Brian: On DC Music Rocks we're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's music scene. And so let's get to know one of those incredible people which is Director Angie Gates, who serves as the Director of Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. And I know people must ... That's a mouthful, I know they must give you a hard time about the long name.
Angie G: Yes. Just the Entertainment Office, all things entertainment.
Brian: Entertainment, I love it. And she began her career as a film specialist for the New Orleans Film Commission, and her film projects included Interview With A Vampire and Pelican Brief, which you might have heard of before. I recognize those names, that's exciting. She is a former Associate General Manager of the historic Saenger Theatre located in New Orleans, and she previously served as Director of Engagement Relations and Marketing for the theatrical division of Clear Channel Entertainment. But Gates made history as the first African-American General Manager of the historic Warner Theatre located right here in the heart of the nation's capital. So amazing things going on in this incredible woman's background here. She's an alumni of the University of New Orleans, and serves as a board member of the New Orleans Theatre Association and the Negro Hall of Fame. And she's also, as she mentioned, a member of the Recording Academy here in DC.
So, I first came across Angie and the Office when I was putting together the local music calendar on the website for DC Music Rocks. And they were kind enough to help me with the funding to help get the coders to create this amazing resource that I've been able to build so it is, first and foremost, I finally get to say to you, thank you so much for helping me with that and that opportunity. And listeners, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Director Angie Gates.
Angie G: Well, I'm delighted to be here. That's an impressive background. I did those things?
Brian: You sound pretty incredible, right? And here you are.
Angie G: But I'm glad we were able to support on the calendar, DC is musical icon city. Coming from a background with my father being a musician, it's just amazing to be able to be here and be in this role and be able to play a part to move the dial forward for the musicians here locally.
Brian: Yeah. Now, so talk about ... The first and most important thing I want you to share is talk about the amazing things you guys are doing to support the music community here in DC. Because I don't think people realize just what that ... How much you support. So share with that.
Angie G: We're doing a lot. We're doing a lot. What was important was to first listen to the music community and find out what the community felt was missing, ways that we could help, ways we could bridge the gap to help push the musicians forward. Not only locally, but to create a presence for them regionally and nationally.
So at our office we do a few things. Not only through our networks, DCN, we have the Sound where we highlight local artists. We also have the 202, which is a new original programming. We also have Display, where we showcase videos. So I would love for any of the musicians who have videos to send them to us so we can air those. But we have dedicated ... And I have to give a shout out to our wonderful mayor, Mayor Muriel Bowser, she has the month of September dedicated to 202Creates, so we have a website, 202Creates.com, #202Creates has done 58.6 million impressions, but that's our way to dedicate an entire month to the creative community and highlight musicians.
Brian: And what kinds of things do people possibly can they look forward to to that September 202Creates? What does that mean?
Angie G: Well, it's all about the creatives. It's all about the artists that we have. We make sure that we highlight the musicians and the creatives in all eight wards. We showcase and provide sponsorships. We highlight marketing opportunities and interviews, provide marketing opportunities where they can promote their craft via the electronic media kit, things of that nature. But we actually go out to the community, so we're ... The community and the musicians in DC have a seat at the table. As the Director, I'm not making the decisions, I'm responsible for executing them.
Brian: Got it. And if folks want to ... You said there's a website? Or if they want to find out more about this 202Creates thing, where do they go?
Angie G: So, we have a website, 202Creates.com. And you can also find out more information about our agency and what our agency is doing at entertainment.dc.gov, and follow us on Twitter at entertain_dc. And we also have our Facebook page, Entertain DC.
Brian: Got it. And Instagram. You guys are pretty active on the social media, I've been following for awhile and that's exciting. Now talk about where music came into your life. Because when we went through your impressive resume that we shared, and we only shared a part of that, by the way, check out more ... We're going to have her full bio on the write up for this episode and also on entertainment.dc.gov you can find out more about Director Gates. Talk about where music came into your life or how music has influenced your life.
Angie G: So, music is just part of who I am. It's part of my DNA. So my dad was a jazz saxophonist, he played the keyboards, he played the clarinet, he went to a historic black college, Jackson State, known as the Sonic Boom, so I think I was listening to music before I actually was birthed. When my mom would be on the road with my dad at different gigs, I think-
Brian: You were in the womb, you were rocking [crosstalk 00:05:40].
