EL Student Profile: Jessica Dewberry
Monday, October 22, 2018
A few months ago, third-year advertising major Jessica Dewberry took a huge risk and moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue her dream of working in the music industry. A student in UGA’s Music Business Certificate Program, Jessica landed a radio and marketing internship at Capitol Christian Music Group, a record label under Universal Music Group, that will pave her way to success beyond the arch.
Jessica’s visit to Nashville as a young child drove her desire to work and live in the Music City, but not knowing anyone there was a little intimidating. But she knew it was one of the best places to solidify her position in the music business.
“I wanted to do something music [and something] in Nashville,” Jessica said. “Those were the two things I knew I wanted to do, and so it just started with Google searching…then cold calling.”
Jessica put herself out there during her job search process, going through a list of companies’ online contact information, pitching herself as a creditable and capable music business student while inquiring about available internship positions. Recognizing the competitive nature of the industry, Jessica braced herself for any and all answers.
“They’ll tell you yes, maybe or no,” she said. “You just kind of have to roll with the punches with that.”
She worked hard to get an internship, persistently following up with dozens of companies even if that meant facing rejection.
Jessica turned in her application to Capitol Christian Music Group and was thrilled to hear back from them the next day. After a couple of phone interviews with different members of the company, Jessica was hired less than a month after she had applied. She hit it off with each person she spoke to from Capitol Christian Music Group and was ecstatic to be offered the position.
“None of the other internships I was entertaining mattered,” she said. “Capitol CMG was where I wanted to be.”
When Jessica accepted her position, it was already late spring, and she had to quickly get all of the details in place. She searched for potential roommates through Facebook and found a mutual friend from Auburn who was a perfect match. Then came the cost. How was she going to afford this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? She couldn’t let her lack of funds be a deterrent to her dreams.
When Jessica realized just how costly living in a big city could be, she worried that her dream might not be possible. That’s when she found out about the Experiential Learning Scholarship from one of her friends at UGA.
“I [found out about the scholarship] the week that it was due,” Jessica said. “At the drop of a hat, I wrote the essay and I got a recommendation from David Barbe, the Music Business Program Director.”
Two weeks later, she received the news that she’d been awarded the scholarship. With the financial burden of the move behind her, she was finally free to pursue her dreams.
“It just all fell into place perfectly at the right time and it was just a blessing,” she said.
With the details ironed out and her bags packed, Jessica was still apprehensive about starting her internship.
“When I first started thinking about joining music business, that was always something in the back of my mind that I was worried about, is knowing it’s kind of male dominated and knowing that there aren’t many women in the workplace,” she said.
But on her first day at Capitol Christian Music Group, she was pleasantly surprised to find that not only were a large majority of her coworkers female, but her two department bosses were women as well.
“My radio department boss is only two years older than me and was in the same spot as I was, doing an internship, and ended up with a full-time position there. She was really able to help me…that experience being fresh on her mind, knowing some of my insecurities…going into the music business. And they were just super encouraging the whole time,” Jessica said.
Her coworkers set a precedent as mentors and role models, treating people with respect in both the workplace and the industry. With much debate surrounding artists’ rights and pressures put on them to succeed, Jessica was thrilled to find that Capitol Christian Music Group employees prioritize the needs of their artists.
“That’s one of their core values at Capitol CMG…they’re always just for the artist and, obviously, they’re spreading the gospel through music,” she said. “They’re never going to pressure their artists into something that they don’t want.”
Spending her summer around such positive influences solidified Jessica’s desire to work in the music industry, and maybe even live in Nashville.
“It’s pretty much set in stone that I want to do something music business,” she said. “That’s my biggest passion, that’s where my heart lies. I’m just so ready to get into the industry and learn as much as I can. So, while I’m in my classes, I’m always thinking about how I can apply it to music business.”
As an advertising major, she tries to apply her assignments and projects to music in whatever ways possible, whether that means creating a mock ad for a record store, or researching advertising trends in music. She’s also been able to apply her newly acquired industry skills in the UGA student-run club, Vinyl Biscuit, where she helps provide label services for student musicians.
Jessica fell in love with Nashville and found amazing coworkers and mentors who taught her how to trust herself and others, and showed her that hard work really does pay off.
“As long as you have the passion there, the hard work, dedication, it’s going to work out,” she said. “You’re going to be where you’re supposed to be.”
As Jessica continues her third year at UGA, she’s already started thinking about positions for next summer. Her experiential learning internship ignited an excitement for the music industry that can’t be gained in the classroom, and she’s eager to get back into the workforce and gain as much experience as possible before graduation.
Story by Anna Lee, Video by Jaime Conlan, © 2019 UGA Office of Instruction
The University of Georgia is the largest public university in the nation to require each of its approximately 28,0000 undergraduate students to engage in experiential learning prior to graduation. The Experiential Learning scholarship is open to undergraduate students, including transfer students with at least one semester of UGA coursework who are pursuing experiential learning courses or non-credit activities aligned with the UGA Experiential Learning Requirement. These include UGA-approved study abroad and domestic field schools; service-learning courses; internships for academic credit; faculty-mentored research through CURO; and other hands-on learning opportunities.
More info about the scholarship and how to apply: el.uga.edu/resources