

What made you want to do this?
I have known since I was pretty young that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. I have always loved to turn people on to new music – so A+R has always appealed to me. I majored in Music Industry in college and was pretty set on trying to get a job doing A+R at a label. One of my professors told me though that the position is not only one of the most difficult jobs to get, but also has the highest turnover rate. I knew I wanted to work in Music Business regardless and all the women I knew in music either worked or got their start in Music PR – it is definitely one of, if not the most, female friendly sector in the music business. I never wanted to do music PR, but was just desperate to get a job in the biz. After I graduated, I moved from Philadelphia to New York and interned at 3 didn’t music pr companies. During that time, I interviewed to be the receptionist at The Agency Group and got the job. Despite studying music business in college, I wasn’t very knowledgeable about booking agencies. Live music has always been a passion of mine – I have been going to rock shows regularly since I was 14 years old. I’ve always felt that the live aspect of music is really where you can tell the true talent of an artist – at this point, anyone can put a decent enough record together if they have the money and resources. But to put on an amazing live show is really what shows an artist’s true talent. So when I realized that being a booking agent has everything to do with live music and that there is A+R involved as well – well I was pretty much sold and decided I was going to do everything in my power to move up the chain at the company. After being the receptionist for a year, I became an assistant, and then at the end of last year, I was promoted to associate agent.

It’s really exciting to see a young woman out and about at SXSW, which as we know, is ruled by middle aged tech men. Please tell about everything you’ve been doing with your artists this week.
It has been incredibly hectic, to say the least. I have 16 artists that I work with down here – so there is a lot of me running around town, from show to show, saying hello to the bands and making sure everything is going smoothly. I wish I had more time to spend with each band – but between going to shows, going to meetings, trying to see new bands, etc – there is just not enough time in the day.

Which acts have you caught that have left you floored by their talent?
Well, I love all of the bands I work with – I wouldn’t work with them if I didn’t. There are a few that I hadn’t been able to see live before and it was pretty incredible to get to see them for the first time after listening to their music for so long – Toy, Swim Deep, and Feathers. I also got the opportunity to see the Stooges who are my favorite band of all time. And of course The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were amazing as always.

What do you think someone should work on if he or she is in a band saying, “I badly want to have a record deal?”
With the current state of the music business – a record deal isn’t really necessary to get your name out there. The best thing you can do is write and record some quality music, self release it if you have to, and just play as many shows as possible. If you have the talent – touring is what is going to develop your fan base and get you ready for the next level. Sitting around and hoping for a record deal just doesn’t cut it. You need to be proactive.

Austin used to have a guy running around in his underwear who, I kid you not, became this cult figure in town and the guy scared me half to death when I went to school here the first time I saw him parading in a diaper thing. The town motto is “Keep Austin Weird!” So with that, what is the weirdest or funniest thing you’ve seen all week?
Seeing The Allah-Las, who I work with, playing the Doritos stage was pretty weird. And awesome. I have never seen so many Doritos as I did backstage too.

If someone wants to have your job, what should he or she do?
One of the easiest ways to get into booking is to book shows. If you are in college – become involved with your school’s concert committee. Get a job or internship at a venue and try to get involved with the booking process. Through that – you will develop contacts at booking agencies . Get an internship at a booking agency – I would say at least 80% of the time we hire someone it is either a current or former intern that gets the job. Go to shows – go to A LOT of shows – networking is one of the most important aspects of working in the music business and the best place to meet people in the music business is by going to shows.

What are you going to be doing with your own artists this year?
As far as tours – I have Shannon + The Clams supporting Mikal Cronin in June, The Black Angels are doing a tour in April and May with Allah-Las and Hanni El Khatib supporting, NOBUNNY is going to have a new record out this summer and will be doing a headline tour in July, Hunx + His Punx are also putting out a new record and will be touring in August – I could go on – everyone is going to be pretty busy.

