Jessica Gramuglia is a CAMD alumna who graduated from Northeastern in 2010. After studying Music Industry, Jessica dove into the field right after graduation, landing positions at Warner Brothers Television, Freeform, World Surf League, and more. These experiences eventually led her to start her own music and media services organization, Awkwardly Naked. Her work as the owner of this company opened up a world of opportunities for her and brought her to her newest chapter, leading the music department at the mass media company, Condé Nast. She just joined the Condé Nast team as their first Music Supervisor in Los Angeles, and looks forward to continuing her music career there. Read more about her journey navigating the music and media industries in the Q&A below.
What are some of your responsibilities as Music Supervisor at Condé Nast?
I oversee all things music for digital content produced at Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) (ie. Vogue, Vanity Fair, Wired, Bon Appétit, GQ, etc.). Creatively, I curate the sound of our content by providing song options for the producers and editors. I review rough cuts for feedback, work closely with record labels, managers and our brands to facilitate on-camera artist opportunities, and hire composers/producers for custom work. I handle all of our music clearances, negotiations, long-form licenses and payments for commercial music (all of the fun stuff!) and negotiate larger deals for on-going music selections. I host showcases in our office space for a more experiential listening session – it’s a great way to use my own platform to generate more opportunities for artists I believe in. It’s a win-win for everyone!
What is most exciting about this new role?
I am the first Music Supervisor at CNE, and that alone is massively exciting but also humbling that they chose me! It is a really great time to be at the company while we grow our digital content. The most thrilling part has to be how much my colleagues are excited to work with music. It is very common that music is an afterthought but here it is at the forefront of what we’re doing before we go into production.
What kinds of work had you done in the past through freelancing?
When it comes to freelancing, I like to call myself a mixed bag of treats. I’ve supervised indie films, digital, and branded content under my Awkwardly Naked umbrella. Through all of my work licensing music, I would find bands that were so talented and thought, “Why don’t more people know you?!” This led me down the freelance path of Public Relations professionally staring back in 2011. I got my promotional introduction on campus through CUP and The Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association (MEISA), as well as during my Co-Ops (like the guerilla marketing campaign I was part of at Glassnote Records promoting the album ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix‘). I’ve worked events such as red carpets through PR firms as well as press campaigns/launch parties for clients like The Endless Summer 50th Anniversary Book , which was a project that I had worked on that was a dream come true for me.
Why did you decide to start Awkwardly Naked? What inspired you?
I started Awkwardly Naked because I wanted to work with good people. At the end of the day, our industry can be really tough; there are a lot of personalities and politics involved. For me, life is too short to be working in a toxic environment especially when your job focusses on something as magical as MUSIC! The work we do can give people goosebumps, bring them to their knees, or draw tears from their eyes. It can make you feel so deeply and express thoughts we’ve never been able to verbalize on our own. Music is immersed in every part of an individual’s life.
There are days when I look back at everything I’ve achieved so far with my mouth hanging open because I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I want to pass that feeling onto the next generation. I want to pass it onto my colleagues with praise for their accomplishments. I want to high five my interns because they deserve to succeed. Awkwardly Naked is meant to draw in real people who want to leave something better than they found it; real musicians who write their own songs and play their own instruments; and products/brands that aren’t poisoning our planet. I say I provide stripped down services because I am not going to sugar coat it, lie, or tell you what you want to hear. I am going to give you real, honest, quality work and I will not take your money or business if I don’t believe I can get you results.
What has been the most rewarding part of finding and running your own company?
Being my own boss is the most rewarding for all the reasons I mention above, but I also love the flexibility to say no, to take time off when it is needed, or to go home to see my family. I basically to have the freedom to create my own work/life balance. I found I could make wonders happen once I had the opportunity to not be stuck at my desk for 10 hours a day.
How have your previous professional experiences prepared you for both your new role at Conde Nast and for starting Awkwardly Naked?
I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Looking back, I can see how all of my past roles, struggles, and projects were preparing me to land where I am in this moment. I had previously worked in numerous new music departments as a supporting role. In some, I was treated as lower tiered staff, while in others, I was treated as the co-pilot getting things done like a boss (cue the Lonely Island song). I learned so much in both scenarios; like managing personalities, people, time, projects, and how to have multiple roles wrapped into one. I learned what I would and wouldn’t do when I’d run my own department. I learned if you treat everyone with respect you’ll get much better outcomes. I was being molded into a powerhouse that has shaped me to start this department at Condé Nast.