She rubs elbows with some of Nashville’s most powerful people in music, as well as the yet-to-be-discovered talent. She’s married to a #1 songwriter, and she was named one of MusicRow‘s Rising Women on the Row. When she’s not changing diapers or reading stories to her kids, she’s catching a live show or listening to the next potential hit. Meet today’s FACES of Nashville feature, Shannan Hatch.
How long have you been at SESAC, and what is it you do?
I’ve worked at SESAC for 12 years. I’m the senior director of Writer/Publisher Relations, which means I sign writers and publishers for performing rights representation and try to help facilitate their careers. Each has a unique skill set and needs help getting their career to the next level, and that’s what I try to do.
What led you to a career in the music business?
I was taking a break before going back to college and a friend of mine (Susan Collier) needed help doing publicity. I worked for her and really enjoyed it! So I decided to get a degree in public relations. After graduating from MTSU, Kay Clary hired me to work with her at AristoMedia. I learned so much about tour press, album releases, country radio and how the whole marketing of albums and artists comes together. After about 10 years doing PR, SESAC was looking for someone in their writer-publisher department. Ellen Truly and Tim Fink asked if I was interested. I was out every night seeing the up-and-coming songwriters anyway, and I’d grown up with a lot of the publishers, so it was a great fit and a wonderful next step in my career.
What is your favorite part about working in the music business? And what has been the most challenging?
My favorite part is helping songwriters get to the next level, which is also the most challenging! I also get to work with and help some of my closest friends … my extended family, which is amazing! My husband Rob was SESAC songwriter of the year last year, and I got to present him with the writer of the year award … a night we will never forget!
What has been the biggest challenge, in your opinion, that the industry has faced in terms of the digital (r)evolution?
Getting paid for music! The digital revolution has been amazing for people to get their music out to the masses, and it’s been a great way for unsigned, independent artists to get their music heard, but when songs are being shared all over with no tracking process, the songwriters lose money. Also, album sales are down because all formats are single-driven, which means less money for the artists. The laws in place are old and need to be updated so they protect and pay songwriters.
What is the biggest difference in the business now versus when you started?
The effect of social media on artists’ careers! When I started, we were literally cutting and pasting (with scissors and a glue stick!) to create press kits, faxing and snail mailing information out to the media. It all sounds so archaic!
You’re married to hit songwriter Rob Hatch. How did you meet, how long have you been married and why is he the man for you?
Rob and I met about seven years ago. He had moved to Nashville to pursue his dream of being a songwriter. We had mutual friends in the music business, mainly Randy Houser and Michelle Berlin, who introduced us. We both love going to see shows and listening to music, and it just felt right from the moment we met. Randy got ordained and married us a couple of years later, and we’re celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary in September.
What does a typical day look like?
I tell people there is no “normal” in the music business … we don’t have 9-to-5 jobs. I don’t leave my office and stop listening to music. I meet with writers during the day, get home from work, talk about music with Rob and listen to songs. Songwriters come over at night, or we go to a show or Rob plays a show. We have no set daily schedule, which is wonderful and exhausting, but I can’t imagine it any other way.
If you weren’t working in the music industry, what career would you choose?
I would love to work with a nonprofit, especially if children were involved. I’ve worked with the Miller Harris Foundation, which was started by Judy Harris when her son Miller died of an asthma attack. She wanted to create awareness and educate children and families. The proceeds send inner city children to an asthma awareness camp at the YMCA every summer.
Who has been a key mentor in your life and why?
Kay Clary! She has such a rich knowledge of country music history and has taught me so much. She took me under her wing and will always be a good friend!
You have a couple of little people in your life — tell us about them.
We are blessed with two children: Henry Hatch (2) and Ruby Grace (6 months old). Henry is so fun and full of energy. He’s so smart and clever (what Mom doesn’t think that about her child?!). I can see him being either a songwriter or an attorney, because he has a vivid imagination and loves to negotiate! And Ruby Grace smiles all the time! She recently found her voice, and she’s found her toes, which she loves to chew on.
What is one surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself by becoming a mom?
I thought that I would have to sacrifice things in my life to accommodate my children. The surprise, though, is that I don’t sacrifice anything! I love being with my children. Balance is sometimes tricky, but being present for my children is a delight!
What’s your favorite place to eat out and your favorite meal there?
Rob and I love food, and I eat a lot of ethnic food. My favorite lunch spot is Thai Esane … the green curry and panang are both delicious. Love Peace Pho has a Pho to die for! And I love Indian food … TAJ has a chicken makhani that makes my mouth water to think about it.
What book/books is/are currently on your nightstand?
If you could offer a piece of advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t try to grow up so fast! I feel like I tried to rush life and make things happen faster than they should when I was younger. Now I just want life to slow down so I can enjoy every minute of it!
What are three things you can’t live without, not including faith, family and friends?
Good music, a great glass of cabernet and a soft, fuzzy blanket!
Thanks, Shannan, for sharing a look inside your world with SB readers today.
And thank you to Ashley Hylbert for the fantastic photos! See more of Ashley’s work at ashleyhylbert.com.