Angie G: In the womb I was rocking it out.
Brian: I love it.
Angie G: So, from the time I can remember, as far back, my dad would do his rehearsals and his gigs. He would do rehearsals at our house, so I would be in the living room rocking out, hitting my little keyboard as he was performing. So it's been a part of who I am. I also think that music is the universal language, so it's allowed me culturally to be able to identify with my various walks in life. I mean, when I was in New Orleans I was with Cash Money, I did the very first Cash Money concert. So, you switch over here and now I'm rocking out to Go-Go, and had an opportunity to work with the legendary Chuck Brown, recently Rare Essence. So it's a part of who I am. Without music, I'm non-existent.
Brian: Did you ever play instruments or ... ? Or was it like the influence- ?
Angie G: Oh, I'm a great air guitarist. And I play a mean tambourine, if you want.
Brian: There it is. Oh my God, the tambourine. And you said a mean air guitarist. I almost want to ask you what song? What song comes to mind for playing air guitar? Somehow I think there's a picture in your mind when you said that, of you playing, was it to a song or something? That's a memory, I mean ...
Angie G: So, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, I would always rock out to. And a little hidden secret with me, when I wake up in the morning I'll turn on the radio or play something on Pandora, and I'm just dancing. It's a constant concert going on in my head.
Brian: I feel like it's like a T-shirt we should put out, like, "It's a constant concert going on in my head." Oh, it's so good. I think the musicians would love that for sure.
So what about you outside ... So, you've got this whole ... You're Director of this incredible organization, you're doing great things around DC, when it comes to outside of work and like your hobbies and your personal life, who's Angie outside of work?
Angie G: So, I would say this. I've learned to do a little bit better with my work life balance. I enjoy cooking. I really have an appreciation for quiet time. So I think I, for years, would have never-ending days, so in the world of entertainment you would start ten, eleven o'clock, your night might not end until one or two o'clock in the morning. So I would have never-ending days all the time. But for now I really take time and I sit back and reflect. I love being with my family and friends, that's very, very important to me. But cooking, I exercise, so I wake up every morning and I'm on Capital Bikeshare. I ride about-
Brian: Is that how you get to work? Or are you exercising?
Angie G: No, that's my exercise. I take the train, I had a Camry for 23 years, it finally died on me, and I said, "We have great transportation here in the District of Columbia," so I hop on the train, I hop on the bus. And Capital Bikeshare, I ride it every day. I do about seven miles a day.
Brian: Oh my goodness, and you're exercising ... You ain't kidding about the exercise because those Bikeshare bikes are heavy bikes, so you get some workout.
Angie G: They are very ... They are heavy, they are heavy. And our rec centers in DC have great aquatic centers, and so I'll do that as well. But, you know, just talking walks throughout the Capital Hill area, that's where I live. And just being with my neighbors, family and friends. I have a true appreciation for that.
Brian: Wow, that's ... And I appreciate that you use the public transit system that we all use, I say, because it just is ... Well, that's encouraging to hear. So I appreciate that.
Angie G: And I listen to my music along the way.
Brian: That's right, you got the headphones in and there's something ... I don't know, I'm on the fence, because I feel like on Bikeshare you can use one earphone and that's still okay because you still hear the traffic but then you can still hear the music? I don't know what the law says about that.
Angie G: And always wear a helmet. Always wear a helmet.
Brian: Yes. Wear a helmet. Absolutely. All right, so now what about ... Biggest success moment that comes to mind when you think about the amazing things you've been doing with the DC government. What comes to mind?
Angie G: A few things. Being able to be on the journey with Mayor Bowser, prior to my position I was her traveling Chief of Staff, and I was also the Operations Director when the government transitioned, so that was a big success because it was like almost reading a novel every day. And then all of a sudden it's inauguration and you're in the moment of the hard work and everything that you experienced. It's also very beneficial to me being here in DC. When I was in New Orleans, I left one entertainment venue and came here, and Katrina happened maybe about a year after I was in this area, but I was heading back to New Orleans. And the way that the DC community embraced me during that time, like ... Even though I lost what I thought was home, well DC really is home. And the welcoming that I got, not only from the musicians and the creative community, but just the people here collectively as a whole. To me that's success. To me that's success, to build those type of lifelong relationships as well. So it's twofold.
