In 2006, “a single, solitary goal” drove Adria DeLaune, ’09, to leave the Mississippi River Delta, where all her friends, family and memories resided, to attend law school in Philadelphia.
She figured it sounded crazy, but DeLaune desperately wanted to make a living in the music industry, and she hoped that earning a law degree would help.
At what was then Drexel’s fledgling law school, DeLaune found allies like Tiffany McClendon in the admissions office, Professor Amy Montemarano who at the time was running the career office and Professor Chapin Cimino, who all helped quell the voices in her head that called her ambitions nutty.
“From the first time we did an accepted students chat, I was blunt about what I wanted to do with my life,” DeLaune recalled. “I wanted to go to a school that wanted to see this as a viable option, not a flighty dream. Professor Cimino said, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s make it happen.’“
And so she did.
For three years, DeLaune traded comfortable, familiar Baton Rouge, La. for the land of the cheesesteak. She studied every topic relevant to the music industry, from contracts to copyright to international law. She completed a year’s worth of pro bono service at the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. She formed bonds with and drew inspiration from entrepreneurial classmates who were equally willing to take a chance on an unknown law school.
And within 48 hours of completing the last of her final exams, DeLaune had packed up her belongings to move, where else? To Nashville.
After all, DeLaune’s three years in law school had infused her dreams with confidence, skills and connections. DeLaune had landed a job with RGK Entertainment Group, where she’d worked as an intern during her 2L summer.
DeLaune’s JD made her a valuable asset, and she quickly rose through the ranks at the company, becoming a manager for Canadian country artists like Corb Lund and Doc Walker. She managed label distribution in Canada for pop icon Taylor Swift. She found additional work at a studio outside Nashville, where Swift and country superstar Keith Urban laid down tracks.
That experience gave DeLaune enough confidence to strike out on her own. She’s now the co-owner of Anchorline Events, a company that stages music festivals and handles real estate and sales brokering in the music industry.
Anchorline’s signature events are Modern South, a festival in St. Francisville, La., that has featured major-label artists like the Avett Brothers, and Revival, a music festival in Birmingham, Ala. that showcases emerging singer-songwriters and rock artists from the South.
For the Revival festival, DeLaune got to collaborate with Katie Jelen, ’10, who manages artists for Secret Road Music Services in Los Angeles.
“Elenowen and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, artists from her company, were on the bill for our event,” DeLaune said. “They did cool video work for their artists. It went beautifully.”
Anchorline has also launched a clothing line that raises money for charitable causes like Charleston Water keeper. There are plans in the works to expand the clothing line.
“It’s been a busy couple of years,” DeLaune said.
Though DeLaune feels most at home in the South, she maintains a profound sense of connection to the law school community and the Class of 2009.
“I’m really proud of the hundred—how –many of us who decided to jump out of the boat and swim,” DeLaune said. “We all took this endeavor together of launching this law school. Knowing that I could help do that, and it was extremely successful, was reassuring. When I wanted to do it on a smaller scale, it’s all been with the knowledge that I’ve done this before.”