Sara Schlievert is either always working or never working. It’s tough to tell. Her days and nights consist of going to concerts, listening to music and introducing people to up-and-coming bands. And she gets paid for it.
“I would be doing all of this anyway,” said Schlievert, a music industry major and one of this year’s salutatorians. “But now I realize I can make a career out of it.”
At 22, Schlievert is already well versed in the music industry. A lifelong music buff, she spent her youth playing the piano and mixing music for her high school dance team. Growing up in Minneapolis, she was involved in the city’s music scene, attending concerts and helping promote local bands.
Today, Schlievert is an assistant to music supervisor Allan Mason, the man behind the music in such films as Bandits and Father of the Bride, and is an artist and repertoire (A&R) consultant for Atlantic Records, where she scouts out new artists for the label.
And she does this all while juggling her USC coursework.
Schlievert certainly got lucky when she made the decision to come to USC. As an undeclared freshman, she first learned of the USC Thornton School of Music’s music industry major from someone living in her freshman dorm.
“I didn’t even realize you could major in music industry,” she said.
But it turned out to be a perfect fit for Schlievert and during her four years at USC, she was a major force in the university’s music scene.
Every Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. she introduced KSCR listeners to emerging bands through her radio program On the Verge. As the radio station’s program director, she also coordinated all of the scheduling and shows, in addition to planning special programming and deciding when new DJs were ready to go on-air. She also served on USC’s concert committee, where she helped organize shows such as Springfest and the annual welcome back and homecoming concerts.
Schlievert’s major and her connections in the music industry have opened many doors for her. After her sophomore year of college, she flew to New York to attend a training session with Atlantic’s A&R staff. Among the youngest attendees, she listened to panels of managers, lawyers and other industry heavyweights and even got to visit the studio of the multi-platinum music producer David Bendeth. She also has scoped out new artists at the annual South by Southwest conference in Texas for the past three years.
What’s next? Schlievert wants to continue working in A&R, doing what she loves.
“Going to shows and listening to new bands definitely never gets old,” she said.
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