Memorable moments in Artist Relations

After finishing my last post about how I got into Artist Relations, I thought about all of the wonderful moments I’ve been able to be a part of as a result of being in this job.   Other associates often remind me to look back at what I have done so far and believe me – I still pinch myself every time I think about it.  After all, I grew up wanting to be a part of this industry and now, it’s my job to work within it!

So I thought a bullet point format might work well for this.  I may add a few short comments, but most of them will speak for themselves:

  • My first show as an AR rep was to visit Slaughter at park West in Chicago.  The band we’re nice guys, invited me right up onstage to see their gear.
  • Taking a road trip to Summerfest in Milwaukee to visit Destiny’s Child.  I brought some Shure shirts with to swag the crew and Beyonce put one on when she arrive before soundcheck!
  • Many nights of hanging with one of the best photographers in the industry – Paul Natkin (
  • Attending many awards shows including The Grammy’s, the Academy of Country Music Awards, The Latin Grammy’s (the 2nd Annual was supposed to happen on Sept 11, 2001), the Country Music Awards, The Gospel Music Awards and the American Country Awards over the last 16+ years.
  • Traveling to Switzerland (my first time out of the US) for the Montreux Jazz Festival.
  • Seeing and meeting so many artists at the NAMM show each year.
  • Working with some artists since the beginning of their careers: Le Ann Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, Dierks Bentley, Korn and many more.
  • Meeting and working with legendary artists like The Pretenders, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Natalie Cole, Alison Krauss & Union Staion and The Who, to name a few.
  • Being tricked by Tony Iommi – I met him at a gig early on in my AR career with endorsement paperwork in hand.  After handing it to him he said “I need to look this over.” A half an hour later, he came back and said “I can’t sign this.”  My face went blank – I was speechless.  He said jokingly “You should see the look on your face…I signed it.”
  • Lobbying congress and the FCC on behalf of Shure to protect wireless products and the frequency spectrum they operate in.
  • Watching The Who do a 2 hour pre-show rehearsal at the Palace at Auburn Hills, MI a day before their show.  It was myself and 3 other people in an Arena.  Shortly after they finished we shot an ad with Pete and Roger.
  • Co-producing a Shure show for the National Sound Contractors Convention with Ed Thigpen and friends plus a 20 minute Blue Man Group set in the middle.
  • Many days and evenings of hanging/working with some of the best AR reps in the industry at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) and the Modern Drummer festivals over the last 16 years. (You all know who you are!)
  • At one of my previous bosses’ request, shaking Elton John’s hand after a sound check and thanking him on his choice of microphone.
  • Seeing and Meeting Cheap Trick for the first time (on the same night) at The Metro performing the album Heaven Tonight. Killer show!!
  • Coming up with a plan to open an AR office in Nashville and having that plan be accepted, put into action, and succeed beyond my expectations.
  • Visiting some amazing Nashville area studios like Dark Horse Recording, Blackbird Studios, and Ocean Way.
  • Having artists and engineers play me songs before anyone else gets to hear them and see them become hits.
  • Seeing Rufus & Chaka Khan in Nashville.  Great show – deepest groove/pocket I’ve ever heard live!
  • Shaking B.B. King’s hand and wishing him a Happy Birthday before a show in Chicago at The Riviera.
  • Working with drummers who I grew up following:  Dave Weckl, Peter Erskine, John “JR” Robinson, Simon Phillips, Ndugu Chancelor, and many more.
  • Arranging a group photoshoot with all the drummers listed above and a few others like Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Rod Morgenstein, and Trilok Gurtu.
  • Visiting the set of the movie “A Mighty Wind” to watch them shoot at scene that made it to the extra’s on the DVD. (it’s the music video scene with the large Lava Lamps)
  • Taking the guys in Spinal Tap over to the NAMM show floor for a quick tour. Then watching them perform for what has been the hippest NAMM show performance since.
  • Remembering several Grammy performances I saw on site: Aretha filling in for Andrea Bocelli singing a classical song, Alanis Morrisette signing “Uninvited” backed by a string orchestra, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”, several Lady Gaga performances, and The Beach Boys with Maroon 5 and Foster The People
  • Remembering all the great crew people behind the scenes at all of the awards shows who pull off major accomplishments to make these shows happen every year.
  • Right Place, Right time -Finding about The Civil Wars and reaching out to form a relationship. Seeing them rise to perform at The Grammy Awards in less than a year.
  • Hearing stories everyday from artists and engineers on how using Shure products have helped their careers and in some cases, changed their lives.
  • Having a family, both at Shure and at home to share these moments with.

I know there are a few that I’m forgetting but these stick out.  I am so thankful everyday to be working and be allowed to visit with so many great people in this industry.   I hope to be doing this a long time as I feel I was meant to do it.  I move forward, with anticipation of the next great moments.

And now…back to work.  I have to come up with questions for my Jason Mraz video interview next week.

Calling all Artist Relations reps!  What are some of your memorable moments?

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Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a Regional Manager of Artist Relations at the Shure office in Nashville, TN. He started at Shure in 1993 in Customer Service and joined the AR team in 1996. Ryan has over 30 years of performance experience playing drums and percussion in various groups and genres. In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, watching movies, videography, and camping with his family. His Twitter handle is @ryan_smith1969.

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