Blue Bandana Country had the privilege to interview many talented FEMALE singers in the country music industry in 2018; including Maggie Rose, Faren Rachels, Tenille Arts, etc. We are planning to continue this custom however we wanted to start 2019 with a twist; Back Pocket Talk – Industry.
With my background working in sports, anytime I attend an event I tend to look at the environment with a different eye. Sure, as a fan I can get mesmerized with the band on stage but most days, much like inspecting a working machine, I look to the other elements that make any kind of event work. From the sponsorship, the band alongside the singer, the equipment, sound stage and above all else the people on the sidelines.
In sports, the all-star athletes are the center stage of the publicity, fame and fortune. However, it takes more than just raw talent for them to get to that level.
As most know, especially in MUSIC it takes a devoted team to make an artist or band successful. These committed individuals put in A LOT of work behind the scenes. Some of this “work” includes sleepless weekends, hours of social media effort and traveling thousands of miles to ensure the musician(s) make it on stage for *sometimes*for a very short set. The list could go on and on with the duties the people behind the scenes accomplish.
Late summer 2018, my family and I were fortunate enough to catch Faren Rachels at a festival thrown in my hometown of Redding, California. Excited to share this memory with my mom and dad it was important to me to make sure they enjoyed the environment and the energy from anyone we encountered. As Faren finished her set, my mother was eager to meet her. It was there that our team was able to be introduced to Faren’s right hand go-to support, Randi McFadden.
Although the first encounter was short-lived, I quickly picked up on the fact that Randi was someone who was going to work her way up in music. It is rare to encounter a female out on the road with bands and how she handled the meet & greet with Faren & my mom, it was easy to see that she enjoyed her job.
Our Blue Bandana Country babes have been able to interact with Randi a handful of times since then and it was in January that we knew it would be brilliant to talk to her for a Back Pocket Talk!
Below is our correspondence regarding Randi’s current role, Nashville story and some of her super talented friends.
So read up, enjoy & listen to our playlist that we perfectly curated based on our chat.
Back Pocket Talk – Industry – Randi McFadden
MH: Everyone has a Nashville Story, tell us about yours?
RF: I did not know that everyone moves here for music. I genuinely did not know that music business was a thing!
I grew up in a small town in Illinois and I have always been a music fan but I have zero talent.
I came to Nashville to visit for 25th birthday and by the end of the weekend I had said to my best friend, I am moving here. At the time I lived in Chicago and my birthday was at the end of July. When I went back home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I felt here. It was and still is really hard feeling to explain.
I wish I could say that it was this long thought out process, but it really wasn’t. We had visited in July and then by New Years Eve I had moved with one friend. At that point we had not known anyone in town, and I could tell you I didn’t think back then that I would be working in music.
MH: Moved on a whim! Every millennial dreams of taking that risk. Did you have a plan for a job?
RF: I used to manage restaurants, so I knew I could show up and get a waitressing job. I generally do crazy stuff and before I try the crazy thing, I try to think of worst case scenario. Then I ask myself if that were to happen, would I still be okay? If the answer is going to be yes, I am going to do it.
It was the best decision of my life.
I think about it once a week that I can’t believe I made that decision with the least amount of thought.
MH: Was your family supportive?
RF: My dad, yes. My mom has always known me as the spontaneous child and my dad thinks I am cool. I am his wild child, oldest of four girls. From the get go I was his wild child and they were not surprised.
So I moved here, got a job at a bar and started making friends in music. Because the majority of my friends were songwriters, me and two friends thought it would be great idea if we started our own songwriter’s night; Threesome Thursdays at Pourhouse. It lasted for quite some time.
A lot of really great artists who are now the up and comers played. Faren play it multiple times as well. Looking back on it… we had a lot of people just starting out. Basically, it was us three making our friends play.
MH: So where did the “click” happen that you knew you wanted to work in music?