As for other events/festivals – I am very excited to be returning to Austin at the end of April for Austin Psych Fest. The Black Angels throw the festival every year and it continues to grow in popularity. I went last year for the first time, and it was one of the best festivals I have ever been to. This year I have Black Angels, The Raveonettes, Roky Erickson, Night Beats, Dead Skeletons, and Young Magic all playing. And then in May – I am going to be going to Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK. It is considered the SXSW/CMJ of UK/Europe. I have a bunch of bands playing that as well – Allah-Las, Swim Deep, Temples, Feathers, and Big Deal. Will also be going to catch some new bands as well and meet some lovely Europeans!

Music

LISTEN: Tina Turner And Kygo Collaborate On A Fun Remix Of ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’

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You must understand how this remixed up jam makes my pulse react.

Did you wake up today thinking “man, what does love really have to do with it?” Then you’re in luck because after 36 years from its original debut, Tina Turner’s mega hit song “What’s Love Got To Do With It” has been remixed and released by the Norwegian DJ and producer Kygo. And let me tell you, I may not know what love has go to do with it but I do know this remix is fire!

You might remember Kygo from his previous remix of Whitney Houston’s “Higher Love” and just like he did with that bop, he turned Turner’s classic into a surefire dance floor hit. In a statement about the exciting collaboration the 28-year old said “I couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with Tina Turner, who is an icon that I grew up listening to. ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ is one of my all-time favorite songs so to have a chance to rework it has been a very special moment in my career. I love working around timeless vocals and although it’s challenging to preserve elements of the original track and adding my own touch, I’m extremely happy with how it turned out!”

The updated song is also accompanied by a new music video directed by Sarah Bahbah and starring Laura Harrier and Charles Michael Davis. The sexy duo portray a pair of star crossed lovers who have all the makings of a perfect couple but just can’t seem to dig down deep enough to make the relationship last. And while the subject matter might be heartbreaking, the video is beautiful and pairs perfectly with Turner’s iconic voice.

Check out the music video below!

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Music

Pentatonix’s Cover Of Billie Eilish’s ‘When The Party’s Over’ Will Give You Chills

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We could all use a bit more harmony these days…a 5-part harmony that is.

Billie Eilish is known to have a bit of a darker tone to her music but this cover of “When The Party’s Over” by Pentatonix will absolutely send chills down your spine.

The a capella quintet is known for their amazing covers and unique arrangements and this one is no different. Collaborating from a distance, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola, and Matt Sallee perform the somber tune with an individual closeup in front of a simple white background before being edited together to create perfect harmonies. The Eilish song is already a fan favorite with the original music video being viewed over 500,000,000 times and I’m sure this cover will rack up the views as well.

The track is featured on the a capella group’s latest EP, At Home, which was release back in June. Check out the music video for “When The Party’s Over” below!

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Broadway

Lin-Manuel Miranda Just Shared The Original Demo For ‘Moana’ Hit Song And It Features A Big ‘Hamilton’ Star!

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Another gem from the wonderful world of Miranda.

If there are two things musical lovers are forever grateful for it’s Disney and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Disney scooped up Miranda to write songs for the 2016 hit film Moana which told the story of a young princess chosen by the ocean to reunite an ancient relic with a powerful goddess. Unsurprisingly, the film’s standout song “How Far I’ll Go” won the Oscar for “Best Original Song” because everything Miranda touches turns to gold. What’s even more exciting than the award winning content Miranda creates, however, is the glimpses into the creative process he often shares with fans. After Hamilton became a smash hit, Miranda shared countless original demos and compositions of songs from the musical just to show fans the growth of his creativity. Well, moments ago Miranda took to Twitter to once again give us a peek into his process but this time it’s for the hit Disney film.

While Hamilton was still in it’s pre-Broadway run, Miranda was writing songs for Disney. He enlisted the help of his costar Phillipa Soo, the original Eliza Schuyler, to record the demo for “How Far I’ll Go” from their dressing room at the Public Theater. Finally after all these years, Miranda has decided to share the demo with us and it’s enough to make any theater geek freak out! In his tweet he apologizes for making the demo so “high” but applauds Soo because she “can sing ANYTHING.” And by the sound of this demo she really can!

Check out some Disney magic…or Miranda magic…or both(?) by listening to the original demo below!

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