Most advertising students dream of having an amazing job opportunity, working for a huge brand, like Nike or Coca-Cola, or even getting the chance to work with celebrities. This summer, TAI student Nicki Fletcher had that opportunity. Fletcher is an Advertising major on the Creative track, and this past summer she had the opportunity to intern on tour with Steven Tyler and the Loving Mary Band.
Steven Tyler and Loving Mary Band interviewing for a radio show.
While visiting her mother in Maui last Christmas, Fletcher met Kari Smith and Marti Frederiksen, the band manager and lead singer of the Loving Mary Band. Fletcher has always dreamed of working in the music industry, the same industry in which her mother works, and meeting Smith and Frederiksen gave her the perfect opportunity to break in.
“I had told Kari and Marti that I was interested in working in the music industry,” Fletcher said. “And they said if there’s ever an opportunity we’ll let you know. Then not too long after that they contacted me and said ‘We’re going on tour this summer, do you want to come? You can be the tour intern and learn the whole business.’”
Fletcher started working with the Loving Mary Band in May at CMA Fest in Nashville, where she was then given the opportunity to go along with them on tour during the summer. On July 1, Fletcher headed off on a month-long journey living on tour with famous musicians.
Loving Mary Tour promotion created by Nicki Fletcher.
While on tour, Fletcher worked as an assistant to the musicians, as well as running the Loving Mary Band social media accounts, creating promotional graphics for the band and tour, and helping run band merchandise. A typical day for Fletcher involved starting work around 11am, making sure the bus was ready to go and everything was in place. She would get to the venue, which mostly consisted of large theaters, around 2-3pm and start working on sound checks and other miscellaneous preparations. After the concert was over, she would help bring VIP guests backstage and then pack up the bus to head to the next city, not staying in a single city for more than four days.
“I did a lot of flyers and promotional pieces that went out on Loving Mary’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and website,” Fletcher said. “I helped with merchandise for the band mainly, so I learned a lot in the way of managing all of that. We did that through shows, at the venues, at the big concerts, and at Loving Mary’s smaller concerts and through the website. It was a lot of learning how to manage all of those parts and pieces too.”
Fletcher used many of the skills she’d learned from her participation in Ad Team, as well as advertising classes she has taken at SMU, while on tour. Going into the job she already knew the importance of keeping a campaign consistent, an important skill she attributes to her time on Ad Team. She also knew the importance of planning ahead and being detail-oriented, which helped her as she was preparing content that would be viewed by thousands of people.
Fletcher also learned valuable new lessons through this opportunity.
“You get thrown into this crazy world of rock-and-roll musicians,” Fletcher said. “And it’s so important to have professionalism no matter what the industry is. Even if it is an entertainment industry where the people around you, like the fans, are super excited all the time.” She learned how to balance staying focused and professional with taking the time to enjoy the amazing experiences she was having.
On top of that, Fletcher got to spend a lot of time with Steven Tyler.
“We’d be in the city, and we’d all go and have a family day and go and do something together,” Fletcher said. “He’s a really fun person to be around. He’s really sweet. He really just loves the band so much, and he’d get on our bus in the middle of the night and hang out or he’d ride with us from place to place.”
The view from backstage at one of the concerts while Fletcher was on tour.
Her favorite memories from the internship involve the contrast between the “calm, beautiful morning” and “playing a show at a huge sold out concert venue” that night. Although she really enjoyed visiting Northern and Southern California, Canada, Seattle, Boston, and New York, one of her favorite shows was a corporate event at an outdoor venue in Minnesota.
After the amazing experience Fletcher had, she wants to encourage her fellow classmates to reach for amazing opportunities as well.
“Don’t be afraid to ask,” Fletcher said. “Always use your resources, ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to take a crazy chance. You can learn a lot from something that is so unconventional.”