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BREADCRUMB

A DREAM JOB IN CHICAGO

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April 9, 2024

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here

Siena Moccia says it was the strong academics at Notre Dame Prep that gave her a big head start in college. But it was NDP's inspiring music and art program, she noted, that set her up for a career working on the biggest and most prestigious music festivals in the world.


Two thousand nineteen Notre Dame Prep alum Siena Moccia took a major bundle of AP classes in high school, which no doubt helped get her into Columbia College Chicago, ranked as one of the most innovative schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. But it was NDP's curriculum offerings in the arts that she said inspired a now blossoming and successful career in the international music industry.

That's because Moccia currently is working in Chicago and booking artists for music festivals that include Lollapalooza, Coachella, and the Governors Ball in New York City among many others.

Her work at Wasserman Music's Chicago office puts her right in the middle of some of the largest music events in the U.S. and Canada, helping to sell artists such as SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons, Steve Miller Band, Foreigner, Noah Kahan and thousands of other clients to festival bookers. She primarily works on the contracting and marketing side of things and then gets to travel across America over the summer to watch the deals she's worked on come to fruition.

She also maintains Appealing Orange Records, a company grown out of a college business class that, she said, was much like one she had taken at Notre Dame Prep.

Moccia was interviewed recently by NDP's IRISH magazine where she recounted four years of "wonderful" classes, teachers and classmates at Prep. She also provided an update on post-NDP life in college and in an enviable career rubbing elbows with the glitterati behind today's most popular music.

NOTE: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


IRISH magazine: Where did you attend college and what did you study?

Siena Moccia: I studied at Columbia College Chicago, graduating in December of 2022 with a degree in music business, a concentration in live and touring and a minor in pre-law. Due to all my AP credits from NDP, I was able to graduate a semester early.

IRISH: Can you talk about how your time at NDP fostered your love of music?

Moccia: I was heavily involved in the music program at NDP for all four years, doing theater year-round (musicals, spring plays, MIFA) and I took AP music theory, women's chorus and chamber choir, and Mr. Martin's intro to music my freshman year where I learned how to play bass. As much as I loved the rest of my classes, having those couple of hours a day dedicated to music and performance was so important to me. I grew up playing piano and guitar, taking a few lessons here and there, but being able to continue my studies in music throughout my high school years really allowed me to connect with some extremely talented musicians who I still keep in contact with in my own professional career. 

IRISH: Do you still play guitar or piano?

Moccia: Although I haven't been keeping up with practicing music through my college/professional career, having that foundational knowledge of what goes into being a musician and what is necessary in a live production has definitely factored into my professional career. Being around the production folks throughout the musicals and choir concerts at NDP gave me an understanding of what is necessary for the large-scale festival deals I handle now. Whether an artist needs specific audio equipment, rigging, lighting, etc., for their set at Lollapalooza or Coachella, all of that knowledge began during my years in high school. 

IRISH: So even though you spent a great deal of time when you were younger playing and singing, when did it become apparent that you were going to concentrate on the business side of music?

Moccia: Throughout my time in high school, I basically already knew that I wasn't going to go into making music. I enjoyed music and performing, but I enjoyed going to live shows and concerts even more. I grew up going to shows in the Detroit area with my mom, who had grown up attending the same venues in high school and in her 20s. Some of my favorite venues were The Crofoot in Pontiac, St. Andrew's Hall, Fillmore Detroit and The Masonic Temple. These shows also inspired me to research possible career paths that were still in music — but with a more stable environment and cash flow.

A 2019 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, Siena Moccia said her high school education set her up well for studies at Columbia College Chicago.


IRISH: What else besides music at NDP do you especially recall?

Moccia: When I look back on my high school experience, I'm so glad I ended up at NDP. I had a choice between going to Oxford High School and Notre Dame Prep since I went to St. Joseph in Lake Orion from kindergarten through 8th grade. I chose Notre Dame Prep because I knew I needed a curriculum that challenged me. And the classes definitely were challenging, but it was taking on such challenges that basically set me up with such an insane drive to succeed in whatever I put my mind to. I recall that when speaking to any of the NDP teachers about my plan to work in the music industry, it was always met with interest and support.

IRISH: What about the Notre Dame Prep community as a whole — the people you encountered during your time in high school?

