The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday September 25th

John Geraghty: UNC senior, superstar, music savant

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Growing up outside of New York City in New Jersey, the senior advertising major was always obsessed with music.

He took the train to see Broadway shows. He also took music lessons and songwriting workshops.

The fact that he was at MSG confirmed he had talent. A song he wrote was being premiered as part of iHeartRadio’s Z100 Jingle Ball. He was mixing backstage with Lady Gaga and Demi Lovato when he fell in love with something else.

“That experience showed me I was more fascinated by all the managers and publicists and everyone that was behind the scenes keeping the artists happy,” he said.

Shortly after, he came to UNC, where he had to use social media to show his tastemaker abilities. He blogged about Lorde months before she broke, earning him a summer internship at Billboard. There, he introduced new artists.

More internships followed from MTV to Tumblr, which gave him confidence to know he could work in the industry.

He soon started working directly with artists.

“I was going to these managers and people I had met and said, ‘Take a chance on me. I’d love to help create strategic campaigns for your artists.’”

He then introduced a manager to an artist with potential.

“I was like, ‘I think she can be something. I’d like to brand her and handle her publicity.’”

That artist was Cari Fletcher, whose song “War Paint” was the most shared song on Spotify in the U.S.

“She’s the first artist I really helped pioneer. We kind of made our names together,” he said. “So once she blew up and became successful, I took that experience and ran with it.”

Now, he manages seven to nine artists at a time.

Geraghty said he likes to work with artists who have something new to say.

“I want to help find ways for them to say it in the loudest, boldest way possible,” he said.

Ali Brustofski, Geraghty’s friend from home and a singer-songwriter, said he’s always had a musical sixth sense.

“He’s always been the friend I have that shows me the cool music — who’s going to be popular before they are,” she said.

Brustofski said Geraghty isn’t someone who waits for things to happen to him.

“He makes things happen,” she said. “If he wants them to happen, he’s going to go for it with his whole heart in it.”

Gary Kayye, Geraghty’s former professor, said Geraghty’s personality will take him far.

“He’s certainly a superstar kid,” he said.

Still, things get hectic.

“I’m working a full-time job, so between classes, I’m on the phone or emailing all the time,” Geraghty said. “Last week, I missed three classes in a row to go off to Coachella with one of my artists in California. That was probably the most exciting experience I’ve had to date since launching my own branding firm, but also the most stressful.”

Geraghty said his success has been overwhelming. All his new projects are taking off.

“Each one is opening new doors and opportunities for me, and I’m trying to walk through them all.”

arts@dailytarheel.com



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