Growing up surrounded by music, it was as clear as a summer day in the California desert that Lauren Mele would wind up working in with it in one way or another. Her dad introduced her to the melodies of The Beatles and the dance moves of ABBA, while her grandpa’s way with guitar inspired her to pick it up for herself. While she could’ve found a career in the publicist realm back east, she was drawn out west thanks to a picturesque scene she stumbled upon on MTV one day. Plus, some of her favorite bands from the ‘90s all called the Golden State home; Sublime, No Doubt and Everclear. You’ll soon find out about the exact moment she decided to leave Pennsylvania and chase her California dreams. You’ll also get some sound advice on dealing with divas in the industry and much more with one of CO5’s best.
Kendra: At what age did you decide that yeah, music has to be my career and nothing else will ever suffice?
Lauren Mele: After attending my first concert at age 10 (No Doubt). I begged my parents to take me. I was hooked on music, especially live music. It’s a feeling like no other.
Kendra: Did music bring you from Pennsylvania to LA?
Lauren: Music was definitely one of the biggest reasons that I made the move from Pennsylvania to LA. I remember walking to class while attending Penn State, trudging through about a foot of snow in single digit temperatures, listening to my iPod and making a final decision to make the move to LA after graduation. And I did just that — shortly after graduating I packed up my car and drove west, hoping for the best. After a few job interviews I was lucky enough to land an entry level position in the music department at a top PR agency. Eight years later I’ve experienced more than I could have ever dreamed of, working with some of the bands that I grew up listening to including Sublime (with Rome), Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Steve Miller Band, Joan Jett and others.
Kendra: Did you ever encounter any prejudices being a woman in music?
Lauren: Luckily I haven’t. It can be intimidating at first, for sure, as a young female entering the fast paced music industry. But after working several projects and events I learned that there were plenty of smart, strong and independent women making a name for themselves in the industry.
Kendra: Being a self-proclaimed “music nerd,” what’s the one thing you geek out about the most? Is it record releases, liner notes, instruments, what?
Lauren: Live shows. Hands down. The feeling you get when you’re waiting for the show to start, everyone is getting excited, the anticipation and buildup…then the house lights go down and everyone screams as the band walks on stage. That first note hits…and immediately the energy in the room shifts. There is nothing else like it.
Kendra: You’ve worked for a number of companies over the years. What did you learn from them that helped get you to where you are now at CO5?
Lauren: I’ve learned that you should take every experience as an opportunity to learn. It may sound cliche, but I’ve found it to be very true. Every event, client, project — no matter how big or small — can be a catalyst for future endeavors, relationships and friendships. Maybe it’s the journalist you met while on the red carpet, the manager you worked with during a certain band’s album release campaign or the show you happened to stumble into on a random Thursday night. Get out and meet people, network and discover new artists.
Kendra: PR has a lot of great aspects, but it isn’t always the best. Do you have advice for those who may encounter divas when it comes to this line of work?
Lauren: Keep your head up and be persistent. Not every person will be a fan of the music you are working, but as long as you are passionate and believe in the project, you’ll be able to take it to the next level.
Kendra: Do you think you’ll ever head into another aspect of the industry in the future?
Lauren: You never know. Luckily with my job I get to experience different aspects of the industry — events, concerts, video shoots, travel — so I can say that for right now I’m pretty content, but I wouldn’t rule out exploring other areas of the industry.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape for a young woman studying Communications somewhere in the world to make it through her last year and finals, what five songs would have to be on it?
Lauren: Ah, too many favorites to name but here is a playlist based on what I’ve been listening to lately:
“One Of These Nights” – The Eagles
“California Nights” – Best Coast
“Valkyrie” – Battle Tapes
“Woman” – Litany ft. Appleby
“Love Somebody” – St. Lucia