Bright Lights, Music City
“I’m with the band” doesn’t just work for groupies and roadies — it gets you past the bouncer if you’re the band’s lawyer, too. So knows Nashville entertainment lawyer Ricky Hernandez ’12 (BUS).
Back when Hernandez was a law clerk, he recalls, “our firm did some work for an amazing band called Loving Mary, made up of a diverse group of singer-songwriters. I had always wanted to see them play.” One of his partners found out that the band was playing downtown at the Wild Horse Saloon and they went. “Loving Mary had opened for Steven Tyler when he was on tour, and occasionally, he fronted the band. This was one of those nights! It was a great show — a mix of Aerosmith and Loving Mary originals that was otherworldly, and to top it off, we got to go backstage to say hi to the band and Steven. It was a surreal experience, but it’s emblematic of the types of nights that we get to experience all of the time outside of the office.”
Hernandez knows you won’t believe him, but he says he finds the in-office work equally entertaining. His latest job is vice president of business and legal affairs at Concord, which represents artists from James Taylor to John Coltrane to Oscar Hammerstein.
“They’ve got a publishing branch, a recorded music branch, and a theatricals branch. They’ve done a lot through acquisitions in the past five years, and they are growing rapidly. It’s crazy how every month, every week, in the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve been pivoting and trying to think of new ways to do things or creative ways to structure things," says Hernandez.
"It’s fun. It keeps it fresh.
“The frontiers are changing all the time, and you can’t predict where it’s gonna go. There’s so many different types of new things happening. Whatever people can think of, and dream up, and get creative with. It’s fun to ride that rollercoaster.”
The coaster ride began at UConn when a friend in the campus band Parsonsfield approached him. “He said,” Hernandez recalls, “‘We have no idea what we’re doing — would you mind being our manager?’ It sounded like fun. I loved it.”
The band played a show in Nashville.
“I met the fans, the tech crews and producers and publishers and radio people, all the constituents that make this industry work. That got me excited. I thought, I’ve got to find a way to make my own name in Nashville. That’s the day that did it for me.”
Law was his way in and he’s still in. Oh, and Parsonsfield, too, is still playing. Watch this space for more on them!
By Peter Nelson
Photo by Peter Morenus