We had the good fortune of connecting with Madison Policastri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Madison, what role has risk played in your life or career?
All my life, change has made me so uncomfortable. I was a very quiet and reserved kid, so doing anything outside of my comfort zone was terrifying to me. The moment I realized that I needed to get uncomfortable and take risks in order to succeed was scary and so motivating. I’ve taken a few risks, but the one that stands out to me is moving from my hometown of Staten Island, NY to Nashville, TN to pursue my career. I moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone and was trying to secure a career in an industry that isn’t the easiest to break into. If I didn’t take the risk of moving, I’d probably be incredibly unhappy. I’m still working on viewing change as a good thing and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, but I’m really proud of 18 year old me for leaving New York.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My artist management journey is such a small world story. I met my artist, Allie Dunn, in high school although we didn’t talk at all. Allie was a year ahead of me and our paths didn’t cross until college via social media. In 2019, she came to visit me in Nashville, decided to move there as well and we began our professional journey together. I knew from the moment I heard Allie’s songs that her songwriting was something special. An Allie Dunn song exudes nostalgia and warmth – it’s so distinct. As an artist, she has the ability to make you feel like you’ve been friends forever even though you just met. In March 2021, Allie and I met artist manager, Stuart Berk and after a one meeting we all decided to work together. Co-managing Allie with Stuart has been amazing – I learn so much from him. Stuart’s experience, knowledge and passion has helped move the needle in countless ways. Our team is working on some exciting projects – we’re so eager to share them! Working with an artist like Allie has been amazing. Not only is she incredibly talented and driven, but she’s become my best friend. She makes me proud on a daily basis. I handle Allie’s day to day in her career – scheduling, coordinating creative assets, and setting up sessions.
I also work at an amazing record label based in Nashville called Red Street Records founded by Jay DeMarcus. My journey to Red Street moved very quickly. Prior to working with Red Street Records, I was a part time administrative coordinator at Demolition Music Publishing. In January 2022, a team member from Red Street reached out and asked if I’d be interested in helping them out with publishing part time. I agreed and two weeks into the job, Jay offered me a full time position as Manager of Publishing and Promotion Administration. Music publishing became a love of mine. I love songwriters and watching the life of a song. Connecting with a roster of songwriters and being in a position to book meaningful sessions is so exciting. It’s almost like piecing together a puzzle and watching it come to life. I work with a group of incredibly talented and kind writers, they make my job so easy! Radio promotion is new territory for me. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but the promotion team at Red Street Records has been so kind to me. I can’t believe I am in a position to learn a new part of the industry from some of the best people in the business. I truly feel so blessed. At Red Street Records, I handle catalog management, session booking and song plugging on the publishing side. I also assist the radio promotion and artist development team in coordinating chart data, travel, production for radio shows and more.
Although my career has been moving fast, it hasn’t always been easy. I graduated from Belmont University in May 2020. I don’t think I need to recap 2020 haha, it was tough for all of us. 2020 taught me the value of persistence. It taught me that it’s okay to give yourself grace, but finding ways to be present and active in the industry I wanted to be part of would speak volumes in the long run. Looking back, I can confirm that it did.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wait this is a fun question haha! I love Nashville, it’s constantly growing and evolving! We have a lot of cool local coffee shops, I’d probably bring them to Red Bicycle for an iced macaron coffee. From there we’d head over to 12th South to do some shopping – I love going to White’s Mercantile. For lunch we’d head over to Barcelona Wine Bar for tapas and wine. It’s one of my favorite restaurant spots in Nashville. Then I’d take them to Music Row, The Gulch and head over to Broadway for a little bit. Emphasis on a little bit haha! Broadway is a staple if you’re coming to visit, but locals take it in small doses. One of my favorite spots downtown is the pedestrian bridge. You can see amazing views of the skyline and get the best pictures. Next, dinner at Bourbon Steak. Another one of my favorite spots in Nashville. Bourbon Steak has views of the city that are unreal – it’s at the top of the Marriott hotel and overlooks all of downtown Nashville. The food is amazing! Live music is a major part of Nashville, I’d definitely take them to a writer’s round at The Listening Room – I love watching the people realize they know the hit songs the writers are singing.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
This question is so important! Picking one person is nearly impossible though. It truly takes a village when it comes to the music industry. I’ve been so blessed with a family, friends, and group of mentors who I need to dedicate this shoutout to.
My family has been supportive of this dream for as long as I could remember. This career choice wasn’t necessarily “traditional,” but my parents and siblings have been so encouraging. My parents, Karen and Eddie, helped their daughter move 1000 miles away, gave her every tool they had to succeed, and taught her the importance of work ethic. My siblings, Jordan and Ethan, are so supportive. They keep me grounded and support me in both my personal and professional journeys. I strive to make them proud.
Some of my best friends are creatives and fellow industry professionals.
My artist, Allie Dunn took a chance on me and trusted me enough to be a part of her journey. Her loyalty is unmatched and I am so grateful for her. Not only does she make me proud in terms of our business relationship, but she reminds me everyday what a solid friendship looks like. She’s truly my rock.
Taylor Day is an incredible industry professional who I met in college on a study abroad trip to London and we became fast friends. Taylor believed in my talents enough to introduce me to the Red Street Records team. She opened a door that led to something I dreamed of: a full time music publishing position. Her work ethic inspires me. I’m so happy to work with such a driven female music industry pro – let alone get to call her one of my best friends.
Josh Ronen is an amazing Nashville based songwriter and producer who truly does it all. From country to pop to synch, Josh’s talents are extremely diverse. His drive and heart are truly magical. Josh believed in me more than I believed in myself sometimes. His friendship is so special and his talent breaks down barriers in music. I’m so excited to watch his career soar.
I have the coolest group of mentors who have helped shape me into the person I am today.
Stuart Berk (Artist Manager) is one of those people who truly act on things with the greatest intentions. That’s what makes him such an amazing manager. Stu and I met through Allie Dunn and after one meeting, I realized how amazing it would be to work alongside him – I was right. His passion and excitement is infectious. Working with and learning from Stu helped me grow as an artist manager.
Adam Epstein (Head Of A&R, Demolition Music) was instrumental in teaching me about country and pop music publishing, as well as the importance of industry relationships. He is always someone I can lean on when it comes to asking questions, needing advice, and receiving guidance in music publishing. He’s been a big brother to me.
Jay DeMarcus (CEO of Red Street Records) quickly recognized my heart and soul, and offered me the opportunity to join the incredible Red Street Records team. He welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like family. I learn so much from Jay, whether we’re together for 5 minutes or an hour, I always leave his office feeling like a better industry professional. I’m so grateful to Jay.
Alex Valentine (SVP Promotion & Artist Development, Red Street Records) and the promotion team at Red Street Records gave this artist manager/music publisher a chance to learn about radio promotion and it’s been a dream. From day one, Alex has been so supportive and helpful in many different capacities. He’s been a constant reminder that working hard and being kind go a long way. Alex’s leadership is so motivating and I could not be more honored to learn from him.
Matt Blum Zayne Parmiter