Navigating the vast landscape of the music industry is a journey many artists aspire to embark on. However, it is no easy feat, especially in an era dominated by Gen Z – a generation known for its proudly authentic, unique preferences and desire for personal connections. In a recent conversation with Michelle Locke, College Relations & Strategic Partnerships Manager at Universal Music’s 1824, we spoke to Michelle about her journey and her advice to artists.
From the Fashion World to the Music Industry
While Michelle’s early days were spent delving into the worlds of law and fashion, her true passion for music remained. Through a shift to journalism, and connections made along the way, Michelle transitioned from writing for hip-hop blogs to joining the innovative 1824 team at Universal Music Group, a team dedicated to creating holistic, immersive experiences around music and its creators.
1824 at UMG
At the center of Universal Music Group, the 1824 team offers a myriad of creative solutions. From content creation, brand partnerships, and even scouting for new talent, this dynamic group functions as an extension of the various labels they service. The team's heartbeat, as Michelle puts it, is its connection with the college audience. With a team consisting largely of Gen Z members and boots on the ground at various college campuses, 1824 effortlessly taps into the pulse of the youth.
Making Memorable Moments
For Michelle and her team, it's about creating memorable moments that resonate with fans. The partnership with South Korean boy-band, NCT 127, and Boba Guys is a testament to their unique approach to involving the public in an album release.
1824 especially excels by blending the unique interests of artists with a fan experience, like Remy Wolf's dog-friendly meet and greet, where they seamlessly connected diverse fan (or soon-to-be) fan groups via shared interests.
The Gen Z Effect
The desire for genuine connections defines Gen Z. As Michelle highlighted, this generation values the realness of artists. They cherish moments where they can see their favorite artists as peers rather than distant celebrities. The more an artist is authentic and approachable, the more likely they are to resonate with this generation.
With that in mind, Michelle's advice for young artists aiming to make a mark, especially in the college circuit, is clear.
- Visibility & Personal Connection
"Be present both online and offline. Engage with fans, understand their world, and make them feel seen."
- Authenticity & Active Engagement
"Embrace who you truly are. Whether you're passionate about being vegan or have an undying love for cats, let that shine through in your art and interactions."
Michelle adds, "Take the time to interact with fans. Personal conversations, meet and greets, or even simple gestures like replying to comments can make a world of difference."