Senior Spotlight: Julia Pernicone

Where are you from?

I’m from Ardsley, NY, just a short train ride outside of the city.

What is your background in music?

I’ve been singing my whole life, but participating in my middle and high school select choirs was where I gained a more serious passion for music.  In high school I started writing songs, playing in a band, and taking more formal voice lessons at Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY.  It was there that I really started to consider music as a career, and not necessarily only as a performer.  Though I’ve been focused on the business side of the industry throughout the last 4 years, I’ve continued songwriting and performing, and have released an album and an EP of original music, as well as a few co-writes on another artist’s EP.  I’ve also been managing a few acts that I’ve met through NYU which has been an incredible learning experience.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

I decided to come to NYU because Steinhardt’s Music Business program allowed me to continue my musical training, through music theory and aural comprehension classes as well as private lessons and ensembles, while also receiving an education in business, specific music business classes, and a great liberal arts program as well.  Being in NYC is invaluable for wanting to break into the music industry.  I never would have been able to have the internships and opportunities I’ve had here if I were in another city.  Finally, I just really love the diverse group of people at NYU.  I’ve encountered people studying everything from film, to dance, to global liberal studies, and the music community is so diverse in and of itself!  I love being part of a community of so many talented people following their passions in so many different areas.  Plus, it’s nice to be so close to home!

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

My favorite musician and songwriter is John Mayer.  I also really admire Sara Bareilles.  Lately I’ve been super into jazz, soul, and funk, and some of my favorites are Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nikki Yanofsky.  I’m also a Taylor Swift fan!

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

I grew up listening to pop, and that’s what I write a lot of the time.  So I am not ashamed to admit that you can often find me jamming out to One Direction!

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

My favorite music business class has to have been Music Publishing.  Our professor, Jennifer Blakeman, currently works in the industry, so her perspective is very relevant.  She turned a subject that some consider to be a bit boring into an extremely interesting and fun class, and since then I’ve been working towards pursuing a career in publishing.

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

It is hard to choose just one!  I’ve gotten to attend some great events as a member of GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy’s organization for students of the music industry–like soundchecks for artists like Esperanza Spalding and the Zac Brown Band, and hearing Alicia Keys and her producer speak at the studio where she records.  Last semester I took a class called Topics in Recorded Music: Aretha Franklin & Soul Music, and we got to attend a conversation at the 92nd Street Y with Clive Davis and Aretha herself about her career and newest album.  Finally, a really awesome New York musical moment has to be when I saw Billy Joel play at Madison Square Garden this past summer.  Hearing him play “New York State of Mind” live in NYC was a really emotional experience for me.

What was your best Internship?

I honestly believe I’ve learned something valuable from every one of my internships.  If I had to choose a favorite, it would be Wind Up Songs, where I’m currently interning.  I love how small the company and the roster are.  It allows me to get my hands into all facets of the company’s operations, and do work that’s actually meaningful.  I also love how writer-focused the company is.  Other internship highlights for me include Downtown Music Publishing, and working with artist Garland Jeffrey’s manager.

What is your dream job?

I would love to someday be a working songwriter wth my own production/publishing company.  I want to be able to write for and develop artists, while also fostering the careers of other songwriters.  Kara Dioguardi and Dr. Luke, two of my favorite songwriters, have each done something like this.

Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

I definitely think I have a more entrepreneurial spirit than when I came here.  While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in the music industry as a freshman, I definitely wasn’t considering the option of starting my own business.  Now, I manage a few artists and bands, and am looking to start my own publishing company!



What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

Try everything, talk to everyone, and be aggressive in pursuing your passions.  NYU, NYC, and the music industry are not places where you can expect to get what you want handed to you on a silver platter.  It’s important to take initiative and find out what really excites you, and then go for it!  That being said, don’t take anything too seriously, and remember not to get too hard on yourself.  Have fun, too!