Someone you should know: Nick Trentacost

By CiaraShook

Once a month, The Chronicle profiles people on campus who are doing interesting or important things.

We’re always watching for faculty, staff and students with a story to tell. Here’s someone you should know.

Nick Trentacost graduated from Columbia in December 2009 and has made a swift transition from college to career by working for Clandestine Industries and Chicago firm Upper Cut Management, in which he manages two Michigan bands, All’s Quiet and What Happened In Vegas. Trentacost is very driven in the field of music management and said he hopes it will take him beyond Chicago, though the Michigan native maintains the Midwest as his home. Trentacost offered The Chronicle a look into his

career plans.

The Chronicle: What first interested you in music management?

Nick Trentacost: There was nothing I wanted to do other than music through being in bands and managing them.  It took a lot of convincing, but my parents supported it and understood there was a future in music on the business end.

The Chronicle: You have been pretty successful in the field and you’re barely out of college.

NT: I started managing when I got to Columbia. I started managing bands in Michigan and I had good relationships there. I started interning for Upper Cut when I got to Chicago, so that gave me a lot of experience to supplement my education at Columbia.

The Chronicle: How long did you intern at Upper Cut?

NT: I interned for two years until they had their own interns and I was able to use the office space, work on my own bands and coach what I was doing there, and also be able to bring up bands I found that would better fit the managers at the company. I wouldn’t call it a job because I don’t manage my bands under the company, but I have their advice on hand when I need it.

The Chronicle: How did that experience help your education?

NT: They kind of helped each other. I learned a lot of stuff that I would see and hear in my internship but not get a chance to pick the brain of the managers I was working with. But then we’d get into it in my classes. It helped me to do better in my classes and to take more advantage of the teachers I had and the things we were learning. Some of the things in school helped me to realize the drive I needed and how to compete.

The Chronicle: Has it been hard to adjust as a person fresh out of college?

NT: I phased out of college. I was working more and in class less but right now I’m working as hard as I can and making new opportunities for myself, to seek out opportunities that are there that I don’t know of and trying to build more contacts in this industry.

There’s so much about networking. I would feel comfortable traveling and maybe living in New York, but I would like to keep my homebase as the Midwest.

The Chronicle: What is a typical day like for you?

NT: It depends. Even though I just graduated, I’m taking another class at Harold Washington: Italian II. So when I don’t have class, when I’m not working at Clandestine, I either work from home or go into Upper Cut. At Upper Cut I’ll bring bands I’ve found to them and be someone to bounce ideas off of. I’m younger than a lot of the people who work there.

The Chronicle: How did Columbia help you grow as an artist and prepare you for your job?

NT: I was opened to a lot of different arts that I was encountering, even in my gen-eds, and how they come into the work that I’m doing as a manager. Overall, it expanded my focus as an artist.

The Chronicle: What did you enjoy about the AEMM Department?

NT: I think the greatest benefits I got from teachers and the classes were when teachers brought up things that were happening in their work lives. That was the most help I could have gotten from anyone.

It was also the attitudes of certain teachers, the people who let everyone in the class realize it’s your own education and your efforts are what you get out of it. Those are the people who I wanted to ask questions of after class.  Those are the people who inspired me to work harder.

The Chronicle: What has been the biggest hurdle in getting started in the industry?

NT: Being young. Being young in a business that is incredibly intimidating and really pushes you to want success really fast because of how fast people can attain it, but knowing that diligence pays off as well.

Try not to get too far ahead of yourself, but as my very first teacher at Columbia said, “There’s always someone out there willing to work harder to take your spot.”