Showcasing Professionals in Live Music: Interview with Andrea Espinoza, Tour Manager

Every time Espinoza opens her mouth you think to yourself: “How does she know so much?”. It’s because she has progressed through multiple roles in the industry and worked hard to get to where she is now.

I met Espinoza at the Tour Link Pro conference in 2019. Just like with Anjel Lopez (read her interview here), I reconnected with her a year later at the Women in Touring Summit in Los Angeles. We have continued keeping contact through the Women in Touring Mentorship Program that Espinoza is running successfully. She was kind enough to say yes to my interview request during a Zoom call that was organized for peer support to check up on women in the program and how they were dealing with the industry blackout. A simple but pretty amazing gesture this call, wasn’t it?

Espinoza is a true superwoman. Even if she has been tour managing for only (I say only because I know from experience that every day on the road is different and you can never learn too much as a tour manager) a little over a year she’s by no means a rookie. Her extensive knowledge stems from all the cumulative experience she has in live music and touring.

Espinoza’s well-rounded experience in touring is a good example of how roadies often progress in their careers. You start from one role and end up with another one that you either did or didn’t plan. Even if tour management doesn’t require technical skills per se it is very beneficial to have at least an understanding of everything that is happening in production, as well. Espinoza, however, has way more than just an understanding.

This is Espinoza’s story.

With the Audio Locals from the KFC YUM Center
With the Audio Locals from the KFC YUM Center after load out finished. Photo credit: Andrea Espinoza

Hi Espinoza! What do you do in the music industry?

For a little over a year now I’ve been Tour Managing. As a TM I make sure the artist, band, and sometimes crew have everything they need to do their respective jobs, as well as making sure everyone is happy, healthy, and safe.

Prior to that I was in Audio for 8 years where I worked my way up to a Monitor Engineer position. Afterwards I moved into Automation, Carpentry, a bit of Video, Production Coordinating, and Production Management.

How did you end up working as a Tour Manager? 

Since college I knew I wanted to work in the live music industry, and more specifically that I wanted to get paid to travel the world and listen to good music. With a background in audio the dream was to be a top-notch Monitor Engineer or so I thought…

Now I could tell you all the places and the point As to Bs, but when I look back at my journey I realized that how I ended up where I am now is because I made a series of decisions and then sorted the details from there. What I found is that absolutely nothing goes to plan, however, it usually works out better than expected. Prime example it took me leaving the audio company I was working for to land my first Monitor gig when the entire time I thought that company was the way to get me there.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to know the how, set your mind on a goal and work towards it. Some of the most beautiful career experiences can happen when you make a decision and let life unfold before you.

What is the best thing about your work and on the other hand, the biggest challenge?

The best thing about what I do is the travel aspect because of the people that I am fortunate enough to spend that time traveling with, and more specifically the conversations I get to have with people. I fall in love on a daily basis. The fact that I may never see someone again makes me appreciate our interactions that much more.

Crew hang in Squamish BC for a day off
Crew hang in Squamish BC for a day off. Photo credit: Andrea Espinoza

The biggest challenge is staying physically fit and eating healthy on the road for sure. I’m usually the first one up and the last to go to sleep so finding time for myself to prioritize my health after a long day takes a little extra effort.

How is the Coronavirus affecting you and your work?

The virus has really forced me to adapt, really dig out my life’s nunchuckers. I was in the midst of planning our Asia run, taking care of visas when the virus hit, and everything came to an immediate standstill. Followed by the falling dominos that were all our upcoming events for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, on a break last year I picked up an additional source of income as a financial advisor, so I’m not stressing work wise. However, this was definitely a reminder to stay nimble, never get too comfortable, and to diversify my streams of income. On the mental front it’s been great, I don’t know that I will ever have this amount of time off from the road without having to worry about my next gig. Albeit it tiny one, but that feeling is a breath of fresh air.

Your best survival tip for fellow people in the industry in this situation?

My best tip would be to stay grounded. There is so much that you can be fearful about right now. I find it important to remind myself of the bare essentials – I wake up every day, I have food to eat, and a roof over my head. I say start there and next find your tribe of support.

Then when you can breathe, PIVOT. We don’t know when touring will come back to life, so start thinking of new sources of income. To that effect, don’t sell yourself short! Our skills are transferable, and we are far more capable than we sometimes give ourselves credit for.

2015 David Byrne Audio Crew
2015 David Byrne Audio Crew. Photo credit: Andrea Espinoza

Feel free to promote yourself and your services, how people can find you on social media, how they can help, etc.

People can find me on Instagram @ajayespinoza or Facebook as Andrea Espinoza. I also do free financial consultations and lessons as well as intuitive consulting. Feel free to reach out anytime.

Current news about the live music industry: Rolling Stone: More Than 800 Music Venues Join Together to Ask Congressional Leaders for Aid

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