Melissa Chaile on Her Storied Career in Music and the Ongoing Shift in Marketing Strategy
Melissa Chaile on Her Storied Career in Music and the Ongoing Shift in Marketing Strategy

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By Lisa Marie

June 3, 2024

Throughout the entirety of her career, Melissa Chaile has had to wear multiple hats. Whether preoccupied with blogging and hosting radio programs towards the beginning of her tenure in the music industry, to now creating global marketing campaigns and working with some of music’s biggest names, Melissa is used to having her hands, and schedule, full. After bouncing around different organizations and record labels for the better half of the last two decades, Melissa has worked her way up to Director of LatAm at BMG, where she currently oversees marketing campaigns for a wide-array of global musical talent. We recently had the opportunity to speak with Melissa about her journey as a marketer in the music industry, her experience working with artists like Tainy and Zion y Lennox, and the biggest lessons she’s learned during career. 

When did you first fall in love with music?

Melissa: Oh, I know exactly when! I was five years old, and I was a huge Whitney Houston fan. The Bodyguard came out, I bought the album at five years old, and I sang my little heart out and I wanted to be Whitney Houston. That was when. 

I was in talent shows singing Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Tony Braxton in like, 6th grade, 5th grade. I wanted to be a singer, but I realized that I wasn't going to make it. So I thought, let me do radio – and that's how I started.

Can you share some of your journey in music, and how you ultimately became a Director at BMG? 

When I was in kindergarten, I used to love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, specifically April, who was the reporter. I wanted to be a reporter because of her. I used to watch ‘Primer Impacto’ on Univision with my parents, and the girls were always so elegant and well-spoken in how they did their reporting – María Celeste, Myrka Dellanos, and Cristina, who was like our Spanish Oprah. I always wanted to do something like that, whether it was music, journalism, or reporting. 

So I was like, you know what? Let me do radio because I felt like it was a good way to start. But when I started radio in 2007, online radio was becoming a thing, which progressed to video blogging. I started noticing that social media and the blog scene were becoming relevant, so I wanted to become a combination of these things, and to be a personality. I eventually started a blog with a bunch of friends of mine, and we called it Strawberry Blunt – we were an all female Hip-Hop blog that spoke their minds. It was a double entendre, right? Because we were blunt, but we also smoked. And it really blew up. We started our own radio show. A lot of guys were shutting doors on us. We were pretty girls, and we felt like if we didn't give a guy an opportunity or a chance, they would shut the door on us. So we were like, you know what, let’s do our own thing. We started getting booked all around New York City to host parties. We gave a lot of girls opportunities with their first industry job, and really taught them how to blog, do interviews, and to maneuver their way around the music industry. A lot of the girls I still talk to. Some of them are really big DJs now. They work for Complex. They work at MTV. 

That really opened up a lot of doors, because if I wasn’t able to do social media and marketing for our blog, I was able to do it for other businesses. We helped Angie Martinez with her blog. We helped Funk Flex with his. From there, I started doing marketing for LG and big brands. The blog wasn't making any money, so I needed to make money. As I’m doing all of this, mind you, I'm a single mom. I had my kid in 2007. So this whole time, my son grew up through this whole struggle of mine, of me working in the music industry. I was doing a morning radio show at La Mega 97.9 here in New York at four in the morning. Then I would go do social media for a real estate company, and then at night, I would hang out and do parties in the Hip-Hop scene. So I was just like a full 360-degree type of person doing all this at the same time that I was raising my son. 

Throughout your career, you’ve worked with a variety of artists on new music rollouts, marketing campaigns, and other endeavors. Looking back, who were some of the favorite artists you’ve worked with, and why? 

I loved working with Tainy when I worked at Roc Nation. His team was very on point, very professional, and also very hardworking. They never missed. I loved working with Tiago PZK. Tiago came from nothing and made something for himself. At 20 years old, he wasn't the type of kid that was a rock star wanting to party and hang out with girls. No, he was in it to win it, going to the studio, making music. That's what he was about, and I love that. I also loved his management team – Phil Rodriguez, who is the owner of Move Concerts, is an amazing person. Loved working with him. 