RF: I remember my friend had told me that normal people don’t know the same amount of things that I know in music. A song would come on the radio and I would know who wrote it and the story behind it. That same friend said why don’t you work in music? So with the launch of Threesome Thursdays and it going well, I knew this was big. This is what I want to do.
Then I knew a guy that needed someone to go on the road with him and he asked If I could help him one weekend. So I walked into work where I managed and said I can’t manage anymore and that I will be a waitress because I am going on the road. From that point I did whatever job I had to do.
I am going to work in Music.
From then on, just took any job that anyone would give me. I would work and take on anything. I wanted to learn everything.
Everyone always grew up knowing what they wanted to do and I had no idea. What I was good at was working in restaurants. I am glad I am not doing it anymore, but I did really enjoy my time in hospitality.
When I managed, I knew how to do every single job there, that is how I look at music.
One example is that I worked for Bradley Jordan – he’s a promoter down in Georgia for Peachtree Entertainment.
One of the best human beings that ever lived but I don’t want to be a promoter. Not my end game. But I wanted to know how it works. I wanted to know what they would need, and he showed me and really believed in me. I knew I needed to understand that side of the job.
MH: How did you and Faren Fall into place?
It all goes back, and I say this often… to Zebb. I literally owe him my life and career.
Nashville is a tiny town. Especially in the music world.
Everyone knows everyone. There is no escaping!
So Zebb and I had a lot of mutual friends. I had met Faren before, but I did not know her very well. One day when Georgia was playing Vanderbilt, we were invited to a tailgate. Everyone else went to the game because they are insane Bulldog fans. Football is their life.
Zebb and I didn’t really care and decided to go to Tin Roof. It was one of the first times we were hanging out and we sat upstairs. At that point I was still serving, he was selling cable and we sat and talked about how we are going to run this town someday.
He played me all of kinds of Faren songs, anytime she wrote a demo or anything he would play it for me.
Faren didn’t even know that.
My first official job working for any artists in an office during the week was for Muscadine Bloodline. I was their assistant and basically worked through all kinds of tasks for them. Then Riley Green came into the office one day and said “I need a Randi.” I said alright and I started to work with Riley as well.
Going back to our first Tin Roof conversation, Zebb had always told me when he got to a point where he would a have a spot for me, he was going to help me get a job with him.
As he worked his way up with River House Artists, one day Lynn (Founder/Owner of River House) said “I need someone for Faren that can do it all” and Zebb said…
“The only person I know that can do it is Randi.”
At that point I started working for all three; Riley Green, Muscadine Bloodline and Faren Rachels.
I was killing myself.
MH: Wow, what were those hours like?
I spent first half of my day with Muscadine Bloodline then come over to River House after 3 pm and then hit the road Thursday through Sunday either with Faren or Riley. I worked for Bradley whenever he called too.
MH: Damn that literally a full LIFE job!
At one point I was eating pre-workout to stay awake. Then luckily Lynn and Faren asked if I wanted to work full-time in June 2018. To which I still love Muscadine Bloodline and Riley but I needed the stability.
MH: As you get older you need to have a functional life and you can’t stretch yourself that thin with that many artists. Impressive you lasted as long as you could do so.
Exactly I knew I was not doing my job at a 100% and I am not a 50% type of person. I am definitely a 110% type of person and was excited to be able to do that with Faren.
MH: What is your title and what duties does it include in your current role at River House Artists.
I have two titles: First Day to Day Manager for Faren so that means I am “all things Faren.”
I know her schedule and know where she is all times. Sometimes she will text me and be like “Where am I supposed to be today?” I am in charge of all of her social media accounts. I really try to capture everything Faren and help her showcase that. Whenever she is being and wild and crazy, I capture it. I just want to make sure everyone knows how talented and funny she is.
MH: What does a Project Coordinator do?
A Project Coordinator is hard to define but basically it is the person who is between the label and the management and the artist. I am still very much in the learning aspect of this job. Paige who is at Sony calls this job title the “Get Shit Done Girl” which I like.
MH: Okay a fun question! If you could bring any band or duo back together, who would it be?
