By SAE Institute
A large part of the success of our students comes from the knowledge, passion, and real-life experience from our instructors who are not only talented, but also dedicated to making a difference. This week, we sat down with SAE Institute Nashville Entertainment Business instructors (and twin sisters) Emily and Jamie Dryburgh, who have been creating spaces for queer artists, musicians, performers, and creatives to safely and openly showcase their talents in the Nashville entertainment scene. Follow along as we get to know more about their backgrounds, their inspirations, and the advice they have for other students looking to leave their own imprint on the music industry.
Tell us a little bit about your background and who or what inspired your passion for the music / entertainment industry.
Jamie and I came from a suburban town in upstate New York. We always knew that whatever career we wanted into, it had to be something we loved and could build into our lifestyles. We ended up moving to South Carolina early in college with a dream of opening a beach bar. Coincidentally, we happen to be the same age as Taylor Swift – she was really our gateway into Nashville and the music industry and country music. As a result of being in the south and being a Taylor Swift fan, we ended up going to a ton of country music shows where we learned about the music industry.
We were able to meet really great people at the shows we were attending; road managers, tour managers, etc., who were working in the music industry. And we realized it was a obtainable career. We moved to Nashville and the rest is history.
Why was it important to you to create a safe space for queer songwriters, artists, & musicians?
Moving into Nashville was a really interesting experience because it was what we would consider ‘the City of our Dreams,’ but it was also a decently ‘conservative’ space. A difficult place to live your truth, if it was anything outside of the ‘mainstream.’ Speaking not only about identities but also genres, backgrounds, lifestyles, differences in appearances etc. The deeper we got into the music industry we realized just how many people there were struggling, specifically and especially creatives. Artist’s who were writing about their lives and having to alter their stories or pronouns, etc. to perform their talent live, or share their art publicly. Or who would feel a pressure to mold themselves into a specific box. We knew we had to make a change.
What has been the most rewarding part about teaching at SAE Institute Nashville so far?
SAE Institute Nashville has been an amazing and fulfilling experience. The school is so connected and communal. It’s truly a hidden gem in Music City. We were hired by a former Publisher friend, Anthony Corder, who had reached out to find some active publishers and creatives who would really connect on a certain level, specifically with the younger students. Our first thoughts were “we’re not teachers..” But the more we thought about the state of the music industry and how rapidly it was evolving, we decided that we could not only contribute but also learn a lot. And it’s been a humbling experience!
What advice do you have for students who may want to follow a similar path and make their own impact in the industry?
Our advice would really be to take advantage of Nashville. SAE Institute Nashville has the good luxury to be in the heart of Music Row. You have artists, agents, label execs, songwriters everywhere you turn. You are next door to BMI, BMG and Warner Records. Make an effort to go out into that community and connect with those people, even if it means walking to the Virgin Hotel to take a meeting or grabbing a drink at Red Door Saloon. You’re going to meet someone you can connect with.
What do you hope to accomplish next?
Jamie and I have a few things up our sleeves. We’re currently developing a country-aligning LGBTQ+ platform called “Country Proud” that will have a major stage at festivals and a tour this year. I, Emily, specifically am working on developing my own publishing company. The great thing about being in the music industry is that you can be so many things at once. We are just happy to be here, and excited about what’s to come.
For more info on the Young Music City + RNBW Queer Music Collective, visit Youngmusiccity.com and on Instagram @youngmusiccity and @rnbw.collective. To get in touch with our Nashville campus or inquire about our programs, visit us online, book a tour, or reach us by phone at 615-244-5848.