For about three months, I’ve been working at a company called Doozy in a cozy office in Chicago’s Lakeview neighbourhood. On a warm Monday evening in Chicago, I had the opportunity this week to talk to my boss, Brian Bender. Brian’s an interesting person to me, in that he has the ability to maintain composure and transition himself into contexts seamlessly as if on cue. The music industry has a thing of giving you a bunch of wildcards; personalities can clash, and arguments are bound to happen. Despite that, he’s always maintained a largely positive disposition with my colleagues and me throughout our tenure.
Doozy is defined in the dictionary as “something that’s outstanding or unique of its kind.” My boss officially started the company in November 2015, as a means of pursuing his own clients and a sense of agency in the industry. He wanted the name Doozy to be something along the lines of companies such as Yahoo, Google, and Uber. He wanted the work that the company provided to reflect the word’s definition while having fun. The interesting thing about the company is that word-of-mouth has gotten the company’s name as far as California!
My boss has been working at it with the music industry since his childhood. He first began when he watched a band cover Stairway to Heaven in middle school and watching the girls swoon over the boys playing it. His own idea was to make that happen but in business form. He’d rent out the Lincolnwood community center (his hometown here in Illinois) and sell shows, and play anywhere he could. The first club my boss played at happens to be two floors down from the company office, Elbo Room! Per Brian’s business model, it’s all about blending passion with business. It’s one thing to love music, but it’s also important to make it pay the bills.
One important lesson that I’ve learned (among three) during my tenure with Brian is the importance of ethics in the music industry. In music (and frankly, any aspect of life) it is important to go to bed knowing you did the right thing, and he has reminded my colleagues and me of that time and time again. This industry, in particular, is tough. While we haven’t been as affected as, say film and television, the #metoo movement has definitely left me skeptical about where doing the right thing gets me in life, and it’s reassuring to know that people like Brian do exist in these kinds of spaces. On top of that, gratitude is something that I’ve learned. One of my most vivid memories from the internship was coming to the office my second week. The issue was, however, that I came three hours early, and knocked on his door in the morning after a weekend shooting a music video in Vegas. He simply smiled, said, “I love you, you look great. Come back at 12.” Bizarre as it may have felt at first, there was something refreshing about having a boss tell you that that made waiting at a Whole Foods at 9 in the morning well worth it. On top of that, saving time is something I’ve learned to cherish. On this job, I’ve completed tasks, both big and small, to make things easier for my boss. This included excel sheets of 100 venues from 8 cities (due by the end of the day) to putting up flyers all over the city.
Currently, I am in the tail end of my internship, writing this as I’m working remotely in a Wicker Park coffee shop. I’m holding a cup of water in my hand, as I hear Vampire Weekend play in the background alongside the other chattering voices. I’m not sure what is to become of me within the next five years, or if I’ve truly made the most out of this Summer. But for what it’s worth, I’ll say that Brian has been an amazing person to work under, and working under him has taught me a lot about myself, both good and bad. The Summer prior, I was taught rigidity and regiment was the only way to thrive in media industries, but he shows that it doesn’t always have to be that way. He’s who I aspire to be in this industry, and I can’t wait to see what else his company has in store for this market.