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Meet Cory Councill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cory Councill.

Cory, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Almost six years ago, I moved to LA without a job. I’d been working in radio and the service industry to make ends meet in Philly where my rent was close to $400 for an incredible top-floor room in a townhouse. Came here, I think with $1000 at best. Maybe 2K? Searched for jobs and finally got two interviews: one was to be a server at a restaurant, the other was to be an assistant at a Publicity firm. I was offered positions at both places on the same day. I went with the PR firm.

When I interviewed with Fifteen Minutes PR to be the executive assistant of Howard Bragman, I took a questionnaire about TV/celebs, etc. I knew nothing and kinda made a joke of it knowing that I’d flunked. Who are the morning anchors on GMA? Idk!

Bragman asked me what else I had to tell him, aside from the fact that I hadn’t watched TV in two years. How did he know? I didn’t have cable in Philly and was working all the time.

I did the classic movie-style monologue “I’m ready to take this on. I can do the job and do it well!” It worked and I did.

I learned an infinite amount from working with Howard Bragman and he treated me with sincere thoughtfulness that I reflect on more and more as I continue in my career.

After a few years, I realized that I wanted to get back to music. Bonnaroo festival in TN is my favorite thing in the world. Imagine thousands of people jamming to music, making friends with strangers and sharing positive vibes in the summer sun for a few days.

Big Hassle, founded by the incredible duo Ken Weinstein and Jim Merlis, has done the festival’s PR since day one. I knew I wanted to work with them or Superfly. I made a sticky note with “Big Hassle” and “Superfly” written on it that I kept in sight, held on to my vision, and it came to fruition.

A friend, who I’d seriously admired for their work in music, who had previously worked at Big Hassle, linked me up with Jim who heads up the LA office and was looking for an assistant. I had made it beyond assistant level but I wanted the job enough that I felt taking a step back would ultimately give me an opportunity to get ahead.

Showing up in a suit jacket, prepared for an intense interview, I found that the music world is quite different from the Hollywood celebrity PR. Though I’ve also come to find that the workload in music is never-ending. PR may not be ER, but it definitely has the same hours.

Big Hassle has brought me some major career highs – scoring features with Rolling Stone, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Billboard, etc. I’ve worked on a ton of projects that I feel passionate about and it’s exciting. I love seeing creative artists achieve the recognition they deserve. I’ve been in rooms with Kim K and Jackson Browne. It’s been a wild journey and throughout the ups and downs, it’s been a beautiful ride.

Outside of my work at Big Hassle, I’ve started a blog called August Afternoon (AugustAfternoonMusic.com). In early August, my closest friend Meghan Mills (check her art at meghancmills.com), suggested I start a blog to share my music recommends. And thus, in the latter half of that summer day, August Afternoon was born. My hope is that it’ll connect me with more people – artists and bands who want to be on the playlist or need publicity, as well as new friends who stumble upon the website and share an interest in music. I get such a buzz from meeting new people that I want to keep finding new extensions to make that happen. Right now, it’s Big Hassle and August Afternoon.

Follow me on Spotify (Search Cory Councill) and check out AugustAfternoonMusic.com. Let’s talk music.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life after moving to LA was a struggle. Uprooting your life on top of paying $800/month student loans and taking entry-level industry jobs to get your foot in the door can be tough.

When I first moved here, I slept on a loveseat couch sharing a studio apartment with a frienemy from Philly who became my absolute best friend and one of my favorite people. I owe him so much. I really owe him a new couch, tbh. Over some weeks of crammed sleeping on the couch, I broke it. I’ll always remember how excited I was to buy an air mattress.

As for work, the struggle to balance personal life, keep a positive mentality and still try to be the best at your job is a continual evolution. You always want to be top of your game but some days, you need to say to yourself “it’s just a job.” The main thing I’m trying to keep in mind, especially during quarantine, is that you have to take care of yourself so that you can perform well at work and be there for family/friends. Taking off for, let’s say, three hours in the evening to get some mental clarity with exercise or reading a book will likely benefit you and your work more than three more hours at the computer doing work.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
At Big Hassle, I work with a slew of bands on every level, from indie to major label, and from brand new, first single artists to legends who have 23 #1 albums. We’re known for our large roster that has every genre from rock to country, hip-hop and more. Our team is a small bunch, but we clearly love to work.

Personally, coming from a PR background in celebrity, fashion, brands, etc., I like to see what else we can get for our artists outside of the music columns. What are the artist’s extracurricular interests? Are they really into tech? Is there a local fashion brand they’re into? How can we make the most of this campaign?

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would either study architecture or oenology. When I was younger, I was very interested in architecture but hesitated in pursuing it because I figured the math would be too hard. Now I realize that essentially whatever you want to do, you can figure it out. “Fake it ‘til you make it” has been a successful motto for me.

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