Serving as a diverse and rich facet of Atlanta, the music industry has become the fabric that makes the culture of this prosperous city so uniquely distinctive. Patchwerk Recording Studios is one of many renowned state-of-the-art facilities musicians go to get their sound heard. Assistant manager Toya Elise takes us into the daily hustle of a Patchwerk employee where the romanticized life of a musician and the true reality of artistry collide.
For the last 8 years, Elise has been at Patchwerk serving within a variety of capacities. Just as most college graduates today, she began her career with the company through an internship. After her tenure as an intern, she was promoted to an administrative assistant position and eventually acquired the position she holds today.
“There’s been so many crazy stories, I don’t know if all of them can be published…”
Despite having worked with Patchwerk for almost a decade, Elise still finds every day to be just as exciting as when she first began her professional journey. When asked what was the craziest thing that has happened to her at work Elise replied, “There’s been so many crazy stories, I don’t know if all of them can be published, but most of them are like fights, you know, someone crashed through our back gate one time, you know there’s a lot of egos. It’s the studio, so you can imagine all the craziness that goes on between different personalities.” Continuing to explain her unique experiences, Elise states, “I think you deal with different customers every day, you deal with different scenarios whether it be bad or good, it still keeps you on your toes, I’m always learning.”
Of course, with days that are so unpredictable and artists constantly coming and going from the studio at all times of the day, things seen and heard can seem so surreal. We asked Elise to describe her best relationship with a frequenting artist and she said, “Gucci when he wasn’t locked up, he was always here so I probably knew him the best… but the biggest people I’ve probably seen would be Jay-Z and Mariah Carey; R Kelly comes here a lot. But [with] Gucci, I probably had the best relationship.”
During the interview, Elise desired to lend some advice to aspiring music managers and assistant managers. “You should really know that this is what you want to do, you have to have perseverance, you have to really have the ability to deal with the egos that come with the business and to deal with the frustrations, like it’s not as glamorous as it appears; you have to put in the work and know how to deal with people. Stay in your lane, know what your role is and serve that role, not try to do too much.”
Her closing remark expounded on what we can expect to see from her in the near future as she proudly revealed, “[I’ve] actually started a business, but I’ve been so busy here that I haven’t been able to pursue it the way I wanted to. But I have business plans for a creative production team which would involve putting together photographers, videographers, graphic designers, music producers, and it’s just kind of being the person to oversee [sic] that team and be the project development for artists who need to get their visuals and development together. That’s what my team would do.”
From the experiences of a former intern turned assistant music manager, it is evident that while the music industry is fun and unpredictable, it can also be a difficult profession. It takes more than hard work and effort, and not everyone is the right fit. However, like many other successful individuals, Toya Elise has found success and personal fulfillment through pursuing her own vision in the industry, and we can anticipate seeing her make some monumental waves in the near future.