Hobby leads to career in the music business

Hobby leads to career in the music business
Ashley Gonzalez

There are times in life when we think we have it all figured out, and we are on a path to do one thing or become one thing, and then something comes along to steer us in a different direction. Sometimes the change happens quickly, or sometimes it happens slowly over the course of time and we find ourselves eventually at a crossroads.

Pre-med student Ashley Gonzalez found herself in similar circumstances during her time as an undergraduate at the University of Miami (UM).

“My plan was to graduate from UM with a medical degree and stay in Miami to practice medicine,” Gonzalez said. “And then while I was taking all the pre-med classes and the requirements, I decided to find a hobby that would ease my mind from the grueling course load.”

Born and raised in the South Miami area, Ashley attended Epiphany Catholic School from preschool through eighth grade and went to high school at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. When it came time to decide on a college, her mind was set on staying in Miami.

“All throughout high school I loved music and I enjoyed going to shows and concerts,” Gonzalez said. “So when I was exploring a hobby in college, I decided to work at WVUM, the UM college radio station, well known in the Miami music community.”

While attending school and studying for the MCAT, Ashley started working for the station and eventually climbed her way up the ladder at WVUM. Soon she became the promotions director for the station and held the role for her final two years as an undergraduate at UM.

“During that time I became heavily involved in the music scene and I enjoyed going to shows at music venues like Bardot and Grand Central,” Gonzalez said. “The Miami music community is a small intimate group, so by attending shows at the same venues I became familiar with the players and the music spaces, and I started an internship with a company that allowed me to work on concerts and events. From that moment on I was in love.”

Those who love what they do say that work doesn’t feel like work, and every facet of the job, even the tricky menial tasks become a lot easier. During Gonzalez’s time at the radio station and through her internship, she started to think seriously about her options in the music industry, all while still maintaining her heavy pre-med course load.

“At the end of my junior year, I decided that if this is something that I really want to do and if I find something that offered job security and the ability to mix business with this incredible music community and the industry at large, then why not,” Gonzalez explained.

Fast forward to today, Ashley is a music talent agent and a star on the rise with William Morris Endeavor Agency (WME) in New York City and has now been with the company for just over four years.

“During my senior year in 2014 at UM, I began submitting my resume for positions in the music industry and I applied for a role with WME out of their Los Angeles office,” Gonzalez said. “I had a few interviews and on the night before graduation day, I was offered the position, and the rest is history.

“I was offered what is referred to as a mailroom position, a very entry-level role, and it was on you to climb your way up,” she said. “So a week after graduation I packed everything up and moved to LA, without knowing anyone or even where I was going to live.”

Gonzalez worked in Los Angeles for two years in the mailroom and just after three months she was promoted to the assistant for the head of the hip hop department. She was then offered an opportunity to move cross country to New York City, to continue as an assistant but help build out the Latin music department. Soon after the move to NYC, Gonzalez was promoted to be an agent in the Music Department of WME.

“Assisting the Latin music department was an opportunity to differentiate myself and carve a lane that had never been built out before,” Gonzalez explained. “And when I was promoted to agent, I was then able to build out my roster and a client list of my choosing to include not only Latin, but Contemporary Rock, Pop, and R&B.

“It was exciting for me because I’m from Miami and Latin music is like the soundtrack of Miami,” Gonzalez said. “Latin music, reggaeton and Spanish music as a whole, you are surrounded by it and I listened to it every day growing up.”

With a full year now under her belt as an agent at WME, Ashley has grown and curated her roster of musical clients to include artists like St. Vincent, Kali Uchis, Cazzu, Tainy, Empress Of and Jehnny Beth.

Gonzalez often travels home to Miami when she gets time to escape New York and enjoys stopping by her favorite food spots and spending time with her family members who reside in Pinecrest.

“When I get the chance to go home, I appreciate it so much more for the culture and how tightly knit the community is, especially in South Miami,” Gonzalez said. “I try to not stay away too long or else I will lose what I like to call my Miami edge. And when home, I always try to hit up my cherished food spots, like Roasters ‘N Toasters for brunch, Havana Harry’s for my Cuban fix and my guilty pleasure Pollo Tropical.”

When reflecting on her decision to pursue the music industry over the medical field, she has no regrets.

“It wasn’t easy, and it has been a lot of hard work, but it is so gratifying to see your client get up on the stage and see them perform, knowing that behind the scenes you have been working tirelessly to get this tour together or get this special show together,” Gonzalez said.

“The only thing I could bet on was myself, and I bet I could make something out of this passion of mine, and I did.”

For more information on the William Morris Endeavor Agency, visit wmeagency.com.

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