The Daily Iowan

Kick-starting a career booking big names in music

UI student Savannah Lane gains professional experience at Blue Moose and SCOPE in leadership positions.

Photo+by+Vivian+Le
Photo by Vivian Le

Photo by Vivian Le

Photo by Vivian Le

Philip Runia, Arts Reporter

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For many students of the arts, holding a job in college tends to take away from their career aspirations, studies, social calendar and sanity.

Some students may work near their desired field or have an internship or student organization that gives them a sample of what it is like to be immersed in the business of film, music, or theater.

However, few students ever get hands-on job experience before leaving school and entering the arts workforce. University of Iowa junior Savannah Lane collects experience and joy while in the duplicitous, demanding roles of “student” and “music professional.”

On various nights at Blue Moose, clamoring masses crowd around the stage that Lane has prepared with an up-and-coming artist or local performer. Building a professional reputation at a young age can be intimidating, but she has built hers with the professionalism of those twice her age and the fresh, insightful eyes of a prodigy, thriving all the while.

As the booking manager at Blue Moose, Lane handles professional responsibility with relish, jamming to the artist she’s booked along with the audience.

Lane’s relationship with music began long before her involvement with the business side of the field. In a ritual with her father, Lane attended shows starting at age 10. She said music was almost always playing at home, and when it wasn’t, there was always a show to attend.

“It’s everything to me,” she said. “It’s what I want to do with my life, the first job or industry that I thought about going into and felt right about.”

In high school, Lane interned at Wooly’s, a performance venue in her hometown of Des Moines, then moved to work in the box office for Nitefall on the River, a summer music festival. During the festival, Lane heard about SCOPE, a UI student organization, and decided to join upon her arrival on campus. After one year at SCOPE, Lane applied to be the talent-buyer for SCOPE and was successful.

“I wasn’t going to apply for the position because I was not a junior or a senior,” Lane said. “I was worried that I wouldn’t make it in the music industry because I’m not super creative.”

As the new talent-buyer, Lane’s first show booking was Saint Motel and VÉRITÉ for the 2017 Homecoming. It went off without a hitch. This year’s show will be Lizzo, an alternative hip-hop artist.

The summer following Lane’s success, the manager from her former internship at Wooly’s mentioned an opening at Blue Moose as a booking manager. After a productive meeting among the managers of Wooly’s and Blue Moose, Lane joined the professional industry as Blue Moose’s booking manager, and now, she books an average of a show per week.

“After Wooly’s, everything kind of just snowballed into more opportunities,” Lane said. “I’m a big proponent of saying yes to everything that comes my way, because why not?”

After accepting that opportunity, Lane was left to her dealing, but as a student, her identity became somewhat of a hindrance. Balancing everything between her professional life and her life as a student has been difficult, but not merely in just completing homework. As a student, business professionals sometimes treat her differently from other professionals.

“It’s hard to get people to take me seriously sometimes doing what I do,” she said. “It’s balancing and being extra professional that gets people to take me seriously because of my age.”

Although Lane may be at a disadvantage because of her age, she doesn’t let that get in her head. Her brand is to look like she works with music, to dress artsy but casual, and to speak with kindness in between bites of avocado toast.

In the music industry, all agents deal differently, and their levels of respect and kindness vary. As a young professional, Lane regards those above and around her with respect and admiration, setting expectations upon herself.

“I have a mantra that influences my whole aesthetic,” she said. “Take no sh*t, do no harm.”

Standing up for herself is trademark, but being personable and making valuable connections has guided her. She plans to continue her time with SCOPE and Blue Moose and then move into the music industry, tackling new opportunities.

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