Seven Questions with Paola Palazzo, Senior Director of Talent for Nederlander Concerts
Paola Palazzo is the Senior Director of Talent for Nederlander Concerts
Today's subject is Paola Palazzo.
Paola books and promotes concerts for all exclusively promoted Nederlander venues, including The Greek Theatre, Grove of Anaheim, Pantages Theatre as well as third party facilities in California, Arizona and Nevada. A 20 year veteran of the music industry, Paola has previously worked for House of Blues Concerts, where she booked talent for the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and venues across the West Coast, and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) where she served as a music agent.
Paola, who says she'd "love to book either Metallica or Aerosmith at the Greek," took some time out from her busy schedule to exchange emails with LAist to talk music business, her venues, the upcoming summer concert season and her awesome job.
1) How have the changes in the music industry, with more acts turning to touring rather than relying on album sales, impacted your job?
I’m definitely busier! But it’s great. It’s exciting to have so many great artists touring this summer. There is something for everyone! I’ve been lucky at the Greek Theatre we’ve been host to many artists of all types of genres and styles. We cater to all musical diversities and offer something special for everyone in the community. However, there is one particular concern I have. With album sales down and labels pulling back, fewer new artists are going to be able to grow their audiences as in earlier decades because there seems to be a lack of artist development on the label side. What will the situation be in the next 5 years? At Nederlander we specialize in the mid size venues which enable most artists an opportunity to play and grow into the next level like the Greek, Santa Barbara Bowl, San Jose Civic, Pantages and our club the Grove of Anaheim.
2) What was the first big show or success that you had while booking for Nederlander?
I started at Nederlander in 2007 and that summer was a banner year for us. We had many multiple shows with Arcade Fire, Beastie Boys, Snow Patrol, and The Fray. All those shows were exciting, but I have to say both Arcade Fire and the Beastie Boys were successes both personally and professionally. I’ve been a fan of both acts and was so thrilled to have them at the Greek, and with The Beastie Boys I had booked them when I was at Gibson Amphitheatre so for me it was a double dose.
3) Is there a show coming up this summer that you booked that you are particularly excited about?
I’m excited about all of them, but there are a few that haven't been announced yet that I’m particularly keen on.
Is there one show on your schedule that you think might be a little under the radar that you think is going to be great?
Can I list 4? Neko Case with Jason Lytle, Andrew Bird with Ra Ra Riot and Heartless Bastards, Elvis Costello with Lucinda Williams, and Monsters of Folk with Conor Oberst, Jim James and M Ward.
4) What do you love about your job? What do you not love about your job?
I have the best job! I’ve been fortunate in my 20 year career to work with amazing artists, managers, agents, and promoters. I was on the agent side for 11 years and on the promoter side now for 5 years and I love it. I get to be involved with some legendary and important artists and see some pretty fantastic developing bands on our stage.
What don’t I love? Well there are moments that I miss being an agent. I often miss the artist development side and being more hands on with their careers.
5) What are you looking for in an act?
Someone who sells tickets, of course! Seriously though, at the Greek this year we’ve implemented a new camouflage system which allows us to scale the venue down to 2900 up to our full capacity of 5900. So I look for artists that are meaningful, relevant, and important on many levels from those who can sell full capacity to those may not be able to sell the full capacity but still allow them an opportunity to play the Greek.
6) Has the job had any effect on your desire to go and see live music in your leisure time? Are there any venues besides your own that you really enjoy going to? What's the best show you've ever seen?
If anything its enhanced it. I love to go see music anytime. I don’t look at my position at Nederlander as a job. So I’m not jaded to think I’m above going to see a live show. I never think of it as work and I enjoy it. I still get excited to see new artists, and to see my favorites perform when they roll into LA.
My top 3 venues in Los Angeles besides the Greek are the Hollywood Bowl, the Henry Fonda Theatre, and the Troubadour. My first time seeing Radiohead was at the Troubadour and that was an experience I will never forget.
My all time favorite venue is Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver. That place is magical!
I’ve been fortunate to have seen quite a few epic shows, but one recently that stands out is Radiohead at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
7) For someone who is interested in a job similar to yours, what advice can you offer?
Well, this isn’t a job you go to university and get a degree for. I have a BA in Journalism and I ended up at CAA and became a music agent and then transitioned to buyer. My advice: You definitely need to have patience and perseverance and believe in what you’re booking and the artists you want to work with, work hard and pay your dues, and do not have an attitude of entitlement. That will turn people off very quickly. Be respectful of those you are working with this is a business of relationships. Also, this is a career that you really need to have passion for and it shows if you’re in it for the wrong reasons i.e. to hang with the band. Don’t be swayed by trends. A great song is timeless as is an artist. Trust your gut instincts.