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Candid Conversation with New Orleans Bawse: Taran Cornejo

On this week's highlight, I am beyond elated to be featuring someone I have looked up to since starting this music journey. Taran Cornejo is one of the bawse women in New Orleans linked with AEG Presents, BUKU Music & Arts Festival, Winter Circle Productions and the resident momager for sfam. I had the pleasure of working under her while promoting in New Orleans for Winter Circle as well continuing on with BUKU Music & Arts Festival in the New York/New Jersey region. She is one of the hardest working, kindest and open-hearted people I have had the pleasure of meeting on this crazy music journey. Take a look at what we talked about below!

Hello Taran, I am so excited to have you here today. Please introduce yourself to the readers!  How did you get your start in the industry? 

My friend was an ambassador for WCP and helped run their street teams. He needed some help so he made a FB post asking for help on his team. I had no idea who tUnE-yArDs was at the time but I was willing to listen & learn because I was eager to get my hands on something, even though I had no idea what I was doing at the time, just knew that I loved music my whole life so this seemed cool. That was in May of 2014 and since then there’s been a ton of flyering, volunteering, and random gigs all over and now here we are. Btw, incredible band and it was a great sold out show :)

Have you had any pushback being in your position at Winter Circle and also as a manager?

I’ve definitely had a few people be a little negative about it in my artist’s earlier days but I just had to ignore it. If anything, the boys will tell you, as well as my coworkers, that I’ve held them back from many gigs previously because I didn’t want people to think that the reason they were playing was because of who I am/my position. They’ve earned everything they have and my role as their manager comes first, we only play in NOLA when it makes sense for us as an artist.

You wear many hats within the industry. I know the stress can be overwhelming at times and can definitely weigh down mental health, how do you cope or deal with these stresses? 

I’d like to be able to say I have a list of things I do to cope but if I’m being 100% honest here, it’s something I’ve struggled with over the last year or so. I find myself sometimes coming home after work on a Friday and not leaving my house or speaking to anyone until it’s time for work again Monday. The stress of it all - having to be so social, on social media, working full time and management can definitely be overwhelming; I’m still figuring out how to deal with it. Part of me thinks a therapist would probably help, but haven’t worked up the courage for that yet. Part of me takes on more work when I’m stressed because if I stay focused and grinding, the anxiety goes away for a bit oddly enough. Can’t believe I told you all that but trying to be as candid as possible, it’s not always rainbows and smiles like social media makes it seem.  I am making more trips to see my family, trying to go on more walks and see the sunshine and take a night off every now and then to remember what it’s like just to hang out with friends, no music talk at all. I also like to go to shows alone where no one knows me so I can actually enjoy the music and don’t get sucked into talking biz. I also really love to cook these days. Just trying to be better about making the time for things I like to do, even when it feels like there’s not enough hours in the day.

Being female in this industry has become a larger discussion within recent years, what is your take on it and do you have any advice for young women trying to break into this male-dominated industry?

I’ve definitely had a few instances that really made my blood boil because of how I was treated. I think women are making great strides in this industry although we’ve got a long way to go to be seriously treated as equals, I’ve at least seen some progress. For now, a lot of us still get the “she only got this job or this far because...” My advice would be to hustle until your work speaks so loudly you can’t be ignored, and don’t let it get to you when people repeatedly call you “sir” or “man” in an email. I love the look on people’s faces when they meet me IRL and realize the person they’ve been working with and saying “hey man” to for a year is in fact a female. Luckily, I work in a space with coworkers that lift me up and am apart of a great group of women paving the way, shout-out to all my Nap Girls.

What are exciting new ventures coming up personally or with your artist?

sfam’s had a crazy year so far and we’re working on even bigger 2020, not much I can say but I’m extremely excited to see where the next year takes us! I’ve thought about taking on another mgmt client as there are a couple people I truly believe I could help develop, but that takes a lot of time out to do so I need to make sure I’m prepared for that commitment before I can [say] yes. As far as my personal endeavors, I’m not really 100% sure what’s in store for my career, working on figuring out what that next level may be for me. I am feeling more confident than ever in my performance and really love being a part of AEG Presents, but also really loving management, so I’m just gonna grind away at this upcoming year.  And of course, BUKU will be here before you know it ;)

Lastly, what is one lesson that you have learned that you feel is important for readers to hear? 

Never stop learning, be hungry. Don’t settle, complacency is dangerous.

sfam family photo at BUKU Music & Arts Festival

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