The Charger Blog

Music Industry Professor Excited to Share Experience with Students Studying in Nashville

Prof. Shea Fowler’s vast experience in the music industry includes everything from performing to publishing. She’s now sharing her experiences and connections with Chargers while teaching them at a leading recording studio in the Music City.

March 23, 2023

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Shea and Cameron Fowler
Shea Fowler and her brother Cameron Fowler, CEO of Digital Seat Media, showing off their QR code fan engagement platform at Spotify House at CMA Fest in 2022.

Prof. Shea Fowler has spent most of her life in the music industry, growing up as a performer and excelling in a career on the business side of music. Well-versed in all aspects of the industry – including artist management and marketing – she’s now sharing her expertise with tomorrow’s music industry leaders.

This semester, Fowler began teaching entrepreneurship to Chargers studying in Nashville as part of the University’s Study Away Program. While teaching at Blackbird Studio, a prestigious recording studio with which the University collaborates to offer the Study Away Program, Fowler has loved sharing her enthusiasm for the Music City and the music business.

“Entrepreneurship is exciting, because, when I was young, I thought I had to pick a lane, but I liked so many different facets of the industry,” she said. “Decades later, I have been able to create some of my own opportunities and encourage others to do the same, instead of simply doing it the way it’s always been done. I find things are more rewarding when you have to build something from the ground up, as I have had the privilege to do or help with in many instances.”

'Creating memorable experiences at shows'

Fowler started performing when she was just two years old. She modeled and performed, adding commercials, television, and film to her growing resume. A performer at heart, she went to Nashville when she was 15 years old, and she’d secured an artist development deal with Sony. Though it fell through and she continued to attend high school in Texas, it didn’t dampen her interest in pursuing a career in music. When she was in college, she branched off into another aspect of the music industry: the business side.

It was her first internship at Big Machine Label Group that sparked her passion for the business side of music – and led to a job in its artists and repertoire (A&R) department. It was, she says, a wonderful learning experience, as she saw all aspects of what it took to make an album.

After seeing what it took to launch artists such as Taylor Swift and Thomas Rhett, she moved to publishing. While working with Brett James, owner and CEO of Cornman Music, she learned about the independent and corporate sides of publishing and developing artists. Her artist management work helped her explore all sides of making and releasing an album independently.

“Each stop on Music Row really gave me valuable insight into the work of artists and their teams,” said Fowler, who also teaches a popular “Women in Entertainment” course she developed at Nashville’s Belmont University.

"Relationships are also a huge factor in your success, which is why I think programs such as this semester in Nashville are so valuable." Prof. Shea Fowler

Becoming a mother led Fowler to another shift, both in her priorities and in the trajectory of her career. Her brother Cameron Fowler was starting Digital Seat Media, a tech company for live event fan engagement. The siblings had always discussed collaborating, bringing their skills together to bridge tech, music, and entertainment. Though Cameron – and the company – was based in Texas, Fowler began working remotely. She now serves as the company’s vice president for music and entertainment, a role that enables her to leverage her contacts to grow the company in the entertainment space.

“The coolest thing about my current role is getting to come up with ideas for ways artists and brands can connect with their fans uniquely,” said Fowler. “This past year, we worked with Imagine Dragons' VIP program and Miranda Lambert’s Las Vegas residency. Both of those teams had different priorities and goals for how best to connect with the fans. We are enabling them to make those goals a reality while creating memorable experiences at shows.”

'The unique perspective University of New Haven students bring to the table'

The importance of connections is something Fowler endeavors to impart to her students. And, she believes, the Study Away Program is a great way for them to network in a city that’s critical to the music industry.

“Relationships are also a huge factor in your success, which is why I think programs such as this semester in Nashville are so valuable,” she said. “You get to be in the studio, in the classroom, and in the city with the people doing the work. The industry is always changing, so flexibility and creativity are also always key.”

Fowler’s time in the music industry has given her a variety of experiences in all facets of the industry, as well as valuable connections, that she’s sharing with her students. She relates to them as individuals hoping to be creative and trying to break into the business, and she’s excited to help them and offer her support. She’s excited to see the impact they’ll go on to make in the Music City.

“I love the unique perspective University of New Haven students bring to the table,” said Fowler. “Most of the students in the program this year want to work in some capacity in the studios, which is exciting because they bring a fresh feel to the city. Lots of people move to Nashville, but having a group all from the Northeast is special, and there is power in numbers.”