WE ARE THE KIDS NYC INTERNSHIPS FEATURE #6
Featured: Bianca Ortega
I spent the summer and fall semesters of 2012 living and interning in New York City! While the fall semester was facilitated through my university, I went ahead and moved to NYC independently for the summer months prior to the start of my school’s NYC study away program, Belmont East. I interned at Photo Finish Records and GoMerch for the summer, and for the fall semester, I interned at Atlantic Records.
1. Where are you originally from? Why did you choose to move to NYC?
I’m originally from Orlando, FL, and I currently attend Belmont University in Nashville, TN. While I’m very appreciative of the music industry opportunities I’ve had in Nashville, I’ve always had a long list of NYC-based record labels and management companies that I wanted to intern with. When I chose to attend Belmont, the school’s semester-long NYC internship program, Belmont East, was a major selling point, and I knew from day one that I wanted to participate in the program. In an attempt to maximize my time in NYC, I moved there several months before the program began in August 2012. Overall, when I think of the major music cities that I can see myself living and working in, I’ve always envisioned myself living in NYC as opposed to Los Angeles and Nashville. This experience was a test-run for me to see if NYC could in fact be a potential home after graduation.
2. If you are in school, and moved to the city for an internship, how did you figure out your living situation and expenses?
My university’s program provides students with the opportunity to live and intern in NYC for an entire semester. To participate in the program, students are required to pay a $3,500 program fee in addition to the price of tuition. At my school, this program fee is equivalent to what you would spend on student housing, and since the program fee included housing, the only additional costs I incurred were food and transportation. Food and transportation are much more expensive in NYC than most other areas, so I did find myself having to budget as much as possible. However, this time in NYC had been planned since my freshman year, so my parents and I had been working to save accordingly. As for the summer semester, I arranged student housing through NYU, which also cost around $3,500 for dorm style housing, gym access, and utilities. My parents paid for the housing in installments leading up to my move-in date, and the housing cost was very similar to what I would have paid if I had chose to spend the summer interning in Nashville. Overall, the biggest financial challenge I faced was paying for subway fare, food, and fun activities like concerts and festivals.
3. How did you find your internship or work in NYC? Talk a little about your experience, and why it helped that you were/are working in NYC.
I enjoyed all of my internships in NYC and I believe each one was a valuable for different reasons. Personally, I was most excited that all of my internships focused on artists in the pop, rock, urban, and alternative genres rather than country and Christian genres, which are the major focus of most Nashville-based companies. I was so excited to work for artists that had sparked my interest in the industry in the first place, so I finally found myself truly happy with the work I was doing, whether it was completing a menial task or facilitating a long-term project. The other major component of my internship experiences was the opportunity to spend time in a larger business environment. The offices of NYC-based labels are far larger than anything I’d ever experienced in Nashville and it was a great way to learn more about the different departments and the roles they play in artists’ careers. Finally, I think I am most grateful that I was able to adapt to working and living in such a fast-paced environment. NYC is so fast-paced and stressful in comparison to Nashville, so after living in NYC for six months, I came out of that time knowing that I could easily settle into the daily grind of 12-hour workdays and a constant hustle.
4. If you are not living in NYC anymore, was it worth it? What did you get out of your experience, and would you do it again?
My experience in NYC was definitely worth it, and I wouldn’t trade it! I gained a higher level of independence, developed thick skin, and connected with numerous industry professionals throughout the city. Now that I have seen how much NYC has to offer, I’m hopeful that I will be able to move back to the city and make it my home after graduation. My experience really helped realize that there is just much going in NYC in terms of business. From labels to radio stations to TV stations to marketing agencies, there’s not only a lot of entertainment related companies but also a wide variety of companies of all industries. There’s so much to do in the city and there are a great variety of free or low-cost events to entertain yourself in your spare time. I don’t know that I would want to live in NYC when I’m married and with a family, but I definitely believe it’s a great place to spend your young adult years when you’re just starting out in the entertainment industry!
-Bianca would be more than happy to answer questions through her twitter or personal website!