10 Questions with ... Ellena Osis
September 19, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
It all began with an e-mail from my mentor, Lorraine Caruso, which said "Are you willing to dedicate your life? If so, call me" -- little did I know where that would lead. I interned for Jive Records for six months, which was followed up by doing college radio for MCA Records. In the summer of 2003 I started at Mute Records where I stayed for an incredible five years -- and after a "hiatus"... I now am happily at RED Distribution.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
My friends, to be honest. I was in college studying to be an English teacher and my friends were all part of the NYC music scene. Before I knew it I was putting aside reading assignments for shows at Mercury Lounge and scaling back classes for my internship. Ten years later, here I am.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WNEW. I can still recall Scott Muni playing Nirvana for the first time and where I was.
3. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
The artist development. It has never mattered where I was working, it's always been about helping an artist get their art out to the masses and music is one form of that. I get to play a small role in it all.
4. You are in a unique situation where you work all kinds of projects partnered with all kinds of labels. How do you balance your time and effort?
HA! That is a REALLY good question. I am incredibly lucky to work with labels and artists that I am passionate about, so every morning I take a deep breath before I open my e-mail and then I just go ... and go....
5. Who do you see as the next breakthrough artist(s) for you?
Every last one I am involved with has the possibility to breakthrough.
6. What's the wildest thing you ever did to get "the add" at a station?
Easy -- I told a programmer, who is also a fan of NASCAR, that if a record didn't react on air after he added it, that I would arrive at the station wearing a Jimmie Johnson firesuit. For those not in the know, Jimmie Johnson is the five-time NASCAR champion, whom I am not a fan of AT ALL (go, Harvick!) and the programmer is. Thankfully, the record reacted.
7. Things are changing rapidly in our business. Were it up to you, what would you change in our "system" to give your bands a better shot?
There is honestly no one thing I would change - -we all just need to continue to learn to roll with the punches and somehow still manage to expose new artists to radio programmers and their audiences.
8. What would surprise people most about you?
That I can go from listening to Bon Iver to Blake Shelton ... and sing every last word of both. (badly)
9. If you were to leave the record business today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... Coffee - Two cups in the morning and an afternoon venti makes for a happy Ellena.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Well, it would not be recovering from surgery like I have been these last three weeks, but I think everyone knows this one: yoga. Yoga is the one place in life that nothing else matters.
Last non-industry job:
File clerk at a dental office
First record ever purchased:
For me? Winnie the Pooh Exercise. I purchased personally -- Michael Jackson 'Thriller'
Bruce Springsteen at four years old!
Favorite band of all-time:
A three-way tie between: The Band, Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band and Sunny Day Real Estate, with a special mention of Ryan Adams.