Today we’d like to introduce you to Gelareh Rouzbehani.
Gelareh, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to the states in 95′. My father, who had a Masters in Engineering, had to start back from the very bottom. My mother was always creative, designing and altering clothes back home. It was a struggle coming to a country where we didn’t know the language or the culture. I was grateful that despite very tough circumstances, my parents always instilled confidence and value in me and my brother.
Education was something that was very important in our household. At the age of 10, my mother put me in piano lessons and I was not so happy about it. Learning theory and having homework!! Oh my! I ended up playing for years. One gift that I will never take for granted and am very proud of. So at an early age, music became a big part of me. In middle school, I began acting and doing plays. I was a part of History Day, a traveling competition speech team. In High School, I sang in the choir and played in the band. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up but I knew how music made me feel. I went to college and got my undergrad in Psychology. The itch to explore my creative passion was killing me. I knew no one in music so I decided to make a cover letter/resume for every label and publisher in the business. I took a day off my retail job to drive around and hand deliver them. I would get escorted out of all the big companies because they didn’t “accept unsolicited material.”
All I wanted was an opportunity. 2 weeks later- Warner Chappell publishing called me in for an interview. I became an intern there and learned the fundamentals of music publishing which would later go on to be very instrumental for me. From there, I landed an internship at Columbia Records and began to work my way up. While I was at Columbia, the President at the time, Ashley Newton, allowed me to go to grad school while I was interning. I would basically be at Sony 5 days a week and 2 of those days, leave early and drive to downtown LA for school. I ended up receiving my Master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology (Business Psych). While working in A&R @ Columbia Records, I learned the art and skill of making records and what it meant to truly be an A&R. I worked on a few high profile projects along with younger developing artists. 2 years ago, I left Sony and started my company (Rouz Group) where I represent amazing talent. The current focus is management but the company will branch out into publishing, label, and philanthropy.
Rouz Group was founded by Gelareh Rouzbehani, an A&R and music manager. Gelareh was exposed to the arts at a very young age, having started in theatre and shortly after transitioning into music. With a strict upbringing, her next step was to naturally go to med school or law school. Despite her liking for the law, Gelareh was set out to pursue her passion of music mixed with business…she received her undergrad BA in Clinical Psychology and her Masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. From there, Gelareh did A&R at Columbia Records eventually branching out to start her own company, ROUZ Group.
With a team of well-seasoned professionals, we offer our clients the traditional creative agency experience aligned with every outlet of an independent label. Based in the hub of the music industry (Los Angeles CA), Rouz Group is establishing a solid footprint for themselves as well as their clients.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never always just a smooth road. There are definitely lots of potholes along the way. Navigating through life isn’t easy so adding a business to that doesn’t make it less difficult. And if you’re a highly motivated person, that naturally adds stress. I work in a competitive industry so you always have to be on your toes, have great instincts, and know when to say yes vs. no.
Please tell us about Rouz Group.
My company is called Rouz Group. Currently focusing on music management (artists, writers, producers). We will branch out into publishing, label, and philanthropy. Every day is something different. Currently, I’m in the middle of closing a few important deals for my clients. We have some exciting releases coming out.
I am most proud of taking a leap of faith- leaving a company where I was comfortable receiving a steady paycheck to starting my own thing- the hustle is different. The gratification and reward are different.
I can’t say what sets me apart from other executives in this business because I don’t like to compare- we all have strengths and weaknesses and the important thing is to identify both. Once you know what you’re not great at, you can find people on your team who will fill in those holes and once you know your strengths, you can highlight them. I have a certain level of empathy that I feel is necessary and important in the role I play with creatives. My first priority is doing what is fair for my clients.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air religiously, every single day, which was the main source of learning English haaa…playing with the kids in my neighborhood, begging my parents to buy me a razor scooter, causing havoc haha
- Instagram: @geerouz
- Twitter: @geeeerouz
Main photo: Corey Loftus (@coreyloftus)
Solo photo at the bottom: Corey Loftus
Sitting in chair with black shirt: Dartagnon Raines (@docxreigns)