I want to say Zion y Lennox, just because the team that they had was very fun to be with. I loved working for them because they were my favorite reggaeton group growing up. Like, hands down, one of my favorite reggaeton groups, and the fact that I manifested working with them later on in my life, it was like a dream for me. So in that sense, another one that I really liked working with that a lot of people don't know is Immortal Technique. I worked with him for a little bit. That was interesting. I also grew up listening to his music and the fact that I was working with him was a dream come true for me. And then most recently now, is JLo's team. Working with JLo here at BMG. Just seeing how such a high profile artist and how the team works and being on that side, it's taught me a lot. It's taught me a lot, definitely.


What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your current role as Director of Marketing at BMG? 

I think the most rewarding thing is the educational part of being able to teach our BMG team about the Hispanic culture and how we work – bridging that gap. I think that's always been my thing. I've always wanted to be on that crossover side. For me, it's going to be building that relationship with my VP, who I admire very much, Zarah. 

For modern artists, social media and marketing are deemed just as important, if not more important, than the music they make. What should artists be prioritizing when it comes to planning their marketing efforts? 

New artists should be prioritizing so much. I know this sounds terrible coming from a label side, but I think that they should prioritize their own business skills, really learning the business and how it works so that they know who to trust and who to work with. Your team is everything, and if you don’t have a teammate to do something, you have to learn it yourself. The industry is changing so much all the time. Right now as an artist, you're your own business. Once you realize that, I think that's how you should strategize. So I think as an artist, brush up on your business skills, know who your team is, and work hard. Even if you're signed to a label, you gotta work harder than the label.

As a latina working in a largely male-dominated space, what are some of the challenges you faced throughout your career, and how have you managed to overcome them? 

You know, it all depends. I've definitely worked with men that have hit on me. And if you don't aren't responsive to that, they don't give you the opportunities. I go around it. I figure it out. If I feel like one door is closing on me, I find another way to open the door. I try to build solid relationships with people so that things like this don't happen. Being in a male-dominated industry has been hard, but I also have received backlash from women, which sucks, because we should be supporting each other. What I'm trying to say here is the reason why I do get some backlash from women and competitiveness is because it is such a male-dominated industry, and I think women feel like we're scarce out here.

So I have to go for what I can because I'm the only woman in the room. I think that my way of giving back and getting around everything is just mentoring the younger people before me. Because I know that when I first started, I didn't have anybody to really guide me, so I know what that feels like. I wouldn't want that to happen to other women, so I try to be there for them. I'm mentoring, like, four females right now. It's a lot, but I love it. It's actually the most promising, the most fulfilling thing for me. If I could just do this full-time I would. 


If you could work on a campaign for any artist or with any brand in the world, who would you choose and why? 

Nas. I did the reggaeton thing. I got to work with Zion, right? I got to do some Hip-Hop, I worked at Roc Nation. That was really cool. But now to work with somebody like Nas would be, honestly, the best thing ever. 

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What’s one of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned throughout your tenure in the music industry? 

Never take anything personal. I think that we get into our own heads sometimes, and we think that, oh, this person doesn't like me, or whatever, but you don't know what that person is going through. You don't know why they're having a bad day. You don't know what's going on. So if it's not something you can control, then brush it off. Don't take it personal. Tomorrow is another day.


Are there any new, exciting platforms that make your day-to-day within the world of marketing easier? 

I really like Sprinklr, and I started using this really when I started working with global campaigns. It's very expensive, but if you're a big business and you have a global company, it's really good because you're able to create a sort of Facebook platform where you have all your content in one place. Let's say you have a business in Korea and an office in Poland. You can make it useful so that everybody has the content that they need in one space and everything gets done in there. You can check off the boxes. So it's kind of like a scheduler for all your platforms in one. It's something that I really like. Sprinklr is one of my faves right now. I'm just thinking about your other question.

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Imagine you were to have dinner with any three artists, dead or alive. Which three would you choose, and what food would you eat? 

It would be Cardi B, Method Man and Bad Bunny. We’d have Mangú Tres Golpes. 


What’s one album that you’d take wherever you go? 

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and if I can have an honorable mention – Playero 38. 

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What does the phrase “big ass kid” mean to you?

It’s adulting, but never letting go of that childhood – that childlike sense. So big ass kids to me, especially in the music industry, means being responsible, but also having fun.

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