Alum breaks into music industry
2011 alumnus Josh Johnson said he has always had a passion for music, both in production and promotional aspects. It’s always been a given, he said, that the music industry was where he wanted to be.
Johnson began working as a DJ in college and said he remembers when the go-to tracks were by Nelly and 50 Cent. Today, he still DJs under his alias “Madera,” but he is also an assistant publicist for Katy Perry.
After an internship with EMI Music, Johnson received an assistant publicist position at Capitol Music Group. His direct boss is the publicist for Katy Perry. By night, Johnson is a freelance DJ/producer working with up-and-coming artists like electro-pop band Dragonette.
A typical day for Johnson begins at Capitol Music Group in New York City. Nine publicists work for the company. Their clients range from pop artists like Katy Perry to electronic artists like Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta.
“A lot of my work is keeping track of all [Katy Perry’s] stuff,” Johnson said. “Her TV appearances, magazine covers, etcetera, etcetera.”
After finishing his day job, Johnson said he goes to work producing remixes in the studio. The work, Johnson said, is tough and competitive. But so far it has been rewarding.
“Publicity is cool, but it’s my dream to be able to develop and help artists become influential,” Johnson said. “So as a producer you can do that and as a publicist you can do that. It’s just wherever I guess I feel the most comfortably creative. So I guess right now that’s in production.”
Johnson said that although the long days can be a grind, it’s worth it when you’re doing something that you love.
“I’m working 16 hours a day,” Johnson said. “This is my break, around 8 p.m. Then I go back to work at night and then I go to bed and then it’s all over again.”
Johnson said that his time he spent as an electronic media and film major was especially important because it taught him the beginnings of what it would mean to work in the music industry.
In particular, this meant the amount of hard work that it takes.
“[The EMF department] helped me. I learned a lot on my own but they helped me build a foundation for everything,” Johnson said.