I had to think about this one but the middle school girl in me would love to see *NSYNC back together. Like the full group with Justin Timberlake as well. I know he is on tour and literally was just here in Nashville but I know would die over that.
Other than them, if I could bring some people back to life, I would say AC/DC or Led Zeppelin. Really any of the great rock bands!
MH: Industry Question: Game changing artists – Name three?
I really like this question because it is super important to how the Nashville music industry is changing, and it is a hard one so we talked about it at lunch. But I would say Chris Stapleton, Ashley McBryde and Luke Combs.
The three of them really created this understanding that you don’t have to fit a certain mold or need to have the look that labels would box people into before. People see themselves and their friends in those three. They see someone who would drink a beer with them, because honestly all of them would!
People really want to see someone they relate to and who is super talented.
Good music is good music no matter what; no matter gender or genre.
Chris has been around Nashville for years and only in the last handful of years has been a part of radio airplay and touring. His voice and talent is just undeniable.
Luke is doing things and breaking records that no one has done before. He relates to his fans on such a personal level more so than any other artist I’ve ever witnessed!!
Ashley was just nominated for a Grammy is bringing an entire new light to various females in country music. She is the definition of BADASS and when you watch her you feel how genuine she is!!
MH: Memory – You are fortunate enough to see quite a few performers over the past few years, especially living in Music City. What is one memory that stands out in your mind?
This was not too long ago but seeing Luke Combs at Whiskey Jam.
His first #1 song “Hurricane” was barely beginning to get radio play. At that time people around Nashville knew he was special but he had not been breaking ground yet. So there was a night in Nashville at Whiskey Jam where Luke came to play. As soon as he began the chords of Hurricane, the entire bar had every single person singing every single lyric.
As the bar is singing along, an older gentleman walked up to me and ask, “Hey is this guy famous, because everyone in here knows all the words to his songs!” I replied with a simple, “Not yet.”
It was one of those moments where you pinch yourself and go, I was there.
MH: Memory – I always love to ask this questions, when did you first fall in love with music?
I have always really loved music. I don’t remember a time I wasn’t obsessed with it.
Until I was 8 years old I didn’t know there was any other music besides country music and Michael Jackson. There is even this photo of me opening up the Michael Jackson cassette tape (my first cassette tape ever!) and hugging it in my arms because I was so excited about it.
I also remember where I was when Billy Ray Cyrus retired! I was in the backseat of my mom’s car when they said it over the radio and I remember feeling just utterly heartbroken!
MH: Top Recommendation of an “Off the Beaten Path” activity to do in Nashville
Come to Nashville during the week!
I really had to think a little bit about this one because people are always asking me what to do when they come to town. Sure, Broadway is always super fun and touristy but you are not going to get the real feel of Nashville without coming to events like Whiskey Jam on Monday or Tin Roof on Tuesdays. That is where you are going to see the upcoming talent and the amazing songwriters around town.
MH: 2019 Goal(s) – Career and Life
2019 is going to be a huge year!
I can’t wait to watch Jameson blow up! This guy is going to be huge as he goes on tour with Luke Combs! As he gains recognition from fans and grows up the ladder, I will be learning as much as I possibly can about the record label side of the music business.
I will say, my main goals for this year are with Faren. That girl is going to get her chance to really shine! She is incredibly talented, a force to be reckoned with and one of the most relatable women out there.
MH: Surrounded by so much music, I know this will be tough… but what are your favorite Song(s) and why?
This was the absolute hardest question to answer. It changes every day, probably a couple of times a day!
This song always hits me in the heart. I think of all the different versions of myself that I almost was and thank God every single day that he was smarter than me and put in a life I couldn’t have ever dreamed up!
When I was wrestling with the decision to leave Chicago for a town I didn’t know, this song was the game changer. I remember I spent over TWO HOURS (yes, HOURS) looking for parking outside of my apartment in Chicago one night and finally found a spot. Right as I put the car in park this song came on and I broke down in tears and thought I have to go, I have to get out of this city!
