Kelly Bolton ’13 hits the high notes with Music City internship
January 24, 2013 By Elizabeth Trollinger
Dog Universal music label in Nashville, where she has had the
best of both the work and music worlds. “At Show Dog, I have
daily office tasks—although, I don’t know if mailing guitars
signed by Toby Keith is all that normal for a receptionist in a
typical office!” she says.
When Kelly Bolton ’13 decided she was interested in doing a CentreTerm internship related to music, she looked no further than Music City: Nashville.
Bolton is interning with Show Dog Universal, a music label connected to some very big names—which is nothing new for her.
“My internship at Show Dog Universal came about as a result of the networking and many connections I made this past summer while interning at TKO Artist Management—both are associated with Toby Keith, hence the connections,” she says.
Bolton has found her internships at TKO and Show Dog complementary, learning that the duties of an artist management company and a label are somewhat different, but both exciting.
“As a label, Show Dog deals with more of the creative aspects of the industry—signing artists, songwriting, marketing and A & R (Artist and Repertoire),” Bolton says. “The reason I was so anxious to land an internship position here is because A & R is a facet of the industry in which I am very interested. A & R is in charge of finding new talent, listening to demo CDs for songs an artist may want to pick up and very heavily networking with the songwriters and ‘creative’ persons in the industry.”
Spending CentreTerm at a music label has allowed Bolton to experience the wide array of opportunities in the music business, from office work to scouting singers in a city with one of the most vibrant music scenes in the country.
“At Show Dog, I more or less act as the receptionist, so I have daily office tasks as you may expect—although, I don't know if mailing guitars signed by Toby Keith is all that normal for a receptionist in a typical office!” Bolton says. “However, many days after work, I go out to shows, which many of Nashville’s A&R teams and label presidents also attend, and listen to potential new talent. Interns at Show Dog are also a part of any awards shows or special events that are held, so although I haven’t experienced any of those opportunities yet, I look forward to them possibly happening.”
Although she is new to the Nashville music scene, Bolton is already well-known in the Centre community for her music, as a member of the Kentucky Music Ensemble and the group MP. Bolton appreciates how her experiences have given her insight into both the performance and industrial sides of music.
“In working with MP, I’ve had the opportunity to involve myself with lots of aspects of the music-making process, including writing, recording, mixing and live performance. This internship has taught me about the other side of the table: it’s shown me the intricate process the music must go through before it reaches the masses. Contrary to popular belief, making it as a musician does not just happen magically. Similar to any other business, there are a lot of steppingstones before the final product can exist. As a musician, learning this side of the industry is not only interesting, but incredibly useful, particularly if I ever decide to truly pursue my own musical work.
“With all of my experience with music, I have learned that my passion for music lies within both the business side of music as well as with the creative side,” Bolton continues. “A&R is a position in the industry that very perfectly straddles the business and creative/musical line and fits my interests and abilities.”
Bolton acknowledges Centre’s Career Services office for helping her find an internship tailored to her interests and potential career goals.
“We are so fortunate to have such an excellent team in Career Services. Having these sorts of opportunities stems from what they do,” says Bolton. “The folks at Career Services provide us with the tools to make them happen by working with our resumes and cover letters, our interview skills and our contacts. Their promptness and their personal touch are what make these real world challenges not so intimidating.”
With CentreTerm coming to an end, Bolton is already excited about putting what she learned at her internship with Show Dog to good work.
“The experiences I have had this CentreTerm, and this past summer at TKO, are incredible and are certainly advantageous towards my future endeavors in this industry,” Bolton says. “The ability to gain opportunities such as these is just another reason why I am so proud to be a Centre College Colonel.”