In 2016, music production major Bryce Ballinger told The Student Printz that he hoped to help “as many touring artists as possible” build their careers.
Ballinger had recently left school in order to better manage his music production company Witch Trial Productions, which was thriving in spite of its shaky start just months before. Though he had little reason to be, Ballinger was optimistic about the company’s future.
“I want the people that I’m working with to succeed,” he said at the time. “I’m going to do my best to make sure this doesn’t crash and burn.”
Less than two years later, the Hollandale native is still making good on that promise. He has successfully hosted numerous shows across the nation and has amassed a large social media following of dedicated fans, thanks in no small part to his large and efficient team.
“I was running it completely by myself two years ago, [but] now I have a stage manager that helps me run the physical part of the shows on the night of the shows,” Ballinger explained. “I have a co-promoter that helps with emails and helps with artist relations and agent relations and organizing our schedule. I have a sound guy that I pay an hourly wage to. I have our own photographer slash social media person that takes care of all of that as well. It’s a lot easier when you have other people on your team.”
Ballinger says his team and the darker aspects of the time he spent away from school made the decision to come back an easy one.
“The year that I took off of school was probably one of the most bracing times of my life because once you leave the college bubble so many things start getting put into perspective and reality really starts to hit you fast,” he said.
“People think that college is tough and it is but there are plenty of people at that college and at that university to help you through those things and provide services to lift you up. When you’re in the real world trying to start your own business in an industry that’s much bigger than you and much better than you at what you’re doing just based on sheer experience, then life starts to get more than a little harder.”
Ballinger still believes all students should consider a break if they can do it without financial repercussions. He said he does not regret leaving school and that his year away taught him much about the industry that will benefit him moving forward.
“Being in the real world made certain [things] less magical or less idealistic,” he admitted. “But for the most part, it just made it seem that much more real that this is what I’m doing now— there’s nothing else but my own hard work and my teammates helping me through.”
Ballinger said there were moments when he would get offers from artists he had been listening to and supporting for years.
“When you get the chance to meet them and work with them, after it’s all said and done, after the night’s over, it’s like— and I feel like this is important— they’re just regular people,” he said. “Your idols that you look up to are just regular people and they shouldn’t be put on any bigger pedestal than you put yourself on because the only difference between you and them is that they’re in the public eye a little bit more than you are.”
Ballinger said that coming back to school was the easiest decision he has ever made.
“If you can make it in that real-world setting and provide for yourself and get through that part, coming back to school is kind of like a breath of fresh air. Like a breath of relief, honestly,” he said.