NECC Leads to Career in Music Publicity
Genesis Garcia was one semester into her freshman year at a private college when she realized something: there were more affordable avenues to a great education. While she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree, she also worried about the negative impact that a standard four-year experience could have on her financial health.
“After being there, I realized that it wasn’t the best decision financially,” she says.
It was in that moment that Garcia, then a Methuen resident, remembered Northern Essex Community College, which, at just a short drive away, offered a great avenue through which to complete all her general education requirements for a fraction of the cost.
By the spring of 2011, she enrolled in the college’s LA: Journalism/Communication Option program, with the hope of refining the skills needed to achieve her ultimate dream: a promising media career.
NECC was the better choice, she says, but it was not always easy. A first-generation college student, Garcia walked into her first semester with five courses and two part-time jobs, and often struggled to maintain a healthy balance between her personal life, work, and studies.
“I remember my first semester being challenging,” she says. “I worked my retail job on Tuesdays, Thursday, and weekends, and I worked as a janitor with my mom, cleaning offices, every evening Monday through Friday. Finding the time to do homework was hard, but I always had a goal in mind and that’s what kept me laser-focused on my studies.”
And that laser focus paid off. By 2012, Garcia had successfully completed all general requirements for her major and transferred to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where she went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in communication.
Since then, Garcia, who now lives in Brooklyn, NY, has enjoyed a rewarding career in music publicity, first at Def Jam Recordings, and later at RCA Records, where she serves in her current role as associate director of publicity, helping the flagship music label to promote artists.
“I work hand in hand with artists and their teams to develop a space in media that highlights the artist’s narrative and grows their audience,” she says of her work.
Garcia points to one campaign in particular that solidified her passion for the field. During her time at Def Jam Recordings, she had the opportunity to work closely with emerging hip hop artist 070 Shake, who was lauded as the “secret weapon” to Kanye West’s five-album run in 2018. It was Garcia’s job to find stories that would highlight her as an artist in her own right and pitch those stories to major magazines, including Clash Magazine, Billboard, Pitchfork, Vogue, and more. The articles that resulted gave 070 Shake a substantial boost in visibility.
“She received a four-star review from Rolling Stone, where they compared her to Pink Floyd and Frank Ocean,” Garcia notes. “To this day, it is still one of my favorite campaigns that I have ever worked on because, as a team, we built it brick by brick.”
Looking back on time at NECC, Garcia expresses gratitude for the many support services, including PACE, that helped her reach her long-time dream.
“The PACE program was great and helped me so much. I remember having a meeting with [PACE Program and TRIO Student Support Services Director] Kristin Arnold, who helped me plan out my classes semester by semester.”
It was the PACE program, she says, that also opened up the doors to the many scholarship award opportunities available at NECC each year. These went a long way in ensuring she could have the best and most affordable education possible.
“These scholarships that were worth $200, $500, etc. eventually added up and it helped me to buy books, school supplies, and a laptop,” she says.
Her advice to those who are just starting on their college journeys is to accept the inevitable road blocks and challenges that will come along the way.
“It’s okay to fail,” she says. “…Continue to put in the work and believe that all the energy you’re investing towards your goals will one day be reciprocated in abundance.”