Showcasing Professionals in Live Music: Interview with Paige Newman, Business Development Specialist

The main idea behind this interview series was to offer my support to live music crews during the industry blackout. As part of the interviews, I also wanted to introduce different roles in live music and touring, in case my readers are considering this industry as a career and wondering what role would fit them the best.

Just like with many other people I’ve interviewed, the thing that connected me with Paige was different industry meetings and conferences. These events not only offer education through different sessions and keynotes but also a relaxed platform for networking and meeting new people.

Paige stood out by representing the exciting area of live music of fire and bombs, aka the pyro and special effects industry. She takes pride in her work by creating long-lasting customer relationships through happy customers. Paige’s customers not only get epic shows but also her respect and love for people.

If you like fireworks, flames, lasers, and confetti, you’ll love this interview! When it comes to networking, Paige also has some great tips on how succeed in meeting the right people, now during the pandemic and when the shows go on again.

This is Paige’s story.

Paige Newman
Paige Newman. Photo credit: victoriagoldphotography

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

I started out as a Show Producer / Account Executive for the first few years of my employment in Special Effects, but in January 2020 I moved in Business Development exclusively. This shifted me from managing the production side of things to concentrating purely on new clients and opportunities.

Business Development can be best explained as a person who utilizes his or her networking and prospecting skills to earn the business of clients seeking services and products I represent. I develop meaningful relationships that turn into long standing, happy clients by providing the best customer service from the start!

For my most recent role in particular, the services and products offered include lasers, pyro, confetti, and fireworks. Most clients have been people I have connected with over the years and have earned their trust, but I also have the pleasure of meeting new prospects and earning their loyalty and confidence!

A typical day for me would be going down to the rehearsal studios to visit industry friends and meet new people. Also, check to see if any of my industry friends are in town on tour and I can grab a quick lunch with them and catch up on business and life. That’s the prospecting side in a nutshell. Just keeping “in the know” of what’s going on and meeting new awesome people!

As far as working shows myself, any shows I have happening at local venues like the Hollywood Palladium I would help out with from Load In to Load Out. I felt this made me more knowledgable building the gear / pyro / confetti / cables, more confident dealing with Fire Marshalls, safety and permitting, as well as just made me a better asset to my company. Of course, all the while, enjoying every second of building a show leading to an epic execution as a team!

How did you end up working as a Business Development Specialist? 

I started working in the industry by interning in the summer at PRG back when I was attending UCSB and had the summers free. From getting my feet wet there in the industry, I started building relationships with just about everyone I could. There is a saying my dad always used “Always treat everyone with respect as you never know who could end up being your boss at some point!” The one who is sweeping the floors in the warehouse when you first start in the business could be the next Tour Manager, Production Manager or Artist Manager making the decision on whether or not they want to engage in business with you.

As soon as I graduated from UCSB at 21, I fell into the opportunity to go out on the road with Aerosmith in 2012 as a VIP / Meet & Greet Rep. Following that I fell into working for CID Entertainment, working various VIP gigs all over So Cal.

Then I wanted to settle down into a 9-5 job that didnt have me traveling as much which is where I landed my job at my first special effects company. From there, I learned I didn’t want to just sit in an office and do paperwork, I wanted to do what my dad did, be an account executive. This meant to engage with prospective clients and earn their business by supplying SFX on upcoming tours. It was the scariest leap I had made thus far, but quickly learned THIS is where my passion lied. I love people, and being involved with projects from start to finish, made my heart so happy. Going to the first week of rehearsals of the tour and witnessing the first show of the tour makes my heart explode and reminds me why I work so hard and push myself outside my comfort level.

Paige Newman
Paige Newman. Photo credit: victoriagoldphotography

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

The best thing about my work is that I get to work with truly the most talented, passionate humans in the world who love their jobs equally as much as I do! We all work together to create the best show and we come together as a working family to execute epic productions!

The hardest challenge is that I am a serious people pleaser and if anything goes wrong on a show site or if there is a malfunction during a live show, I am the first one to get the call and manage the issue. On a positive note, this rarely happens, and when it does, handling everything rationally and without emotion is something I’ve learned over the years. There’s always a solution, you just have to be calm, review everything and find it. Client’s happiness is above all, the most important thing!

How is the Coronavirus affecting you and your work?

I am temporarily laid off however there is no certainty as to when I will be “re-hired”. I am about to go into maternity leave for my first child, of which I will be ready to go back to work in August working remotely.

The entire music industry’s well being has been rocked and there are no signs as to when everything will resume… I am an optimist nonetheless, so with all the incredibly creative individuals in this business, the virtual events and drive-ins being worked on will boost morale until we can operate at normal capacities again.

What’s your best survival tip for fellow people in the industry in this situation?

There are tons of free Zoom meetings going on at the moment by various industry leaders that teach Tour Management 101, Production Management 101, Audio and Lighting Lesson and other industry topics. This is a great opportunity to learn and connect with legends in the business, so ultimately, when music events resume you’ll have newly acquired knowledge and connections!

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

I’m on Instagram as PyroPaige and Facebook Paige Phillips (Formerly Paige Newman) and am happy to connect with anyone to answer any questions about my journey in the music industry or life in general.

Wanna read more interviews with live music professionals? Click here

Current news about the live music industry:

Rolling Stone: Without Federal Aid, More than 1,000 U.S. Music Venues Are in Danger of Closing

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