Dylan Silbermann shares some great information in this interview about his experience at Columbia and beyond. A success story for an aspiring music business manager in Los Angeles, Dylan is with Primary Wave in A&R of the publishing division. He stresses the importance of collaboration, a core value of Columbia, and others characteristics of a successful experience at Columbia College Chicago.
What degree did you earn from Columbia? When did you graduate?
I earned a BA in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management in 2010, studying music business management with a concentration in music production.
What is your current job and how did you get there?
I do A&R at Primary Wave’s Publishing division, working closely with songwriters, producers & artists in Los Angeles. Our roster has written for Zedd, Jessie J, Chris Brown, Tinashe, G-Eazy, Rihanna, and others. I have also spent the last 2 1/2 years in our company’s management division, and have worked closely with songwriters Ali Tamposi (Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce), Jenna Andrews (Drake, Jessie J), Printz Board (DJ Mustard, Selena Gomez), artist Trevor Jackson (Atlantic Records), and a few others. I continue to work with our songwriter/producer management roster. On that end, I’m lucky to continue working with some extremely talented people, and we’ve landed cuts with Kelly Clarkson, Fifth Harmony, Jason Derulo, Rachel Platten, and others. I actually started at Primary Wave as the office manager/front desk position, which was my first job out of Columbia. I also write & produce too, and play guitar for LA-based artist NoMBe, who is incredible. I urge everybody reading this to check him out, as he has serious buzz on him at the moment.
What field are you working in?
It really narrows down to the “song world.” I love working with great songwriters/producers and listening to new material everyday. I’ve had the chance to work such amazing artists at this point on the management side of things, and the coolest thing is that all of the touring opportunities, branding opportunities, etc, are still dependent on amazing music. So at the end of the day, an artist’s career is only ever as strong as their songs and catalog. When you spend time in the artist manager role you really understand how, even if the live performance, marketing, and fan base are in place – it can still be that one incredible record that really moves the needle on the project.
How did the business program at Columbia prepare you for what you do now?
I think the biggest part of my experience was the culture. Everybody at Columbia is so focused on their craft, and the students are all so ready to get their careers started, that they don’t really wait for “real life” to start in the way that most college students do. A big influence on me at this time was my adjunct professor, Kosine of the production duo Da Internz. He was my professor right when Da Internz started taking off, and he would be flying back and forth from LA and telling us about his sessions. It made “making it in LA” feel much more tangible, and that hard work really can pay off. I also remember when I was looking at schools, I felt it was so important to learn from people who were actually having success in their field. For Kosine to be flying back and forth from LA telling us about his meetings, his sessions, and just the overall struggle — it really prepared us in a great way.
What was your most valuable Columbia experience?
I think just being around such talented people. I loved seeing friends or students that I knew go on to have success. I have lived in LA for 5 years, and the culture of the creative community is really similar. You can have a budding video director who needs an amazing new artist to work with. Or a producer who links up with the right songwriter, and it can be this amazing pairing. I saw a lot of those kinds of collaborations at Columbia, and the school has a great way of encouraging this.