Ali Hussain – AEMM Graduate – Music Business
Ali Hussain graduated from Columbia in 2011 with a degree in Music Business. While at Columbia he worked with local bands as well as having several internships in the music industry.
Tell us about your life after Columbia.
During the summer of 2010, I participated in the Semester in LA (SILA) program for AEMM Music Business. After finishing that I knew I wanted to come back out to LA and try to find work, but the biggest lesson I learned from SILA was that I needed internship experience. After that, I did an unpaid internship somewhere in Chicago almost every semester, whether it was a venue, an artist management company, a recording studio, or just working with a local band. All of those internships were found through the resources Columbia offers for finding jobs and internships. Once I graduated in December, I took another unpaid internship in Huntington Beach, California with an independent record label called Fearless Records. It was a bummer that I couldn't find immediate work, but I realized that hardly anybody does right away. Also, it was pretty dope to intern for a label that is home to bands you love. I crashed with some of my cousins and transitioned to life in LA. After about 6 months of applying to jobs, sending emails, and networking, I got a full time job with a company called Music Reports doing copyright research. There was a ton of pressure to find a job within that window because if I didn't, I had to move back to Chicago. Columbia helped me stack my resume with internships as well as my degree. It was just up to me to email anyone and everyone and tell them who I was.
How did Columbia and AEMM prepare you for your career path?
The classes Music Publishing and the Legal Aspects of Art and Entertainment helped tremendously. Saving my PowerPoint notes from these classes was one of the smartest things I have ever done. Having an understanding of music publishing, royalties, performance rights organizations, and pretty much everything discussed in Music Publishing really came in handy. The reason I know anything about my job now is because of those classes. The Semester in LA really opened my eyes to the different opportunities in the music industry. Meeting all the different people we did showed me all the possible jobs California had to offer.
Any advice for current students?
I think the most common advice for students is to be involved. I wholeheartedly agree with that. Just seeing what my peers were doing outside of the classroom lit a fire under me to start doing stuff. I always felt like I was never doing enough. Also, a lot of students spend time networking with professors. I think the professors were some of the biggest factors in my success and enjoyment of Columbia. But I also think some of the best contacts I have made are with my own classmates and peers. Aside from my full time job here in LA, I also still manage bands in Chicago with colleagues who have graduated and are still attending Columbia. My last word of advice, always introduce yourself.