10 Questions with ... Lori Kampa
May 21, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
First music biz job was at a small Bluegrass label, Skaggs Family Records, where I did a number of things, including radio promotion. Dualtone Music offered me a radio promotion gig in 2004, where I've been ever since.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
My favorite uncle (Jim) used to live in Minneapolis and he turned me on to some pretty cool music during my first couple years of college. Since I lived just across the state line, I'd make the drive over to the Twin Cities whenever possible to see shows and suddenly this whole new world opened up for me. That's sorta when I started to think about a career in the music biz, though I had no idea how to make that a reality.
One of my uncle's best friends grew up in Nashville and he told me I should look into Belmont University's music business program. In 2000, after taking my first little trip to Music City to see what it was all about I was convinced that I wanted to enroll in this new MBA program Belmont was starting and take a stab at getting a job in the music business ... and I've been here ever since!
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
I grew up listening to my parents' music --"golden oldies" from the '50s and '60s. So I've got some super-fond memories of my family driving down the road in our Volkswagon hippie camper van listening to this station that used the Wilson Pickett song 634-5789 as the number for their call-in request line, so I'd always beg my parents to let me call in and make a request. Of course this was way before cell phones so I don't think we ever did call in -- but damn, we all loved listening to that station, whatever it was!
When I got a little bit older and started making my own decisions on music, I listened to a lot of Pop music in the '80s, and even some Country music in the '90s -- we were pretty isolated in rural-northern Wisconsin so unfortunately there wasn't much variety to choose from on the radio dial. Thankfully once I got into college my musical horizons started to broaden quite a bit!
3. What may surprise people the most about Dualtone Records?
Well, the coolest thing about Dualtone Records is that we're a dog-friendly office. On any given day you never know what four-legged friends might be hanging out; we've got a chocolate lab named Frieda, a boxer named Champ, a golden retriever named Charlie and a Brussels Griffon/terrier mix named Lola.
4. Where do you get your greatest pleasure in doing record promotion?
It's all about the relationships that are made and friendships that are cultivated -- that's what life is all about, right! And thankfully, this job allows us to meet and interact with some pretty cool people who are enormously intelligent and talented; men and women who have had some amazing life experiences and tell the best stories. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get to know and learn from and work with so many great folks in this business!
It's also pretty cool when you're able to step outside the office and see a band that you you've been working with for awhile sell out a really big show; you get to see first-hand how everything you've been doing is a part of/contributes to the overall picture of success. Our days in the office can sometimes get pretty stressful and hectic, so getting out and seeing a show and celebrating little successes like that with your whole team is a pretty special treat.
5. Do you have a favorite market you like to visit and why?
Nah, not really. It's fun to get out there on the road and visit any market, period! Well, I'll take that back since I was just there and had a super fun time -- Minneapolis/St Paul is a great market to visit! And sure I'm biased since that's my old "home," but let's all be honest about what a killer market it is for music! Good-good people up there in MN -- oh yah, sure, you betcha!
6. What is the toughest part of your job?
Telling people "no" and making decisions that you know will disappoint people who you really like and care about. I'm by nature a "people pleaser," and unfortunately in the competitive "business world" there are going to be times when decisions are made that you know will be upsetting to some people -- and you have to be the bearer of "bad" news! That part of the job seriously sucks!
7. Tell us a bit about the great success of the Civil Wars project.
Wow, what an amazing project to be a part of! From day one I just absolutely fell head over heels in love with the music, so for me it's always been a passion project first and foremost. Their sound just completely blew me away ... and I still get goose-bumps every time I hear them!
So I have to admit that I really found it hard not to get disappointed when at first we weren't pulling in adds left and right, when we weren't climbing up the chart fast and furious. because to me it was such a no-brainer record! And I'm still quite certain that "Poison & Wine" could have been/should have been a big fat hit!
Anyway, it might have been a slower start at radio than I would have imagined, but of course the story did eventually start to grow and then it just sorta exploded and we all know the rest of the story -- the record's about to go Gold! And when asked what the "secret" of their success was all about, to me it's pretty simple: It's all about the incredible, awe-inspiring, soul-stirring talent of Joy and John Paul. It's always been about the music from day one along with their work ethic. They are some committed, diligent folks who worked their butts off to promote this project and I truly couldn't be happier for them or more proud of all they've accomplished!
8. What new releases are you most excited about?
Obviously The Lumineers is such a big-big record for us at the moment; we're so thrilled with how that story just continues to build week by week ... and we're all super-optimistic for what's in store for The Lumineers this year! I'm also really excited about this new duo we recently signed, Shovels & Rope. Their debut CD will come in July and that's another super-cool project that I know is going to be a blast to work to radio!
9. What would surprise people most about you?
That I'm not nearly the obsessed crazy Green Bay Packers super-fan that I once used to be! Ha! Seriously, the whole long sad saga with Brett Favre just really sorta changed my whole perspective, for better or for worse depending on how you look at it!
10. If you were to leave the record business today and you could choose any other occupation, what would it be?
I volunteer at the Country Music Hall of Fame as part of their education program where we lead tours for school-aged kids grades K-12. There's a really cool part of the program called Words & Music which gives students an opportunity to write song lyrics collaboratively with local professional songwriters. I absolutely love working with the kids and teaching them about music history and witnessing the creative process that comes alive in the Words & Music program!
So I guess if I ever left the music business, I think I'd try to pursue some sort of job like that where I could work with kids in a teaching capacity where the curriculum was music-based.
Last non-industry job:
The Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls, WI
First record ever purchased:
Roy Orbison All Time Greatest Hits
Kenny Rogers with my grandma ... ha!
Favorite band of all-time:
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
Reading, movies, hiking, food/wine/beer, watching sports, spending time with family and friends.