It’s not a stretch to say that Coachella Music & Arts Festival changed Natalie Koe’s life.
As a high school senior, Koe was preparing to enter the University of California, San Diego, to study engineering. But the festival experience – particularly the stages, production and music discovery – so affected her that she sought out the college programming board at UCSD, where she booked shows and festivals herself.
Now she’s a music agent at UTA, booking artists and impacting their careers professionally.
It wasn’t the easiest adjustment – in college, she was surrounded by people just like herself. In the business world, it can be a struggle to establish an identity when there aren’t many around who look like you.
“Early on, and still now, I found it hard to identify many agents that looked or felt like me. I’m a woman of color and although my communities have made extreme strides toward furthering diversity within our industry, we still sit in the minority,” Koe explains. “We’ve seen this with artists as well. It’s important to me to represent and advocate for diverse acts that I feel are pushing culture forward.
“Amplifying the voices and stories of those types of artists is and will always be a goal of mine,” she continues. “Additionally, mentoring the next generation of young agents who come from these underrepresented communities is a priority of mine.”
She’s been fortunate to have some great mentors herself, citing Sam Kirby Yoh and Matt Meyer as examples.
“Both have been champions of mine and believed in me before I believed in myself,” Koe says. “I started working with Matt as an intern at AM Only – he’s taught me how to always be a fierce advocate for my artists, work quickly but always strategically, and how to cultivate a team-oriented environment. I met Sam when I started at UTA – she’s taught me how to think more creatively at the 10,000-foot level and that the artist’s vision always comes first.”