While society seems to believe that one’s “influence” is directly correlated to the number of followers they have on Instagram, we chose a different (and dare I say, authentic) approach when choosing our Leading Ladies. The women featured in our summer series, The Women’s Edit, are women who are true trailblazers in our beautiful, booming city. We wanted to highlight women who, like us, are creatives seeking to add more life and love to our community. The Women’s Edit is a salute to those making their own way, setting trends we want to follow and shifting how Nashville is viewed by the outside world. This forward-thinking group of women makes us want to do more, to be better and to challenge ourselves to tackle something new.
This week’s Lady of the Moment?
Marcie Allen | President of MAC Presents
The Nashville Edit: You’re the founder of MAC Presents, a company devoted to bringing brands and bands together. Tell us a little about how your vision for this started.
Marcie Allen: It started when the stars aligned on a couple of things. I was brainstorming to find a niche that did not yet exist in the music industry. I knew I did not want to be an agent. I knew I wanted to work with artists to build meaningful brand partnerships. Music saved me more times in my life than I can count. My first memory of music was standing on my tiptoes at my mother’s house to turn up the volume knob on a Bob Dylan record. Flash forward years later when Tim McGraw reveals that his first date with Faith Hill involved a red Jeep Wrangler. It clicked from there, and soon my team had brokered a partnership between Jeep, Tim, and Faith. I was off to the races and have not stopped since.
TNE: Which came first, your knowledge of the music industry or the branding industry? Which one has your heart more?
MA: Music is an integral part of who I am. My aunt works for Charlie Daniels and has since she was fresh out of college. My grandfather was a famous disc jockey at WLAC. Music was my first love. Branding is a fun spin-off and a natural alliance with music. Brands need music to connect to certain audiences who appreciate what they stand for and what they offer.
TNE: What makes a good band-brand collaboration?
MA: A good collaboration is simply when both sides feel like they are getting the best side of the deal. Just like a marriage. Sometimes the brand and the band wouldn’t seem to be a match, but it works because both sides are “working it.” The results can be surprising and stunning.
TNE: You have a home in Manhattan, as well as Nashville. How do you create balance with that dual lifestyle?
MA: Communication and a meticulous color-coded calendar. I spend a lot of time in the air. It is worth it.
TNE: Speaking of traveling back and forth, what’s the one thing that is always in your carry-on?
MA: Sunglasses. Headphones. Passport. Red lipstick. That is more than one, but as I said, preparation is key on the road.
TNE: What’s your favorite thing about living in Nashville?
MA: My backyard. Nashville is where I go to unplug and listen to the sounds of my family making memories. Of course, there is always music playing too. My stepdaughters are always up for debating whether or not we are listening to the next big act. Nashville is growing fast… too fast, most would say. To me, it still feels like the town where I grew up, the house where music is always playing unless we are sleeping.
TNE: How do you start your mornings?
MA: I start my day with a half hour of reading news on my phone and heading to Soul Cycle. I also start it with personal calls to connect with loved ones because it is too easy to wait until the end of the day when you are too spent to give the people who matter most a bit of time and attention.
TNE: What do you think are some challenges that female founders and business owners face today?
MA: Let’s just say the ‘Old Boys Club’ does not just exist in the south. We have to speak louder and stand taller to be heard. Fortunately, I feel like my team’s work speaks for itself, so it’s less about my gender and more about my work product. Anytime I raise my voice or fire a missive at someone who is acting like it is still 1960, I have peace about such an approach because it is not for me—it is for the women who come AFTER me.
TNE: Any advice for female entrepreneurs who are trying to break into the music industry?
MA: Ask for the meeting. Hand write thank you notes. Be prepared for 100 “no”‘s for every one “yes”. Be loyal to the people you meet on the way up. Stay in touch with the newest generation of music listeners. They are the pulse that you need to constantly read.
TNE: The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum recently honored you with its 12th annual Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum, recognizing you as a music industry leader who continues the legacy of Louise Scruggs, a formidable businesswoman and trailblazer who set new professional standards in artist management. What was it like to receive this honor?
MA: It was definitely a pinnacle of my career to share the stage that night with my Aunt Bebe. The audience was full of people from my childhood all the way to recent relationships formed in the music industry. I am pretty sure that my late grandfather and grandmother, Nancy and Hoss Allen, were smiling down big that night. We could all feel their presence in the room as we talked about childhood under their roof. That night might be a hard one to beat.
TNE: You were recently featured in Forbes, no big deal. Can you give us a glimpse into what’s next for your company?
MA: My goal for our team going forward is to make sure that each person in the MAC Presents brainstorm sessions sees themselves as visionary. I deliberately hire people who are smarter and more creative than me because we want to push through boundaries on the experiences that can be had between the brand and artist. We are working on some projects that utilize social media in new ways. We want each partnership to feel innovative and meaningful. Follow our hashtag #MAConthemove to get the latest.
TNE: How do you see the future of artist sponsorships going?
MA: Musicians will never earn what they used to earn from record sales and merch again. I do not have a formula nor is there an algorithm for reading the crystal ball of the future. If you had told us twenty years ago that most music would be streamed to listeners, song by song, we would have rolled our eyes. But here we are. Where we will go next is going to have technology in the driver’s seat. We will be along for the ride, hopefully grabbing the steering wheel for a spell.
TNE: You’re also one of the rare Nashville natives. What are some positives about the city’s changes? Negatives?
MA: Positives: Everyone knows how cool Nashville is. Negatives: Everyone knows how cool Nashville is.
This or That:
Manhattan Summers / Nashville Summers
Brentwood / West Nashville
A Night Out / A Night at Home
Coffee / Wine