How I Pivoted from Law to Music - a Leadership Talk with Parul Chokshi
For most people, being in the room with their favorite artist only happens at a concert. But, for Parul Chokshi, it’s something that happens almost every day. She’s worked with some of the biggest names in music and most recently with rapper, Glorilla, whose song became viral on TikTok and earned her a record deal.
FUTURE NOW Founder and CEO, Peggy Kim, spoke with Chokshi in a recent Leadership Talk about how she got her break in the music industry to eventually become the Senior Director of Talent Booking at Vevo.
Chokshi’s passion for music started at a very young age, but she never dreamed that she could have a career in the music industry. Instead, she pursued another more viable dream of becoming a lawyer. “I really liked the idea of being able to argue something and being able to have something to back it up,” she said. She went to law school and eventually got a job at a law firm. But she discovered that “[It] wasn’t fulfilling me 100%.”
While working at the law firm, Chokshi continued going to concerts and started networking with artist’s managers to see how she could get into the industry. She was strategic in her approach and discovered that the managers were often standing alone and willing to talk to her. “Usually, the artists that I would go to were at smaller shows, smaller venues. And they’re usually trying to do a meet-and-greet afterwards.”
Chokshi's background in law helped her when networking with the artist’s managers. They took her more seriously. However, her legal experience didn’t exactly open the floodgates of opportunity. She knew she had to prove herself.
“I was willing to start over,” she says “Unless I wanted to come in as an entertainment lawyer, I needed to learn a new industry. I can’t just assume that I can jump into being a manager somewhere.”
Chokshi had a detailed approach and strategy to land a job in the industry. “What I did was made a list of all the music labels, all of the music companies, publicity companies, agencies—I made a list of all of them… I had over 100 contacts, and I would constantly call them,” she said.
Her big break came from a person from Sony Music who remembered her and contacted her about an opportunity in music licensing for commercials and television shows. She jumped at the chance and as the saying goes—the rest is history.
Chokshi’s story reflects that there’s no one way to break into the music or entertainment industry, but persistence and preparation are critical to success. She encourages emerging leaders to be active in the music scene by liking and following up-and-coming artists on social media.
On the soft skills side, “I think… that interpersonal vibe and personality, and the fact that you connect and can click is really key.” A résumé reflects what someone can do but being conversational is a skill crucial in an industry where people are constantly connecting.
For introverts, this might sound daunting. Chokshi admits that she can be an introvert at times, but that it’s important to put yourself out there and talk to people.
Chokshi is passionate about helping the next gen break into the music industry. She says the industry is more open to younger applicants. “I think that the people in power have learned that the future of music is the youth,” she said.
She encourages future leaders to show how they're staying informed and active in the music community. How are you finding out about new artists? Where do you discover new music? How do you show your passion for music?
On a final note of the talk, Chokshi reflected on leadership and shared, “Recognize that you may not know everything. As a leader, you’re there for the team…[and] don’t feel as if you look less than if you admit that you make a mistake. You will never know everything, and there is something to learned from everybody.”