Juliette Jones could probably work for any industry company after interning and working for various industry outlets during her diversified industry career. She started in the industry as an intern in DC working for Arlinda Garrett. From there she went to NYC to continue interning at WBLS, she replaced Diddy who was leaving to go to Uptown Records. She also interned for Lionel Ridenour simultaneously with WBLS.
She credits hip hop music legend Funkmaster Flex with helping her get her first industry job. She started at Jive Records in 1994 and stayed with the company until 2001 holding several positions including Mid-Atlantic Regional, South-East Regional, National Director, and Senior National Director before departing. At that point she switched gears, moved to Los Angeles and went to work at HITS MAGAZINE, after a couple of years, she returned to NYC to once again work for Lionel Ridenour at Virgin records. Virgin converted to Capitol Records and in 2007 the late Ronnie Johnson joined the company. She became the Head of Urban Promotions for the first time under Johnson’s leadership. After Johnson passed in 2007, she left shortly thereafter, took an involuntary sabbatical and moved to Paris for a couple months.
After returning to the states she went to work for the “great and brilliant” Geo Bivins. From there she went to Warner Brothers Records to work with Joie Manda and Todd Moscowitz as the Head of Urban Promotions. That was the beginning of her current tenure at Warner Music Group.
You’ve worked in various positions in the industry and companies. Even a stint at HITS Magazine. What was it like to work at an industry trade?
Hits was completely different from Jive Records. California was totally different from NYC. I’d never lived there before. The whole culture in the office was very causal and relaxed, but it was very interesting to work on deadlines collaboratively, to put the magazine out while still working in and around the music business with a lot of my old colleagues. Working for Dennis Laventhal, Lenny Beer and Todd Hensley was incredibly educational and a lot of fun. They’re definitely entrepreneurial guys who’ve seen and done a lot in the music business. I really appreciated the tone and texture of Hits, as always a little bit tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t take itself too seriously. And that was definitely reflected in the environment in the office.
How important is it that industry people diversify their skills?
It’s important for anyone in any business to constantly learn and grow and change as the world changes, and as the business changes. That definitely applies to executives in the music business as well. There’s never a bad or downside to diversifying and broadening your skill set and your knowledge of different avenues of the business.
You’ve had a great year with artists like Cardi B breaking a record for a female rap artist in the last 20 years. How did that feel?
Cardi B breaking that Billboard Hot 100 record felt great. We were all ecstatic. She’s a super hard working young lady. She’s incredibly likable. As a woman, it’s always good to see a woman win. Particularly when there aren’t a lot of women who get the chance to run Promotions, and certainly we see it’s a 20-year record, there are not a lot of women who reach that level as a female MC on the chart, particularly on the Billboard Hot 100. It was great for Atlantic, great for our team, and great for girls all over.
Is her personality as great behind the scenes?
Yes, it is. She’s incredibly authentic and funny and grateful and really one of the hardest working artists I’ve ever met. I think that’s why everyone gravitates towards her and likes her so much—the authenticity and the hard work. I feel like she always
displays her gratitude in such a relatable way that all of us would be feeling like, “I can’t even believe this is happening to me. This is amazing.” She’s absolutely great behind the scenes. Tell us about some of your other artists. We definitely have a great roster of young artists. It’s an exciting time to work at Atlantic. It’s an exciting time to be at the forefront with all these young stars on the rise, like Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie as well as some of our veterans, Wiz Khalifa, Ty Dolla $ign, Meek Mill. We’ve talked about the great year Cardi’s been having, but Gucci Mane has been having a phenomenal year in his own right. We should all be so fortunate to have a year like either one of them. Gucci is so inspirational on so many levels, and to watch what he’s been able to accomplish since he came home is really personally inspiring, and I think for my team, it felt great to really be a part of his remarkable comeback and success. He’s another one who I think exemplifies his gratitude and appreciation for how his life is going all the time, which makes him so likable and makes it so easy for us to work hard for him. Lil Uzi is definitely his own person who’s a real artist—very groundbreaking and fascinating to watch because I think he really understands the culture of the generation in which he’s from.
Tell us about your management team.
I work for Julie Greenwald and Mike Kyser. They are both incredibly experienced and seasoned executives. What’s most noteworthy about the both of them is that after so many years in the music business at a very high level, they still have a passion for the culture and the music. They still love winning, and I think it shows in the results. I really appreciate that they allow me to work independently for the most part and provide help when I need it. It all starts at the top, and the results don’t lie. We’ve had an amazing year, and that’s definitely due to their collective leadership. What is the best advice you were ever given? That’s a tough one. I’ve been given a lot of really good advice. Early on, as it is with most young people in the industry, I grew up in the era of the convention. And of course, I was 20 years old, and I would get caught up in the excitement of the stars in the building, and in the lobby and all the celebrities. And that’s when people still used to dress up. Arlinda had a friend who had been a big radio personality in the 70s, George ‘Bugaloo’ Frazier. I met him when I was an intern, and the advice that he gave me was to remember that the artists couldn’t necessarily help me reach my goals if I wanted to be an executive, and to stay focused on what I wanted and that people who really believe in me would teach me to fish and not keep me begging. I never forgot that advice, and I think it served me quite well through the years.
What advice would you give a millennial entering the industry today?
The best advice I can give millennials from my experience working with them is: Put the time and effort into things that interest you and where you want to excel, and I think the results will show if you really apply yourself and put the time and effort in. If you’re in a position where you’re ready to make a change, just remember that all the experience and knowledge you gained along the way will result in you reaching your final destination. Every job may not be the perfect job at the perfect time, but each opportunity offers something to your personal and career growth along the path.