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.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alan Ayo