This spotlight is on Areli Castro, a graduate of the Independent Artist program at Musicians Institute, who has landed her first industry job as an Executive Assistant at Hopeless Records. Areli chatted with The Mix about the internship program, her music projects, and how MI students can take advantage of their resources on campus.
Which skill or skills (that you learned at MI) helped you most in landing this job?
I think the networking skills, visual media skills and overall knowledge of the music industry that I gained from MI helped me the most when applying for this job.
What was the process you took to get the original internship?
I joined the internship elective program during my last two quarters at MI and from there Carolann (Mota, Internship coordinator) sent my resume to Hopeless Records and I was lucky enough to get chosen for an interview. I really believe I would not have gotten the internship had it not been for Carolann advocating on my behalf.
What are your other aspirations in the music business?
I have many aspirations for my career. I want to eventually be an artist, songwriter and creative director. I want to continue working on my own music throughout 2020 and playing more shows, while also building my career on the business side of the industry. I think the two sides of my career really feed each other and help me grow. I could not feel as passionate about my job if I didn’t have my creative outlet and I would not be as professional or calculated about my artistry if it weren’t for my job in the industry.
What can you tell us about the Accessibility Internship Program at Hopeless Records?
This is a program that focuses on giving students with disabilities the opportunity to gain job experience and learn about the music industry. We believe that all students should have equal access to the opportunities that an internship brings no matter their physical restrictions. We also understand how difficult and overwhelming it can be for a person with disabilities to enter the workforce, so we want to do all we can to give them this learning experience. This is an issue that is very close to our hearts, as our EVP of A&R has spina bifida and [Hopeless Records’] president is visually impaired. We know there is a lack of job opportunities for disabled people and we want to do something about it. This program is designed to prepare students to enter the job market and have the confidence that they can do anything they are passionate about.
What advice do you give to current MI students looking for their first gigs in music?
My greatest piece of advice for students starting out would be to say “Yes!” Say yes to every opportunity, every inspiration, every passing thought. Even if it doesn’t seem worth it, or like you wont be able to do it, just say yes and figure it out later. That is how I have gotten my most amazing opportunities, my job, and my best gigs. The greatest things happen when you least expect them to…One of my favorite quotes is “Luck favors the prepared” because as much as the music industry is a game of luck, luck means nothing if you aren’t ready for success.
What projects are you working on next?
I am currently working on my band KiNG MALA’s second single (which will be released in early 2020,) along with our next music video, upcoming shows and planning a summer tour. We recently released our debut single, “Hurricane,” along with a music video and we have been so excited about the response, so we want to continue to work on making better music and content for the future. I am also working on moving into the promotions department of my company so I have been learning about that side of the industry which has been so fascinating and exciting.