Greetings and salutations faithful Top Shelf readers and welcome to this month’s Women in Music feature. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Gabriela Prisciandaro, who is the director of talent at Vevo. Vevo, for those of you who might live under rocks, is the premier hosting service for music videos. It’s an important vehicle for musicians to not only showcase their musical talent but to feature the visuals that often represent their creative aesthetics. You can find them almost everywhere you consume music videos, from YouTube to Roku, Vevo has spent many years cementing its place as an integral part of the music industry but they don’t just showcase music videos. Over the last few years Vevo has been creating a ton of original performance based content with some of the biggest and brightest stars in the music industry. In the past few months I have become fascinated with all things Vevo and have had the pleasure of being connected to one of the driving forces behind this truly outstanding company.
Hey Gabriela, thank you so much for chatting with me today. For those of us who don’t know, what does a “Director of Talent” for Vevo do? What does a typical day of work look like for you?
- In my role, I book artists for Vevo’s original content shoots in both NY and LA. I also work on our custom on-location shoots (such as the new “Extended Play” series we just kicked off with Niall Horan). I also work on the rollout of the original content following the shoot specifically for Nashville labels to make sure our original content is part of a holistic artist marketing plan, including YouTube, Connected TV, and Vevo socials. When I am not on set, a large part of my day-to-day involves liaising with labels, artist teams, and distributors on upcoming video premieres. That’s across all genres, from Country to Latin, and all career stages, from emerging artists to global superstars, like Billie Eilish and J Balvin.
What does Vevo’s original content look like and could you talk a little bit about some of your favorites?
- Outside of hosting official music videos on the Vevo network, we also make our own content with artists of all genres and career stages, mainly performance-based content, but also some personality bits, like artist liners that we air across our various TV channels. The majority of the performance-based original content (such as DSCVR, Ctrl, or Studio Performances) is shot in one of our three studios in New York, London, or Los Angeles (our newest studio). Our originals serve as another promotional arm and provide artists and labels with content that support their overall marketing strategy. Artist teams can also use the audio from our original content and deliver it to DSPs (as long as they credit Vevo). To explain some of Vevo’s original series more specifically, DSCVR showcases the best new talent across the globe, regardless of genre. Ctrl is focused on lyric-based performances, usually Hip-Hop, Trap, Reggaeton or Afro Beats, while Vevo Studio Performances focus on instrumentation. Our custom shoots, such as “Official Live Performances” or “Extended Play”, are usually for the bigger name artists, giving fans a fresh and unique look at some of their best loved tracks. Some of my favorites Vevo Originals include Dominic Fike’s DSCVR session, Ariana Grande’s Official Live Performances, Pusha T’s Ctrl, and Old Dominion’s Studio Performances.
Do you remember the very first music video that had an impact on you as a young music fan?
- Think it’s a tie between Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” and Blink 182’s “All the Small Things”. Lana really created a cinematic arthouse-style world for her fans (and this video really hooked me onto her music), while I loved Blink’s cheeky parody of 90s boy bands.
Studies have shown that women are vastly underrepresented in the music industry? Do you feel like this trend has changed since you first began a career in music?
- There’s definitely a more conscious effort to feature and uplift women leaders in our space than ever before. A growing number of the major labels are run by women, so I think this is a change in the positive direction. Definitely happy to see Cindy Mabe appointed CEO of UMG Nashville! Most of my mentors have been women and I’m fortunate to be in a place where women champion other women.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman in music if any?
- I am happy to work at a company where women are supported (especially working in an all-women team!), and while there is positive change happening in our industry right now, historically women have had to fight to get a seat at the table. There are also generally fewer women at video shoots, when thinking from a production standpoint, so we are always thinking about how to diversify our crews.
Who are some of your favorite music video creators? Are there any bands that stand out to you as being the best at visual content?
- Colin Tilley, Cole Bennett and Hannah Luxe Davis are some of my favorite music video directors at the moment. I also appreciated Glass Animals’ “Dreamland” video which came out in May 2020, which was a very well produced DIY video from lockdown. The lead singer walks us through the struggles of creating a cool visual on his own (and it helps that Dreamland is also one of my favorite albums). Another band who has great visual content is The Neighbourhood. I really enjoyed their rebranding from the West Coast black and white vibes to the glossy Chip Chrome character.
Is there anything about Vevo and the services they provide that you would like people to know more about?
- I encourage people to check out Vevo’s TV app (download it from your TV’s app store) or our various live TV channels. Vevo’s TV channels are particularly cool because each one is dedicated to a specific genre (like Vevo Pop or Vevo Country) or decade (like Vevo 80s or Vevo 90s), and curated by our programming team that reviews every music video on our network. You can find our channels on services like Samsung TV Plus, Hulu Live, Pluto TV or The Roku Channel. I also encourage people to check out Vevo’s original content. We have our own production team in house and film really beautiful content with artists of all levels across the globe. Our live performances are a good way to hear your favorite artists do alternative versions of their hits.
If you were given a box of all the things you have lost in life, what would you look for first?
- I would look for lost opportunities. I’m in a very good place (I just moved to LA), but I wonder how my life would look if I held onto some opportunities. The universe works in mysterious ways!
Check out vevo for more information!