I started to mold my life around music when I discovered the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, which has definitely been useful to my music career. Music was initially a hobby for me, but it's always been a life-long passion. I picked up the guitar at age 16 and never put it down. After college, I moved to Chicago in 1992 and began playing in coffeehouses singing covers and a few original tunes.
Singer Jamie O'Reilly has been a professional performer for over 25 years. Her she talks the nuts and bolts of how artists can steer their careers, how to be paid fairly for work done, and ways that successful negotiation can lead to better gigs and the right audiences.
I knew from a very early stage in life that I wanted to be a performing musician and nothing else. When I was in my late teens, studying violin, musical theater, and getting ready to attend Indiana University as a vocal performance major, I defined success as nothing less than being famous and having a lot of money as a result of performing. I pictured myself on stage, surrounded by adoring fans that would rush out to purchase my latest recording as soon as it became available. The music? Well, that was secondary to all the accolades and money.
About a year ago I began my tenure as Executive Director of The University of Chicago Presents (UCP), the University’s professional music presenting organization. It is my first time being the “boss” and I’m enjoying all aspects of it, from artistic planning and programming, which I’ve done for years, to fundraising and marketing, which are both firsts for me.