This summer, junior Alex Heimerman immersed himself in the music world. Heimerman, a music business major, snagged a coveted Nashville internship at Red Light Management, a massive independent music management company with offices around the world. During his time at Red Light’s Nashville branch, Heimerman worked on everything from graphic design projects to VIP events for some of the biggest names in country music including Lady Antebellum, Chris Stapleton, Jake Owen and Jon Pardi.
“I didn’t expect to be working with big name artists at all going in,” said the Appleton, Wisconsin, native about his three-month internship. “When I saw someone like Lady Antebellum – it’s cool, but I knew I needed to be professional. That’s something that Red Light especially holds us to as interns, as well and the company in general – we have to be really professional and at the top of our game. They have such a high standard for entrepreneurship and leadership.”
Red Light’s internship application process was rigorous, starting with a number of in-depth essay questions related to the music industry. Heimerman was determined to land the position.
“I really didn’t want to work just a regular job over the summer,” he said. “I worked last summer in town at Red House Records, so I knew I wanted to continue with another internship. I wanted to find something unique and take a huge leap instead of a minor step this time.”
Heimerman was thrilled when the company offered him an internship, but was surprised to learn he was assigned to Red Light’s graphic design team. While he’d never had formal training in graphic design, he had done some designing for local artists and campus-related organizations including radio station KUST and the music industry club.
With his Red Light duties focused on marketing initiatives for a handful of musicians from the company’s diverse roster of clients, Heimerman was busy creating tour images for social media, posters, social media profile pictures and promotional graphics.
“Being thrown right into it makes you less worried about it,” he said. “Red Light has an incredibly high standard – I think it brought me to the next level. It was a big learning curve at the beginning because I didn’t know much about design. I was put outside my comfort zone. One thing I took away was to accept opinions from all different viewpoints. Taking a chance is the biggest thing I learned.”
Looking towards the future, Heimerman plans on pursuing a career in the music industry, something he’s learned about from his St. Thomas courses and professor Steve Cole, head of the music business program. He’s also Heimerman’s academic advisor and saxophone instructor.
Cole notes that many of his students have gotten internships in the music business working with booking agents, management companies, record labels and venues.
“Our students are blowing my mind,” Cole said. “It’s exactly what you would hope for in this program.
“Alex had an opportunity to really learn from an organization that’s innovating on a major scale with artists who are global,” he continued. “This is the real deal – it matters.”
Even though his internship ended last month, Heimerman continues to work remotely for Red Light and is also employed as a college marketing representative with Sony Music.
“I wouldn’t be pursing this career at all if it wasn’t for St. Thomas,” said Heimerman, whose dream job is to manage artists. “My classes have given me great knowledge of what’s going on in music today. How I can be on the edge of what’s happening instead of lagging behind. I want to always be one step ahead.”
Learn more about the University of St Thomas’ music business program.