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Columbia College Chicago
Thaddeus E. Ray

Thaddeus E. Ray

Thaddeus E. Ray

Thaddeus E. Ray - Business & Entrepreneurship Alumnus - Music Business

Thaddeus E. Ray found his passion for working in the music business after seeing how involved his younger brother was producing music and working with recording artists. Thaddeus always had an interest in starting a business that managed artists and music producer’s careers. Columbia College Chicago helped start this venture by teaching him to draft a business plan for an artist management and development company Resilience Entertainment Management, LLC.

While in the Business and Entrepreneurship department Thaddeus landed an internship with a small indie label Aneelys Records in 2009 (Started by Grammy Nominated R&B and Pop artist Syleena Johnson). In 2010 he applied and was chosen to intern with Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records in New York City. There he interned in their Artist Development and Tour Marketing department. Thaddeus graduated from Columbia College Chicago in the Spring of 2010 with a degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management with a concentration in Music Business & Talent Management.

Visit his blog site Artist Development and Entertainment Management: http://thaddeusray.blogspot.com

How have the arts, entertainment or media been involved in your career since gradating?

After graduation I have remained focused on how I could use the academic skills I obtained in the Business and Entrepreneurship department in an entrepreneurial setting. Columbia gave me the know-how to survive in the self-employed world of the arts. When I left Columbia all I could think about was how I could build my own business and involve others who could help the business grow to help people in the entertainment industry.

How did Columbia and the Business and Entrepreneurship program prepare you for your career path?

Columbia prepared me for my career path by showing me that the power was within me. I took an Arts Entrepreneurship course in the Business and Entrepreneurship department at Columbia under the direction of former Arts Entrepreneurship professor Ms. Nicole Orendain and she didn’t let anything slip through the cracks. We had to develop business plans for a business that we were interested in building. My plan happened to be for an artist development and management company. We identified every aspect of the business plan and how important it was to have a sound one.  That experience has had a great impact on my development and now I am a business owner because of that experience.

Have you crossed paths with any other Columbia alumni? 

I have several friends that I have come in contact with since my days at Columbia. One happens to be a successful artist manager who recently had an artist signed to a major record label. One other friend is working at a talent agency in New York City and is doing very well. I also have a friend who is a recording artist in New York City and I am currently developing him under my artist management and development company.

What's your favorite Columbia memory?

One of my favorite Columbia memories was when I entered into the Mr. and Mrs. Entrepreneur pageant that the Business and Entrepreneurship department organized. That pageant really showed me how unprepared I was for presenting a business idea to potential investors and future clients. What I got out of the experience was seeing how others who were ether runner-ups or winners of the pageant conducted their presentations and what I need to focus on for the next time.

Any advice for current students? 

I advise that they involve themselves in the curriculum heavily. Take the material seriously and ask your professor lots of questions.  I would advise them that internships are very important in learning about different aspects of the industry they want to work in.  They unlock a lot of answers and give you a good incite on where you want to be in the future.