A New Home

A Q&A with Nicole Arruda

Nicole Arruda
Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, including your hometown and what drew you to The Hartt School.

I grew up in southern Rhode Island and was always involved in music. I played in band, was on a theater competition team, took vocal lessons, all that jazz. But through all that I realized that the behind-the-scenes stuff was really what I was more interested in. I loved setting everything up and all the work that went to putting on a show but found myself not really enjoying the actual performance aspect, so that's what drew me to music management. I wanted to stay close to home and there are few options for music business programs in the Northeast, which is what drew me to Hartt. I was originally between The Hartt school and a school in Manhattan and ended up choosing Hartt because I liked the idea of being on an actual campus and found myself choosing program over city–I never regretted that choice. I graduated this past May in 2019 and have since moved to Nashville. The support of my professors, especially Mehmet Dede and Gabe Herman, were amazing. Mehmet was actually very involved with Nashville during my senior year which led to some great opportunities for me to network here before graduating. 

Q: What were your involvements at The Hartt School?

I was a part of Delta Gamma since freshman year. I was also involved in Red Tail Records for most of my time in college. 

Q: What is your favorite memory created at Hartt?

Gabe Herman and Mehmet Dede started a yearly field trip to a different music market and that first year we took a day trip to New York. They set up meetings with some amazing industry folk including legendary promoter, Ron Delsener, at some amazing places like Live Nation and Lincoln Center. It was just amazing to get a close look at the industry we wanted to enter and to hear from such influential people. People were encouraged to bring resumes and collect business cards and to create actual connections. They made the trip personal and not just a "show-and-tell" type of thing. I believe one of the upperclassmen also landed an internship with Live Nation that summer. Every year those trips were some of my favorite times. This past year they planned a trip to Nashville and I was super excited to be able to meet some of the current students and to see that the program was growing so much to be doing such large trips. That was cancelled because, well, everything was canceled during COVID-19, so I'm hoping they are able to come next year! 

Q: What is your proudest Hartt accomplishment?

During my senior year my professor Mehmet connected me with some amazing industry folk in Nashville and I was able to come down and have some meetings with them during winter break. Through that I actually ended up being able to work as an assistant during the 2019 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville which was just a dream come true. That person has become a sort of mentor for me as I moved here and started my career. 

Q: What is your proudest post-Hartt accomplishment?

Landing my first job on my dream career path. 

Q: What are you up to now?

This is super exciting to me because I literally just got this job a week ago but I'm working full time in the music industry here in Nashville! About a week after graduation I moved here with nothing lined up but knowing I wanted to be in this major music city. I got connected with an internship at an artist management company, Triple 8 Management, which after a few months led me to my current full time position with AGD in the Zero to Sixty artist development program! While in school, make sure to constantly build your network and continue to make connections. And trust me, Gabe and Mehmet are the perfect place to start. 

Q: Is there anything else that you think we should know about you?

I literally moved to Nashville without much of a plan, with no family and very few friends here, and I am so happy I did. We're all in this industry because we want to have fun and we want to enjoy what we are doing. I say never let that go and never settle, not in this business. Lean on a small, tight-knit family like the PAM program and its professors and maximize every connection it gives you. Trust me, that small, tightly-packed program ended up making me stand out against all the other grads down here because it gave me a deeper, more personal, and different look at the industry.