Earlier this month, Billboard announced the five nominees for the second annual Chip Hooper Award, honoring the memory of the beloved talent agent who helped build Paradigm’s music department and served as a mentor to countless young executives in the music industry.
The 2019 nominees represent a broad cross-section of the music industry, including venue executive Chrissy Hall, director of concerts for the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Hall grew up in the Napa Valley in California where her father worked as a vineyard manager while his mother, a former opera singer, served as the family business book keeper. Hall loves being outdoors with her four-year-old pug Quincy and enjoys hiking, camping. kayaking in the Florida Everglades.
“We would kayak out to platforms in the swamp called Chickees and camp on them for multiple nights,” she tells Billboard. “It was an amazing experience, but the mosquitoes will carry you away if you don’t have repellant.”
Last week Hall caught up with Billboard to talk about Nashville’s most iconic venue and answer five questions about her life in live music.
Billboard: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
Chrissy Hall: I wanted to be a Broadway star. We would go into San Francisco to see touring Broadway productions and I remember singing along to the soundtracks as a kid. I remember just loving the way music and acting went together and wanting to be a part of the bright lights.
What song most impacted you as an adolescent?
’s “The River “was one of my favorite songs. I appreciated the storytelling and the way you could feel the longing, loss and heartbreak through the lyrics and the melody.
Who was your first mentor in the music business and what was one thing they taught you?
Rick Bartalini. He taught me the importance of excellence in all things but especially the details. He showed me that the little touches and how you make people feel will be what they remember and it can compensate for a less than ideal load-in process or other physical short comings of the building.
What is your most proud professional accomplishment during the past 12-18 months?
I am proud of The Ryman’s Triple crown win of ACM, CMA and Pollstar Venue of the Year. I am also very proud of our show with former First Lady Michelle Obama. We were one of the smallest venues on her tour and it was a great honor to present her here at the Ryman.
Name on thing the music industry does really well and one thing it really needs help with.
We handle a high volume of work at a very fast pace, but we do not have a good sense of time off. There is a constant expectation of immediate attention that makes it challenging to balance work time and personal time.
The winner of the 2019 Chip Hooper award will be announced Nov. 5 in Los Angeles at the Billboard Live Music Awards. Click here to learn more and register today.