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Women Behind the Music in Cincinnati: Erica Turer

Women Behind the Music in Cincinnati: Erica Turer
Photo: Polina Osherov

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Erica Turer is a jane of all trades in the music industry. From recording school to marketing, merchandise and being a production assistant, she’s just about done it all.  Her vast experience isn’t the only thing that makes Erica stand out. It’s her love and appreciation for live music. If you ever run into Erica anywhere, it’s sure to be a concert. 

Just like the music scene in Cincinnati, her career in the music industry has changed and evolved. It was a pleasure to sit down and hear Erica’s behind the scenes stories and take on music in Cincinnati.

Tell us about your background in the music industry…
I've been active in the music industry since I was 15. My first gig was working for Jamie Mandel (now of CincyTicket) via Nice Guy Records mainly doing simple street team and promotional work. From there I got involved with the Mad Hatter and Nederlander and everything just kind of continued from there. When it came time to pick a college, I knew I wanted to follow the music industry path and I ended up at Butler because of their Recording Industry program. That opened me up to great opportunities such as working for Asthmatic Kitty Records and Warner/Elektra/Atlantic while I was still in school. I graduated with a degree in Recording Industry Studies and then landed my job with Bogart's a few months after that.

What made you want to get into the music industry?
I don't know if I can pinpoint any one specific show or moment that made me decide that this was the road I wanted to follow, but I can wholeheartedly say I know this is where I belong. I've been going to shows since before I can even remember and I just always feel at home when I'm there. I love all of the backstories and the passion that varies with each band, and the overall atmosphere is just exhilarating. Most everyone who is in the business loves what they are doing and it really shows in the work they put out, and it's a great family to be a part of.

I came to know you through Bogart’s. What all did you do there as a marketing coordinator? Any fun stories?
As marketing coordinator I was essentially in charge of both show marketing and brand marketing. When I started in 2012, Bogart's had just undergone a major facelift and I was a big proponent in getting people who may have not been to Bogart's in a long time to come back and see what the new and improved Bogart's had to offer (especially the new bathrooms). I was also in charge of the social media accounts, as well as dealing with ad plans, radio, TV, and print partners, and working with agents and managers on building unique experiences for our patrons and their bands. After being there for 4 years, I stockpiled a large list of fun stories, but one I'll definitely never forget is my first Gwar show where the crew was kind enough to offer me up as a sacrifice to the World Maggot. I never thought I'd be living out a scene from Empire Records but there I was, and it was incredible. I insisted on being sacrificed the next 2 times they came through. More importantly than the fun stuff though, I got to meet a ton of great people that I've stayed in touch with over the years and that's been a really big thing for me both personally and professionally. It was also really nice working at Bogart's because we would get to see bands at all different stages of their growth; For instance, we hosted Ed Sheeran right before he was on the Grammy's and I'm sure he won't be playing a venue our size again any time soon. I loved being in such an intimate venue where you can literally watch the bands grow, both musically as well as their fan base, with every tour they would come through on. 

What are you up to now?
Since Bogart's I've been doing freelance work in the business with various promoters around town. I've mainly been focusing on merchandise and production assistant work, which I'm a big fan of. Most recently I was able to help out at Nederlander at U.S. Bank Arena doing production assistant work for the Rihanna tour. That gig by far was the biggest show I've been a part of and it was really inspiring being able to watch from the very beginning to the very end what work goes into putting on a production of that size. It takes a lot of manpower and a lot of hours to get something like that done, but it's also super gratifying once the people are in the room to see how all that hard work pays off and creates something special for the fans.

As a woman in Cincinnati music, do you feel that your gender has ever hindered your path? Do you feel that you have to work harder to get your voice heard?
I'm sure that in some people's eyes I may not be taken as seriously since I am a woman, but I've never personally let that hinder my work. I'm extremely passionate about the work I do and supporting the music scene and it shows from the second you meet me. I just always put my best foot forward and as soon as I take something under my wing it's fairly evident that I'm well versed in what I'm doing and that I'm here to get a job done and I'm going to go above and beyond to make sure it's done right. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the music industry?
Get involved and stay involved. Make connections. Push your comfort zone. Travel and explore. The music industry can seem like a daunting place, but at the end of the day we all want to help each other thrive and survive within it. Living in Cincinnati offers so many opportunities to get involved with the scene with places like MOTR and Northside Tavern who host free shows almost every night of the week. It's a really great thing that Cincinnati has going on right now, and with venues of all sizes here from MOTR, to Bogart's, all the way up to U.S. Bank Arena you often get a chance to watch a band grow from that 30 person show to a packed arena.

What’s next for you?
I'm not entirely sure what's next for me, I'm kind of taking things a day at a time right now and weighing my options on some things. I can say Cincinnati definitely has some rad stuff on the horizon that is going to make not only the music scene even better but the city overall a really great place to be. 

Favorite show you’ve been to in Cincinnati?
Yikes, that's a tough one, I've lost track of how many shows I've been to and I'm also not afraid to travel for a show. Last year I went to Louisville for Prince at the Louisville Palace and that was a bucket list show for sure. Sufjan Stevens at the Aronoff last year was pretty magical. Also, back in 2004 there were back to back concerts at Riverbend, the first featuring Dashboard Confessional, Thrice, The Get Up Kids, and Say Anything, and the second featuring Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, and The Used. I think my pop punk heart reached maximum capacity those 2 nights, and I've come to find out most of the company I keep these days were all also at that show. It's some weird tie that binds the scene together and I love it.

What’s something you think people should know about the Cincy music scene?
There is literally not a day that goes by that you can't find live music somewhere. Like I mentioned previously, MOTR is known for having free music (almost) every night of the week. Plus, there are great sites such as where you can pull up a calendar and see what's coming up, so there's no excuse to not get out there and see something!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I'd like to encourage people to be more adventurous with their music intake. Just because it's not a band you know, doesn't mean it's not a band you might like. It is insane how much good music is floating around out there just waiting to be discovered. Also along those lines, if you're going to see a friend's band or a bigger band, make sure you get there in time for the openers/stick around for the rest of the bands. You never know who you might end up finding; Some of the best performances I have seen have come from bands I've never heard of who were on the bill as an opener.

March is Women’s History Month, in celebration, will be featuring important women behind the music scene in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is the home of so many amazing women within the music industry. These women include; a Venue Owner, a well known DJ, Educators, the First Lady of Cincinnati Music, an Assistant Program Director, Writers, Photographers, and a beloved fan.

Stay tuned to for our Features on these talented women this month!