Job Juggler On Her Way Up
Nicole is a pop artist manager, business co-founder, pedal tavern lifeguard, and experienced food truck driver .
Previously a member of an entrepreneurship center that jacked up its rates, Nicole found solace at HOME a handful of months ago after hearing about us through TONS.
Grown from the mystic soil of Arizona, Nicole Nehrbas trekked here to Nashville five years ago after just having graduated from college. Unemployed and minimal familial connections in town, Nicole braved the unknown and allowed herself three months to find a job to sustain herself living in an apartment with no roommates. Luckily, only two months in, Nicole joined the Country Music Hall of Fame hospitality team, helping with ticket sales and guided tours of RCA Studio B. While at CMHoF, Nicole met other transplants around the same age and in a similar situation as her; in short, she found a place where she fit in.
Her first real job in the music industry didn’t come along until around the 8-12 month mark after moving to Nashville, which was an unpaid internship with a small record label that no longer exists. Finally, five months later into the internship (that’s a year and a half after moving), Nicole landed her first paid industry job as a promo coordinator. Woohoo!
The reason Nicole wanted to move to Nashville of all places was because she craved to work in artist management. Since she graduated from The University of Arizona with an impressive GPA in Business Management and a minor in Music, plus 2 years working part time at a record label in AZ already under her belt, she assumed she held all the cards in her hands to immediately land an industry job in Nashville.
Then reality hit. Typically in the music industry, fancy diplomas and beefed up resumes don’t guarantee an entry-level job.
Having connections with the right people and actually demonstrating your skills is what pushes people ahead in the industry. Now having that knowledge, Nicole landed her first major gig by going above and beyond at her internship. She talked with everybody, asking them questions, seeking for advice, and offering a helping hand whenever possible. Acting proactively painted Nicole as a genuinely passionate person eager to work in the industry, which left an impression on the big guys.
Nicole’s dream to pursue the music industry manifested at age 12, though the picture wasn’t clear as to what that entailed. Her hard working inspiration comes from Simon Cowell, who started in the mailroom at a record label and worked his way up to millionaire status/mad scientist who formulated the highly profitable, perfect five-piece combination of entertainment talent to make young girls world-wide lose their minds. During his American Idol years, Nicole was obsessed with Simon and aspired to be him.
Certainly well on her way to the top, Nicole is now co-founder of Vibe Entertainment, a joined media and management company helping artists push their careers further through creating digital content and promotions.
The other co-founder is her business partner Randy, who she met while working together at CMHoF back in 2013. The two are the perfect business-meets-creativity team, and their high compatibility shows in the quality of Vibe Entertainment.
Nicole is simultaneously living her dream as an artist manager, presently helping a Nashville alt pop/rock group called Lost Stars.
She discovered the boys, who all attended Belmont (surprise), while on set during a music video shoot through Vibe Entertainment. The lead singer blew Nicole away because, instead of lip-synching as most artists do, he was actually vocally singing the song on set with the camera rolling. His singing voice astounded Nicole, and she enthusiastically committed herself to managing them; not only are they super talented, but the boys also all work well together as a band. Since becoming their manager, Nicole helped them release an EP and a couple singles, executed a successful DIY tour, and booked all their shows for about 20 different cities. Not to mention, she also worked as their road manager, aka mom/cat herder.
Overall, the tour was fun and indie. When crashing at hotels, the 7 of them crammed into 1 room, occupying two beds, an air mattress, and the floor. The boys are like brothers to Nicole, while being very entertaining and easy to travel with. Their gnarly road stories include losing car keys, running out of gas on the highway, and driving through a snowstorm in NY.
For Nicole, it feels as though she’s always working 2-3 jobs at any given time. Even though she is already a co-founder/co-owner of Vibe Nashville and artist manager for Lost Stars, she is also working odd jobs with particularly flexible hours to supplement income. One of her grinds, which she regularly works Thurs-Sunday, is with a pedal tavern called Sprocket Rocket. Because hours are solely on weekends, Nicole has the ability to work as artist manager during the week. Not surprisingly, several other musicians and music industry folk work with her at the same company, so they are extremely lenient about giving time off, even weeks at a time, as long as someone else covers the hours.
At the time I interviewed Nicole, she had just returned from hustling a food truck tour job for a queso company.
The gig lasted for 5 weeks, so she needed to take a leave of absence from “Sprocket Rocket and The Drunk Bachelorette Parties,” but she was stoked to do it since she absolutely loves traveling. The food truck itself was brand spankin’ new, and Nicole basically assisted with driving the truck, handing out samples and swag at grocery stores in between doing product promo at events, including the Indy 500.
Juggling several projects at once is nothing new to Nicole. When she was in 4th grade, she played both the clarinet and the saxophone, she joined her school’s jazz band in High School, and she sang with her church choir, not to mention being able to play hand bells. In fact, her superlative in school was: “Most Likely To Be The Entire Tonight Show Band.”
Nicole has acquired and completed so many jobs through her 20-something life, as a matter of fact, that there was not enough room to include them all here.
She has vast experience and knowledge in several touring/promotion/assistant/administration music industry jobs, so if you need any more information about the business end of music, before you rake through annoyingly vague or excruciatingly specific articles on Google, give Nicole a shout! Bonus points if you’re an advocate for growing Nashville Pop like she is!
Interviewed and written by Andra Ingram