How Joy Hom Moved to Dallas with Nothing and Built a Successful Career in the Music Business
Being a box office attendant may have been Joy Hom's foot in the door of the music business, but that doesn't mean it was an easy stepping stone. It takes a music fan dedicated enough to still be sober at the end of the night to do things like...totaling dollar figures. Who wants to have to worry about such daytime affairs, at night during a kickass show?
If you hit The Door in Deep Ellum for shows, you might recognize Hom's face. She worked just about every station in that venue while paying her dues, but when the dust settled, she ended up kicking ass in music management. Now, on the eve of packing her bags and chasing the next music career move, she's found herself in high demand, and at shows happening all over the country, for her live event ninja skills.
So, it was quite a sequence of events for you that led up to you settling in at The Door in Deep Ellum to really start gaining your experience in music scene work, yes? The Door wasn't exactly where you were trying to end up?
I attended school at the University of Missouri. I moved back to Dallas to take an internship at Geffen Records. I was green and eager to take the internship so I could crush it 'til I was the next big A&R Exec or something equally awesome. I had the dream completely planned out. It was a huge surprise when my transfer school wouldn't approve of my intern opportunity, and therefore I could not take it.
My dream was shattered, or so I thought. That lit a fire in me that I had to prove myself. So I started looking for leads in Dallas just to stay engaged with the scene. After many weeks of searching, I stumbled across a Deep Ellum venue called The Door. I emailed them and actually heard the token "why don't you come in for a chat, we don't really have any positions open, but we're happy to speak with you" statement. I went to the venue and met the GM. We chatted for a bit and then a band trying to load in interrupted our conversation. Randomly, it was a national tour where I actually knew a few people on the bill. The GM took notice of my connection to the scene and soon after that night I was in rotation on the schedule.
But you still had to work your way from the ground up in the club, right?
I wore many hats and eventually became assistant manager. The get-things-done attitude is how you stick around in this business. If you don't do that, someone else will come around that can do it better. That proved pretty valuable to me as I eventually started doing A&R/ talent scouting for a management company and label in LA. I had developed an ear and a network of artists through the years that have since become quite recognized. As I looked at my life and the plans set before me, I was stoked to be living out my dream. But life has a way of switching things up on you. After a few runs at tour managing, working to develop artists and their brands, and even some work with a social media music discovery platform, I eventually I ended up walking away from the music industry altogether.
Understandable! But what was your particular reason?
I needed to find myself and remember why I loved it all to begin with. Not the typical answer you'd expect to get, but it's what happened. I spent time in the beauty and fashion industry. I had a really solid run there. As irony would have it, I ended up working with artists on shoots, TV, film/videos. I collided with the music industry again, only this time, I had a different attitude. I no longer wanted to prove myself to the world. Instead I wanted to just be me and work hard to make things successful. After some friends called me in to help with a few events, I realized I can't avoid this industry.
A good friend of mine, that replaced me at The Door, asked me to come work a festival with her. I ended up working the event and went from her assistant to the box office manager. Not because I was so legit, but because someone was needed to step up, so I did. Soon after that experience, I was called in to manage box offices at other events in the country. I got a few festivals under my belt and continued to work hard and stay positive despite the intense schedules and large amount of responsibility I had acquired.
My story isn't the typical, but then again I'm pretty unconventional in general so when people ask me how I got from a teenage volunteer street team music lover to an operations lead for music festivals, I simply say it was an undeniable combo of random destiny and crazy hustle. Every job/gig I had, I put my all into it. I don't have the perfect formula of what you need to study or where you should get your foot in the door, but I will say that once your foot is in any door don't waste your time, make the most of it. You won't regret it.
Inspiring! So you said you're moving up to management for a festival production company?
This year I'm moving to Denver and working as the Internal Operations Manager at MCP Presents.
What's been the most difficult part of working in that field for you?
The most difficult part of working in the entertainment field for me has been misconceptions and possibly the lack of sleep. There are days onsite that taking a 20 minute power nap is a luxury and the highlight of your day.
Does that hard pace pay off on payday?
A lot people think that this industry is big money and extremely glamorous.But the majority of us don't do this for the money or the "perks." It's more about doing what we love with the people we respect. And that is worth a sleepless night every now and then.
So, beyond the labor love and the peer respect, what are the biggest rewards/payoffs for you personally?
My favorite part of the job is seeing it all come together. Festivals are like giant puzzles. There are so many pieces that have to fit together so specifically that when the dust settles and the event kicks off... it's the best feeling and view.
Getting to stand back and really take in all that hard work...
Yes, definitely some proud mama bear moments. This past fall, I was doing crew management at Dreamville for TomorrowWorld. I stood up on a hill and looked out over all of Dreamville, the camping area with the main stage and a killer sunset in the background. The sight was stunning; all the tents, scenery, stages, sky and crowds of people uniting from all over the world under a blanket of sound. It's an undeniable sight, seeing all your sleepless nights create that image in front of you.
What first sparked your interest in music as a kid?
I got into music pretty early on. It's the thing that brings my family and I together to have fun and goof off. Like most families we have our opinions and aren't afraid to challenge one another, but music always unites us and some of my favorite memories are dancing around the living room with the family or catching my siblings getting lost in a song and belting out notes thinking no one was around... #priceless. Going to concerts with them is always fun. Music really and truly inspires me. So something that makes me better and involves my family, I'm gonna totally love! Haha. Total music junkie.
When did your music fandom evolve into a more serious direction? School?
As I was wrapping up high school, I realized that it wasn't just a little something I enjoyed. It was my passion... I started hunting down opportunities and embracing the idea of my future in music and entertainment. While I attended school at the University of Missouri, my hobby for attending shows and networking had started to pay off. I went from a street team liaison for venues and labels to being offered an internship at Geffen Records.
What artists are especially important to you locally? Local shows that stand out?
I'm in a singer/songwriter place locally. I'm biased because I love my friend and writing partner Aaron Long. I also enjoy Mozez The Great. As far as shows, the family and I had quite a dance party at Lights All Night during A-Trak and Kaskade.It almost lived up to the staff dance party at TomorrowWorld during Diplo's set. DJ Fishr Pryce is my local fave. I love that guy.
So you said you came from a music family. Were there family outings to concerts?
My first was Duran Duran with my whole family.
We still talk about how dorky we were at this show. I think this was the first fangirl moment for my sister when she got a Duran Duran bumper sticker. I can't believe I'm admitting this now, but I was jealous. Shh... she doesn't know.
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