Moccia: I remember all of the people I met at NDP extremely fondly: the friends, teachers, staff — everybody. My peers I studied alongside were all extremely intelligent, funny, caring and like me were always open to learning something new. I found a wonderful group of friends who I'm still best friends with five years later. We were focused on the arts in high school and sure enough, we all ended up focused on the arts in college. Abbey Kot NDP'19 followed me to Columbia to study art history; Bella Ignagni NDP'18 went to CCS to study graphic design; and Grace Mersino NDP'19 went to Belmont University after focusing on music at NDP as well. 

One of my favorite teachers from my time at NDP was Ms. McGinnis and her coffee and tea area in her classroom. Abbey [Kot] and I looked forward to our chemistry class every morning because not only did we need our caffeine, we adored her class, her teaching style and overall how much she cared about her students. Mr. Devine was great as well. I took all my art classes except for AP art history with him and he really helped me realize that I have an eye for art as well. 

I also loved Mr. Kator's business class; our semester-long project was to create a business plan for a product or business and then present it as if we were in the "Shark Tank" at the end of the semester. My project was not music business related, but having that foundational understanding for business and having done a business plan in high school really helped me in all of my business classes throughout my time at Columbia. Ms. Gifford (Scott) and Mr. Fazzini also contributed a lot to my love for music and performing. They were a constant support system while I figured out what I wanted to do in the industry after high school.

IRISH: What was your class load like at NDP?

Moccia: Once I became a junior, I was taking a majority AP class curriculum. I took AP music theory, AP language and composition, AP psychology, and AP art history. Outside of the AP classes, I also took some regular classes, such as accounting with Ms. Beauchamp, business with Mr. Kator, and several other arts and music classes. 

IRISH: What is Appealing Orange Records all about?

Moccia: One of my first projects in college was to create a business and pitch it to the class. The project was not unlike one I took at NDP with Mr. Kator.  For the project, I made a "fake" record label/management company called "Appealing Orange Records," which was a record label/management company for the musicians I met along the way. The first few artists I worked with were go:virgo, Shane Verkest, and a ska band I worked with outside of Elgin, Ill., named Black Square. go:virgo actually was Adam Anderson's NDP'19 music project. For the class, I had made a blog on Tumblr where I would post curated playlists, interviews with smaller Detroit and Chicago artists I was listening to at the time, and post any updates I had on the artists I worked with. After the final class, the professor said he would pay to host my website professionally because he saw potential. The official website is here: https://appealingorange.com/. Soon my "fake" record label turned into a real one!
 

Moccia visits many music festivals across the country during the summer months.


IRISH: Regarding Wasserman, the company you currently work for, how did you find that position? 

Moccia: I was a part of a Facebook group called "Girls Behind the Rock Scene," a resource for women working in the music industry. Someone had posted that one of the agents, Tom Windish, who works on Billie Eilish, was looking for an assistant. I had applied to that job and their summer internship and ended up landing the internship after leveraging my experience of running Appealing Orange. I interned full time under Tom Windish, Sam Hunt (works on Diplo, 100 gecs, DIESEL, Gucci Mane, Marshmello, Missy Elliot, etc.), and Brad Owen (ex-talent buyer of Smart Bar, agent for Dillon Francis, SIDEPIECE, etc.).

I still had one more semester of school when my summer internship ended, but luckily I had made such an impression in my time as an intern that they reached out to me in September 2022 and offered me my current full-time position as a festival agent assistant. Now a year and a half into this position, almost two years overall with the company, and I love the life I live in Chicago.

IRISH: What is a typical day or week or month like at Wasserman?

Moccia: The job can be tough at times; the music industry is not for the weak. I work on the offers that my agent brings in, writing up confirmations, building contracts, redlining buyer-signed contracts, coordinating festival announcements and marketing with the artist teams September through May. Then, over the summer, I get to see the deals I worked on play out! Last year, I went to Coachella, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, ARC Music Festival and Riot Festival. This year, I will be headed to BottleRock Napa Valley, where we handle Ed Sheeran's headline performance; Bonnaroo, where we handled Fred Again's headline performance; Lollapalooza, where we handled SZA's headline performance; and a few more here and there. 

I work on around 100 festivals per year, ranging from 1-50 deals per festival, so lots of work to be done prior to the beginning of the festival season! 

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School 
Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.