This may not be a name y’all know but you will! She is one of the best lyric writers I’ve ever known! Every day that she turns in a work tape I am just absolutely blown away. (She wrote a lot of Ashley McBryde’s first record).
MH: Voice of Reason – What to know when getting in the music industry?
This is not an easy job.
You are not going to make a ton of money and you are going to give up a lot of your free time. Hell, all of your time!
Some people really think it is just parties and having fun with artists but really it is a lot of hard work, long hours and selling your soul away. You will miss birthdays, weddings and events with your family. You will sleep in crappy hotels, go nights without sleep, and be told no so many more times than you ever imagined… but I wouldn’t trade it for any other job in the world. It is as part of who I am.
MH: Most inspirational female in life & career?
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of amazing females.
But first let me start off by talking about Lynn Oliver-Cline at River House Artists. If you aren’t aware of what she is up to in Nashville, you should look her up. She was awarded last year as one of Nashville’s Music Row’s Rising Women on the Row. She has had quite the career and then decided to launch her own company and was a big hand in the rise of Luke Combs. She is literally everything that I want to be and working with her I have already learned so much.
Other than Lynn, I have a group of extremely talented friends.
Obviously, I will mention Faren. I am so fortunate to interact with her daily. Capturing her funny moments for socials and getting to hear her songs before they even hit studio. She is someone who I have no doubt will be a success.
Alongside Faren is this amazing songwriter Nicolette Hayford (who I mentioned earlier). We like to say that she will bring the demons out of you, but generally Faren will describe that she really just helps bring out raw emotions that generally makes some great music.
Other females to mention is one of my best friends, Meghan Patrick. Who is a rising female in the US has been killing it in the Canada market the past few years. I would bet my entire career on that woman!
Also in our close-knit group of friends I have Caroline Rudolph, who has always been looking for a way to combine her love of fashion and passion for music.
She has managed to do that with the launch of her vintage lifestyle brand Not A Public Figure which also coincides with her artist management. (She currently manages Ian Munsick). Although Caroline is young she is one of the most brilliant girls I have become close with here.
I also get to share the office with Sophia Sansone. She has a lot of the same responsibilities as me on the Make Wake side. So its great to have someone to go to for advice or for her to come to me for advice!
Our group of females even has this group text “Bad Bitches.” In it we give each other advice, keep everyone posted on when and where everyone will be playing, or if we have a new single or video released. It’s really just a support group where we also make plans to drink!!!
MH: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I try not to plan this one too much. Because if you had asked me 10 years ago where I saw myself, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine this life the universe has put me in. So 10 years from now, I hope I’m living a life that I can’t even dream up right now.
However, I do know that I will be somewhere backstage watching Faren sell out arenas, with her number one songs, and looking at Zebb knowing we made it happen!
MH: This week, even today, what are you listening to?
If I am not listening to country and I am definitely listening to rock. If I opened my Apple Music up now it would probably be playing Bishop Gunn, Goodbye June, or AC/DC.
BBC Following: Randi is someone in the music business to keep an eye on. With her “get shit done” reputation and kick ass personality, she is a music professional that I know will continue to have success.
Although she implies that she is still in the beginning years of her music industry career, I was quickly inspired by her drive and work ethic to learn anything and everything about the business early on. Alongside this motivation, she is certainly in the best environment at River House Artists to cultivate a long and fulfilling career. Her day-to-day interactions with talent on stage and behind the scenes combined with her attitude, I have no doubt she will be a name to be known in Nashville.
Please indulge in our inspired playlist as well as follow Randi online to see all of her future adventures and endeavours.
Randi – thank you for taking the time to connect with us… we owe you a drink (or cigar) next time we are in town.
We really look forward to the success that Faren & Jameson will have in 2019 and will always know that you play a big part in their behind the scenes.
Also, thank you for rockin our bandana 🙂
Peace, Love & Cali Kisses
The California Bandana Babes