Amazon’s country music executive shares what it’s like to work at her dream job

By | November 22, 2022

Michelle Tigard Kammerer – aka MTK – had her first introduction to nation music as a younger lady, listening to The Grand Ole Opry on the radio along with his grandfather.

“I realized to sing all of the songs, and my grandfather and I sang collectively,” she stated. “I bear in mind he as soon as requested me if I needed to sing on the Grand Ole Opry just like the superstars we heard on the radio. I stated, ‘No, grandpa, I would like Course the Opri.

MTK, who’s now head of nation music at Amazon Music, clarified that she did not essentially imply she needed to work on the Opry, the world-renowned nation music venue in Nashville, Tennessee, however slightly that she needed to be a part of the nation music trade.

“This music introduced a lot pleasure to me and my grandfather, and I used to be enthusiastic about sharing it with as many individuals as doable,” she stated.

His love of all issues nation – and the phrases of an early mentor to “comply with the music” – led MTK by the close-knit nation music trade to his present function in growing the style. nation for Amazon Music. She is now chargeable for serving to tens of millions of followers join with the music they love by enjoyable experiences like reside streams, award exhibits and merchandising campaigns.

“I knew what I needed from a younger age, and I am so fortunate to have the ability to reside out that dream right here at Amazon Music,” she stated.

We caught up with MTK to search out out extra about her profession and the way she bought to the place she is in the present day. Maintain studying to be taught extra about her profession highlights, her hilarious moments with nation icons, and the way she’s breaking new floor at Amazon.

An image of MTK working at a desk with large speakers surrounding it.  She looks behind her and has a coffee next to her on the desk.

Picture of Lucas Jackson

Meet his heroes

After practically twenty years of working at main expertise businesses and file labels, we knew MTK would have tales about assembly nation music’s greatest stars. What we did not count on was how a lot we laughed when she instructed us the story of assembly one in every of her heroes.

“Reba McEntire is the most important of the large ones to me. She’s from Oklahoma and I am from Kansas,” MTK defined, “So to me, she at all times represented that you would go away your small city and reside your goals. I used to be so excited once I had the prospect to satisfy her early in my profession at Artistic Artists Company (CAA).

McEntire was below contract with CAA on the time, and the workforce had the prospect to satisfy her after a listening session.

“It was my second – she was the queen of nation music and I used to be lastly going to satisfy her,” she stated. “Reba was standing in line to introduce herself to everybody, and I used to be getting increasingly more nervous and excited the nearer she bought to me. I used to be practising what I used to be going to say in my head. me and stated, ‘Hello, my title is Reba. Good to satisfy you.’ And I stated, ‘Hello, I am Stephanie. Wait, that is not my title. And I appeared on the flooring, I walked out of the room, I bought within the elevator, I bought in my automotive and left crying on the way in which residence.

Eight years handed earlier than MTK discovered the best alternative to redeem itself. She had been in the identical room as McEntire at many occasions for the reason that preliminary reunion, but it surely took a nudge from her boss at Large Machine Information to muster up the braveness to reintroduce herself.

MTK smiles for a photo with Reba McEntire.

“I used to be working within the press room on the Nation Music Awards when my boss walked in with a glance on his face that instructed me he was as much as one thing,” she stated. “There had been rumors that Reba was going to be there, and abruptly I get a faucet on the shoulder and I flip round and Reba says, ‘Hello, I am Reba. I heard you had a narrative to inform me.

Happily, McEntire discovered the scenario as hilarious as we did.

“She was laughing out loud and stated, ‘Nicely, let’s make it official. Lets go? Hello, I am Reba. Good to satisfy you.’ And I stated, ‘Hello, I am Michelle,'” MTK laughed. “She’s magical and fantastic and smells like rainbows and sunshine. That is what I will say about Reba McEntire.

Play an element in nation music historical past

Over the following years, MTK has grown accustomed to working alongside main artists, and their enthusiasm for serving to followers uncover new artists has solely grown stronger. Throughout her profession, she has been instrumental in launching hit songs and growing main bands, similar to Girl A and Florida Georgia Line.

“What’s so nice concerning the music neighborhood is that a number of us are shut mates who work collectively and have actual relationships,” she stated. “I used to be concerned within the discovery and growth of Girl A early in my profession at CAA, and we remained shut once they took off – they had been even at my marriage ceremony.”

MTK smiles for a photo with Lady A

“I additionally had the glory of peculiar Florida Georgia Line with a #1 plaque on stage at their sold-out live performance at Fenway Park. The music was “God, your mother and me” with the Backstreet Boys and so they had been on tour collectively, so I had the chance to be a part of the presentation. It’s a reward to share such particular moments with artists.

MTK, Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys smile for a photo on stage in front of a crowd holding the platinum plaque for the song the two bands wrote together.

Serving to artists obtain their goals is rewarding in itself, and MTK stated it actually comes full circle when followers join with the music she’s labored on.

“Generally I am on the grocery store and I hear somebody singing a music I have been engaged on, and I really feel so proud,” she stated. “I’m going again to this little lady who fell in love with nation music and I am so grateful to play even a small half in serving to followers join with the tales nation music has to inform.”

Innovating at Amazon Music

Since becoming a member of Amazon in 2021, MTK has led a proficient workforce with the objective of connecting extra followers with the music and artists they love, and so they’re off to an unimaginable begin. With head of nation programming Emily Cohen Belote, whom MTK calls “Golden Ears,” the Nation Warmth model on Amazon Music reached greater than 5 billion streams with its “Nation Warmth” playlist and podcast over the past yr solely. The workforce has additionally bolstered customer support choices by embracing rising nation stars like Bailey Zimmerman and BRELAND, and rising stars like Lainey Wilson.

“Being the Nation Chief at Amazon Music is so particular as a result of we are able to interact artists and share their music globally,” MTK stated. “We’re telling artists’ tales and connecting with followers in new methods utilizing Amazon’s big selection of providers.”

In its first yr with Amazon Music, MTK had the chance to work with groups from throughout the corporate to assist produce the Academy of Nation Music (ACM) present.

“Prime Video stepped up airtime for the ACM Awards this yr, and the nation music workforce was supportive as they labored to get all of it in place in file time,” she stated. “The timing was tight, and it was superb how many individuals at Amazon, from trend to Prime Video, music and Twitch, got here collectively so rapidly to maneuver a mountain. The truth that everybody effort was pushed by a ardour for music made it much more superb.We additionally labored with the superb Dolly Parton, who was a large extra.”

MTK smiles for a photo with Dolly Parton

It was the primary fully-streamed music awards present, and the streaming format made it simpler than ever for patrons to look at the present from their gadgets. His workforce additionally developed reside streams by Prime Video, Twitch and the Amazon Music app to provide followers entry to traditionally unique occasions, like album launch events and intimate exhibits.

“It is thrilling to have the ability to assist artists attain a a lot wider viewers once they launch new music, whereas serving to tens of millions of followers entry new experiences by streaming,” she stated. .

It is a number of work to develop a whole style for Amazon Music, however this step of constructing one thing to its full potential is precisely the type of problem MTK loves. As she continues to construct on her storied profession within the nation music trade, the sky is the restrict for what MTK and her workforce will convey to Amazon Music prospects subsequent.

“Little Michelle could be so proud if she might see how far she’s come,” she stated. “I used to look at exhibits just like the ACMs on TV and hearken to my favourite artists on the radio, and now I am working my dream job making followers fall in love with nation music. simpler than ever.”

Go behind the scenes with MTK