Brian: So, I take it from what you're saying then you're not going to be going back to New Orleans, you're going to stick around DC for a little while?
Angie G: I'm going to stick around DC for awhile longer.
Brian: All right. I dig it.
Angie G: I like this city.
Brian: We get to keep her, guys. This is exciting. For at least a little while. Now, one of the things I want to make sure that ... Well, I've got two questions that I want to ask. The first question is the same question that I always ask every ... It's one of my favorite ones to ask, and that is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Angie G: Don't give up. So I think, especially in the entertainment industry, there's a lot of competition. There's going to be always someone that tells you you're not good enough. You didn't make this group. You're not going to get this opportunity to perform. And it's very, very important not to give up because it can become very discouraging. Sometimes you even have to change the people around you. That's another piece of advice I want to give you. If you're in a circle of negativity or people are not trying to lift you up to say, "Look, you can do this, you just have to work hard," but more importantly, it's that moment when you're like, "This is it. I'm throwing in the towel. I'm not going to do this anymore. I've heard no for the final time. There's no opportunities for me." Just think back to this moment and hear my voice saying, "Don't give up," because it's going to be that pivotal time where things will change. So you just can't give up.
Brian: And you're talking like that's from some personal experience, too.
Angie G: Oh, absolutely.
Brian: What comes to mind when you think about that when a time when you didn't give up?
Angie G: So, I can think of several. But I think a few things have been ... And I'll just tell you a quick, quick funny story. I was on tour at one point, and you're only as good as your next tour, that applies to musicians, that applies to the promoter, you're only as good as your next tour. So when the tour ends, that's a wrap. So I was in a situation where the tour had ended and-
Brian: And you were on tour in what capacity?
Angie G: So, Clear Channel at that time focused on the Broadway Theatre Series, but also there was an Urban Theatre Series. So a lot of the Urban Theatre, like your David Talberts who's actually from this area, Tyler Perry, a lot of musicians also perform as actors ad actresses in those type of productions. So I was the producer and the promoter for those events.
So when the tour ended, I didn't have a job. And I remember finally thinking I was going to get this great job down in Mississippi as the Entertainment Director for a casino. I could do that with my eyes closed. I was like, "Oh, I'm winning. I got the gig." They basically had said I had the job. And then I had to take this test. And I've always been horrible at standardized tests, even in elementary school, like the CAT exam. I took the ACT, made a 14, then took a prep course for the ACT and got a 12. That's how bad it was. But I took the standardized test and out of a rating of 100% I scored a 20%. It was based on this trust factor, or this honesty component, something crazy. And I remember just feeling so shattered, and just, I'm like, "I can't ..." So not only could I not get that job, but I couldn't even work at the casino. I couldn't even be a bartender or a cocktail waitress or work at any of the restaurants. So, to have a Master's degree at that time, to have graduated summa cum laude, to have run these various venues and then have the reality that you can't even go work at the pastry shop, that was devastating. And I really thought it was the worst, but I came back with a vengeance.
Brian: Yeah, and God, look at you now.
Angie G: I didn't give up.
Brian: I'm glad you didn't give up. I'm glad you ended up here.
Angie G: And that's just one story. There's many more.
Brian: And many more ... So next time you see Director Gates make sure you ask her for another one of those stories. I'm going to the next time I see her, that's for sure.
All right, so now I want to ... The important thing that I think I want you to share with folks is if you are a musician, and you are interested in ... What are the opportunities to interact with the DC government or what types of things are you doing for musicians, and then for music fans? Share about that.
Angie G: So, one of the things that's key, we have an open invitation. So it's just as simple as contacting our office and scheduling a meeting, and telling us what is it that you need that we can help with. So, there are times when we offer small sponsorships that can provide resources from a financial component, but we also are a production house. So we have studios, we have audio opportunities, videography opportunities, we have actual tangible resources that can help musicians, and we have our television shows that give you the platform ... Anyone that's a cable subscriber, and we're talking about 300,000 plus subscribers, we can put you on any of our musical platforms and have your talent showcased.
For 202Creates, not only are we focusing on that during the month of September, but that's a year round initiative. So, we welcome any of those opportunities. I would also encourage individuals to get involved with the Recording Academy. That's a great resource, and you're surrounded by musicians that can provide opportunities there as well. But come be a part of the 202Creates family. We're here to help, we're here to serve.