An Interview with Music Entrepreneur Roanne Mesirow of Mezz Entertainment
Mezz Entertainment is a female-owned and operated management and consulting agency that primarily works with musicians, DJs, producers, and visual artists. They are based out of New York City and work with clients in surrounding areas and in other cities such as LA and Miami. At Mezz, the main goal is to assist with making clients’ creative vision come to fruition. They support developing, mid-career, and established talent with their demands through creative direction, brand building, social media management, promotion, and event production. They’ve signed deals with Grammy Award-Winning music producers, formed brand relationships with a diverse range of high-end businesses, booked artists for performances around the United States, and coordinated interviews with radio shows, podcasts, magazines, and blogs.
Tell us in your words, about your inspiring story? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
My name is Roanne Mesirow and I am the Founder and CEO of Mezz Entertainment. Growing up in Chicago, I was constantly surrounded by music and art and early on, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. I studied business at the University of Redlands in California and lived in France for a year working in fashion PR. After college, I decided to move to New York City with no plan. I had multiple jobs that ranged from working at a high-end jewelry store, to William Morris, to corporate sales, to event planning at the Ace Hotel.
Moving to New York City pushed me into many different career paths but I always found myself returning to my love for hip-hop. The work ethic and stories of artists such as 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Eminem inspired me to get involved in the music industry. I felt like my previous jobs I had were truly just jobs, and I wanted to be enjoying what I was doing. While working in event planning, a co-worker of mine suggested I go into artist management because of how on top of my work I was. I sat with the idea for a while and decided to go for it. Without any prior experience, but simply a passion for connection, I started Mezz Entertainment in 2017. Eventually, when I met my first client, it clicked, because helping her with her career didn’t feel like work to me. Someone told me a long time ago that if your job doesn’t feel like work, then you’ve won.
How do you use social media in your business?
We advertise the company, our clients, events, and our playlists on social media channels such as Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Our playlists on SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube are updated weekly with music from emerging artists who submit their tunes, which has been a terrific way to develop a community of musicians and music fans. Additionally, we send out monthly newsletters through email recapping events, what is going on at Mezz, and client news to keep everyone up to date. We will occasionally run social media advertising to promote our services, client events, and/or new releases. Our team works hard to remain on top of new trends and to keep our platforms fresh with relevant and exciting content.
We all face challenges, but looking back, what have been some of the biggest challenges and pitfalls you’ve had to navigate?
Building my staff and getting clients was one of the most difficult hurdles I had when beginning Mezz. It was challenging to locate people who saw the vision in the firm and sincerely wanted to be a part of it as the company emerged from scratch with no financial backing or connections. However, I was able to hire a few college students as interns, and we now have built an incredible internship program with over 30 students from all over the world. It is also essential to STAY OUTSIDE when looking for clients and creating relationships. Attend as many as possible events, conventions, and showcases that come your way. Go ahead and take it! You never know what is going to happen or who you will meet. It only takes one excellent connection to get you started and bring you to where you want to go. Much easier said than done, but do not let fear prevent you from attending a social event. We must learn and practice being comfortable with discomfort as this is where the real growth occurs and, more importantly, how our network expands.
Another big challenge I faced and still do at times is running a female- owned business in a male-dominated industry. I felt like I had to really prove myself, but this made me work even harder to help get opportunities for my clients. I frequently encounter sexist remarks at events or when meeting new people, and it is awful that women still have to cope with this. This drives me to be relentless in my efforts to empower women all over the world, regardless of industry. I want to be a mentor to young female entrepreneurs and share my experiences and tales with them. I believe it is critical that more women receive the recognition they deserve and are given opportunity to advance to higher-level positions.
What are the three most important habits to be a successful entrepreneur?
1. Ability to pivot-you never know what will be thrown at you.
2. Have a solid morning routine- meditate, reflect, exercise.
3. Not being afraid to make mistakes.
4. Stay organized and make to-do lists.
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up early, walk my dog, meditate, exercise, check emails, connect with staff, conference calls, zoom meetings, check in with clients, coffee meetings, more emails, and go to networking events or client events.
How do you boost your self-esteem in moments of doubt?
I call mentors, I listen to positive affirmations, I call people who believe in me, I look at how far I’ve come, and I pray.
Which female leader do you admire, and why?
Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Founder and CEO of Bumble. When she was confronted with sexual harassment, Whitney rose to her feet and empowered women. Due to a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint, she resigned her position as Tinder’s vice president of marketing and launched Bumble, a dating app where women make the first move and harassment is strictly enforced. Bumble is currently the second most popular dating app, with a valuation in the billions of dollars. Bumble went public in 2021, making her one of the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire and the youngest woman to take a company public. She often speaks to and advises other female entrepreneurs, and as a result of her leadership, Bumble’s board of directors is made up of 70% women.
Another female leader I admire is Sara Blakely, the Founder and sole owner of multi-million-dollar shapewear line SPANX. Sara Blakely is one of the world’s youngest female self-made billionaires, according to Forbes. She frequently mentions that one of the most important lessons she learned while creating her company was to embrace failure. She holds ‘Oops’ meetings regularly with her employees to examine their shortcomings and what they may learn from them. Her leadership style is frequently laissez-faire. She trusts her staff to complete their tasks with minimum supervision. She fosters failure and innovation, enabling employees to put their ideas, experience, and resources to use.
A few of my favorite Sara Blakely quotes are:
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”
“If you can create a culture where [your employees] are not terrified to fail or make a mistake, then they’re going to be highly productive and more innovative”.
Do you have a favorite quote or motto that inspires you?
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” ~ Babe Ruth
“Weaknesses are just strengths in the wrong environment.” ~ Marianne Cantwell
“It is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission.” ~ Grace Murray Hopper
Want more inspiring interviews? Read about Angela Gargano’s Guide to Meaningful Entrepreneurship and Dr. Sonia Chopra’s Toothaches to Triumph Story of Struggles and Success, or how Kseniia Chursina is Expanding her Business and Empowering Women, part of our interview series spotlighting successful women in business.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?