Julia Wilde is a co-founder and CEO of Sparkplug, the community marketplace for musicians to rent one another their instruments, gear, and space.
Raised in Greenwich, CT, she studied at the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music from 2003 to 2007. Julia has worked as a session singer, voiceover artist, and musician for over twenty years, beginning on children’s records and eventually lending her voice to jingles for Mattel and V.O.s for Hilton and MTV, among many others. She was also with independent label Downtown Records from its inception in 2006 through 2012, working in A&R with artists like Mos Def, Miike Snow, Santigold, and Cold War Kids. At Sparkplug, she is focused on harnessing the transformative power of the sharing economy for the benefit of musicians and artists.
Q What was your favorite part about attending Recorded Music?
The sheer amount of time spent in the studio and creating for class is what I loved most about ReMu. Learning to make music on a deadline and within certain parameters is a cultivated skill as valuable as the technical tools we learned in specific classes. Henry Gaffney, our songwriting professor, taught me to think of writing in an entirely new light by approaching the smallest of choices with purpose. Not to leave any musical or lyrical moments that don't ultimately serve the crux of the song simply because they came easily - in short, to approach creativity and craft with intention.
Q How did Recorded Music prepare you for success?
I think much of my professional life post-Remu has been characterized by darting between the creative and the business sides of the music industry. Success is a bit of a relative term, but I can definitely credit Recorded Music for the span of my education. I may not know the intricacies of every particular deal clause or know the sound of every compressor in a signal chain, but I never feel I'm out of my depth. That really is a gift.
Q What are you currently doing professionally?
Last year, along with three cofounders (one of whom is Jennifer Newman Sharpe, another Remu '07 grad!), I launched Sparklug, the first community marketplace for musicians to rent one another their instruments, gear, and space. For musicians and artists, who are uniquely reliant on their creative tools, the sharing economy is an enormous breakthrough in connecting with other people to access the things you need. Now, artists can harness previously untapped collections of instruments, gear, and studio space all over the world, directly from one another. And by doing so, they’re supporting local musicians, audio pros, studios, and independent retailers - putting money directly in the hands of peers when they're between sessions and shows.
My day to day is mostly spent educating our already naturally collaborative, creative community about Sparkplug as a new revenue stream and a powerful resource for accessing creative tools. Basically, I get to nerd out on gear and help musicians generate additional income. Could be worse.
Q What words of wisdom can you share?
Show up. Not just physically and not just to class. Be present and really learn how to create the best work you can, when you want to create it. Don't wait for the muse. You might be a label rep or a manager or a songwriter. The end game is all the same - we want to put great music in the world or help others to do so.
Also - you never know what turn your career is going to take. Keep your eyes open and you might stumble upon something you love rather unexpectedly.