"Life Has A Funny Way of Working Itself Out" - Tour Manager, A&R and Artist Manager Aaryn Deal's Story
Life has a funny way of working itself out. If you would have told me when I was a young girl that I would grow up to have my dream job and work for some of my favorite bands I would not have believed you. But here I am, sitting in a van with 8 other people driving down the West Coast to get to our next venue. It may not be glamourous, but I would not trade it for anything in the world.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my Dad and I going through all of his old records and sharing new music with one another. My life quickly became consumed with finding new artist and spending all my money on every show that came through town. I always dreamed about working in this industry, but being from a small rural town in North Carolina I never thought about it being a possibility. I ended up going to William Peace University in Raleigh, NC where I studied Business Adminstration. After graduating I decided it was time to find a “real job” and start making good money. However, I constantly struggled with the idea of being stuck in a corporate job that I hated for the rest of my life.
I worked at a bar at the time, and became very good friends with a girl who worked there. I didn’t know it at the time, but she would become the reason that I am here today. One day as we were talking about my job hunt, she asked me what I really wanted to do with my life and I told her I wanted to be in the music industry. It’s such a hard industry to get into and I had no idea how to go about it. She then told me about her brother, Shawn Milke. Shawn is the singer of the band Alesana, and founder of Revival Recordings. She mentioned that he was looking for tour managers for a few of his newly signed bands, and she said she would put in a good word for me. After many emails, and interviews I finally got the job and headed out for my first tour with the band The Things They Carried.
I had never done anything like this before, and I was absolutely terrified. But I was determined to work hard and learn as much as I could. Shawn warned me when I got hired that being a female on the road might be tough and that there may be a lot of people who think I do not belong, but I was lucky enough to have him and his band, Alesana, to help me along the way. He was right, being a female on tour is a lot different than it is for men, but that does not mean we are any less capable of doing the job. I have heard tons of horror stories about what some women in the industry have to deal with, but I have been extremely lucky to have worked with some amazing bands, who have been nothing but respectful.
I have not been in this industry very long, but since my first tour I have grown so much. I have worked my way up to being the head tour manager for Alesana and Famous Last Words, Vice President of A&R at Revival Recordings, and artist manager for four up and coming bands through 307 Artist Management. I am so thankful for Shawn for being such a great mentor, and giving me all of these opportunities to explore so many different sides of the industry. He has built an amazing team of people around all of these projects, and I am honored to work with such a passionate group. I still have a lot to learn but I hope to continue to make a name for myself as a hard working woman in this industry.
Keep up with Aaryn on Instagram at @aaryn_ashley and Revival Recordings on their Instgram page, @revivalrecordings.