Music business student manages upcoming artists from Chicago and Detroit

By Amina Sergazina

Moccia’s hometown of Detroit inspires her to highlight artists from the Motor City, as well as Chicago, under her company Appealing Orange Records. Sam Tucker

Siena Moccia planted the seed for her company, Appealing Orange Records, during a class her freshman year, and now, during her senior year, it has blossomed into a tree of “oranges” that constantly changes with her.

Moccia originally created the business idea in her “Information Management” class where students had to make up a business and present it at the end of a semester. Moccia, a music business major, said the name of Appealing Orange Records was inspired by her mother.

“[My mom] was really into music, so she was like, ‘If I ever had a band, I would call it “Appealing Orange” because it can be like an appealing orange, or it could be an orange that’s peeling,’” Moccia said.

Moccia’s creation did not truly come to life until the professor encouraged her to buy a domain and offered to host the website.

The Appealing Orange Records’ website and Instagram highlight small artists from Chicago and Detroit, Moccia’s hometown. Moccia said inspiration comes to her in waves when it comes to projects for the website, such as weekly playlists and articles. Moccia said the more knowledge she gets from classes, the more different her brand looks.

Liam Taylor, a junior music major, is friends with Moccia and works with her to release his music. Moccia helped him create a press release and send mass emails to local venues to grow his following. Taylor said he and Moccia would meet up every week, and she helped him get out of his comfort zone.

One of the instances when Moccia pushed Taylor out of his comfort zone was when they talked about advertising his music. Taylor thought advertising his work was tacky, but Moccia explained that he needed to expand his audience beyond Columbia students. This made Taylor look into his future after graduation and trust Moccia more.

From writing her blog to setting up shows for local artists, Moccia works in the comfort of her home office with a laptop at hand. Sam Tucker

“[Moccia] is very good with people, so that’s how she’s been able to make a lot of the connections and build the name for herself that she has because she’s very good,” Taylor said. “She’s a people person, and one thing that I love about her is that she always pushes me.”

In 2021, Appealing Orange Records was heavily focused on weekly articles, with nine writers working on Moccia’s team. The same year Moccia hosted a three artist showcase called Dearborn Dreamscape at her apartment, where each artist played a set of 30 minutes. Moccia’s boyfriend, Miles Whitworth, said this was one of his favorite memories they share.

Whitworth, a cinema and television arts major, dropped out of Columbia in 2020, but met Moccia during their Big Chicago class, “Music & Media in Chicago,” and said, “She was always the first to answer every question and was ‘that girl’ in my class, even though there were like 200 people.”

Whitworth is a videographer and noticed that Moccia works with a lot of the same people he makes the music videos for, but he said work never stood between their love life.

“Siena is the kind of person that if she sets her mind to something, she will get it done. … That’s always something that I’ve admired,” Whitworth said. “She has always been [a] consummate professional. If I’m hanging out with her, she’ll be getting calls from musicians just asking for advice, and I think it’s crazy that she just has so much knowledge and ability and that people trust her to give the right answer and guide them.”

The experience Moccia gained by managing artists under Appealing Orange Records helped her land an internship at the music venue Metro where she updates promoters’ sites and assists with other day-to-day operations.

Appealing Orange Records now focuses more on its public relations, and Moccia is working on a marketing plan.

Moccia said one day she hopes her orange tree will grow into a big orange garden with venues, merchandise, public relations and management.