10 Questions with ... Ellena Osis
October 17, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
It began over 15 years ago as a College Radio Rep for Jive Records, then onto CMJ Magazine during the CMJ Marathon (RIP) ... followed by College Radio at MCA Records, five incredible years at Mute Records overseeing Radio Promotion, a brief stint at TVT Records ... followed by eight years at SONY/RED where I headed up Triple A Radio Promotion. Now, I find myself in a new role as Radio Promotion & Artist Management working for Tom Sarig and a roster filled with artists I have loved for quite some time.
1. What got you interested in the record business?
Growing up music played a big role in our home - the radio was always on, every Friday when we would go to the mall, my Dad would buy some new records at Sam Goody. As time passed, it morphed into a very big part of my life becoming friends with bands within the NYC scene. I just naturally progressed into wanting to be part of the world that helped get music out into the world.
2. What was your favorite station to listen to when you were a kid?
WNEW-FM (I still geek out when I am at WFUV doing a session with Dennis Elsas!) I have distinct memories of hearing Nirvana, Mother Love Bone and so many others on that station for the first time.
3. Tell us a bit about your responsibilities at ECG?
Things have definitely changed this year - and in the last four months with Esther Creative Group I have realized how different the role of radio promotion in-house for management is. At the core, it's the same thing I have spent 15 years doing -- securing airplay and support from radio on incredible artists -- but now it goes a step further. I now have the chance to work directly with our roster in how they want the approach to radio handled and also get to play a role in marketing, branding, touring decisions. It's an all-hands-on-deck situation, with a main focus on radio promotion.
4. What would surprise people most about ECG?
The history of not just ECG (home to Lou Reed, Gaslight Anthem, Violent Femmes and so many more), but the collective music industry history around those working here: Tom Sarig, an industry veteran who has worked with everyone from Blink 182, Cake, The Roots to She Wants Revenge and more; Polsia Ryder who has headed up International Marketing departments, ran U.S.-based indie labels; and Stephanie Kibbe, who once worked with me at Mute Records and runs a tastemaker blog (SomeKindofAwesome.com) which welcomes 150K monthly unique visitors. We are a tight knit group focused on one thing ... helping our artists get their art into the world and into as many hands, ears and homes as we can.
5. What has been the toughest part of adjusting to your new job?
After a decade of working at a major label distribution, marketing and promotion company realizing that as the artist management - operating on their behalf - there are no rules. If you have an idea about something, you go straight to the source and find a way to make it happen.
6. What acts are on your roster?
Brian Fallon, whose solo album Painkillers acts as another example of how incredible of a songwriter he is. Jamie Lidell, who just released his new album today (October 14th). Violent Femmes, who are enjoying a resurgence through radio and touring with their new album. Twin Atlantic, who promise to be a BREAKOUT Alternative act in the new year. And Kishi Bashi, a virtuoso who just released his latest album. As Tom says to me all the time, "I will keep you busy!"
7. Who do you see as the next breakthrough artist?
Hmm, this is like asking a parent, "Which child is your favorite?" In all honesty, I feel like our roster has released incredible records this year - with each having the opportunity to break out in one way or another.
8. Every promotion person has a record close to their heart that for one reason or another never broke through -- "The One That Got Away." What is your "One That Got Away?"
This is hard because there are two for me that "got away:" Charlie Mars' "Listen to the Darkside (Of the Moon)" and Satellite's "Say the Words." Charlie came so close to a big Triple A hit with that, but we peaked at 31*and a few weeks later KTCZ added - but we had already lost it. Satellite was just on the cusp of something with Triple A radio, but sadly the touring slowed down and that was that. Both those still hurt.
9. What is your best advice for up-and-coming promotion reps?
As Lester Bangs (Almost Famous) says "My advice, be honest and unmerciful..." Be honest to who you are and why you chose to wake up day after day doing this job and have no mercy when it comes to the bands you work with and for ... you are their frontline.
10. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
Last non-industry job:
Ballroom Dance Teacher
First record ever purchased:
Michael Jackson "thriller"
Bruce Springsteen 'Born in the USA'
Favorite band of all-time:
Bruce Springsteen ... it's easy to draw a line from his albums to everything I listen to now from Ryan Adams to Patti Smith. It all began with Springsteen for me - every doll I owned as a child was named 'Sherry Darling'...
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
If I wasn't in music, I would be doing my best to become the next Martha Stewart. I have actually started working on a Gluten-Free Lifestyle blog that will launch in late 2016 - you can always catch test recipes appearing on my Instagram feed (jnuhelles).