Meet The CEO Behind Mezz Entertainment – A Female-Driven Force In The Music Industry

Mezz Entertainment CEO Roanne Mesirow

The music industry is extremely competitive to break into, whether you are an artist or an executive, or anything in between. For many women, there have been numerous barriers to overcome similar to what we see in a range of industries – sexism, discrimination, gendered expectations, unequal pay and more. But as the landscape continues to evolve thanks to the disruptive power of technology, digital media and streaming platforms, more and more women are forgoing the tradition career pathways and creating their own spaces.

A force to be reckoned with, Roanne Mesirow is one of those female executives staking her claim in the music industry, playing by her own rules and creating opportunities for herself. As someone who had zero connections to the music world or background in the industry, what she has achieved so far and continues to create with her impressive roster of artists is impressive and aspirational.

Roanne currently runs Mezz Entertainment, a brand consulting and artist management company which she founded in 2017. She manages incredible artists such as Radio Veteran, former DJ/Executive Producer of “Sway In The Morning” Sirius XM – Shade45 DJ Wonder, 2x Grammy Nom.Producer/DJ/MC/Songwriter (Eminem, Mariah Carey, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Dave East)-  Scram Jones, Sherri Shepherd Show/IHeart Power 105.1FM- DJ Suss One, NYC Street Artist & Philosopher- UncuttArt, Brooklyn’s Finest DJ/Producer- DJ Yamez and DJ/Producer Duo- BLK.ID TWINS.

Understanding the power of paying it forward, and perhaps recognizing what it means to enter an industry without prior experience and competing with the best, every school semester Roanne supervises over 30 interns who are looking to get their foot in the door.

So what does it take to be successful in the music industry and create opportunities for yourself and others? We had the chance to speak with Roanne to learn more about the barriers she has faced, why it is important to see more women in positions of power in music, and taking her love of Hip Hop and turning it into a business representing some of the hottest names in the genre.

Where did your career begin, and how did you make your way into the music industry? 

My name is Roanne Mesirow and I am the Founder and CEO of Mezz Entertainment. Growing up in Chicago, I was constantly surrounded by music and art and early on, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment. I studied business at the University of Redlands in California and lived in France for a year working in fashion PR. After college, I decided to move to New York City with no plan. I had multiple jobs that ranged from working at a high-end jewelry store, to William Morris, to corporate sales, to event planning at the Ace Hotel.

Moving to New York City pushed me into many different career paths but I always found myself returning to my love for hip-hop. The work ethic and stories of artists such as 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Eminem inspired me to get involved in the music industry. I felt like my previous jobs I had were truly just jobs, and I wanted to be enjoying what I was doing.

While working in event planning, a co-worker of mine suggested I go into artist management because of how on top of my work I was. I sat with the idea for a while and decided to go for it. Without any prior experience, but simply a passion for connection, I started Mezz Entertainment in 2017. Eventually, when I met my first client, it clicked, because helping her with her career didn’t feel like work to me. Someone told me a long time ago that if your job doesn’t feel like work, then you’ve won.

Working in an intensely male-dominated arena, what kind of things did you witness as a woman, in regard to sexism, and how has this impacted your outlook?

Running a female-owned business in a male-dominated industry is extremely difficult. In the beginning, I felt like I had to really prove myself because I have been looked down upon by men as if I am not capable of what they are (I still face this at times), but this made me work even harder to help get opportunities for my clients. I frequently encounter sexist remarks at events or when meeting new people, and it is awful that women still have to deal with this. I have had males want more than “just business” and it is extremely frustrating when my intentions are to simply build and create more relationships to expand my company.

I have had to unfortunately pass on many opportunities just because of this reason but it drives me to be relentless in my efforts and to continue to empower women all over the world, regardless of industry. I want to be a mentor to young female entrepreneurs and share my experiences and journey with them. I believe it is critical that more women receive the recognition they deserve as well as be given more opportunities to advance to higher-level positions without dealing with sexism and egos. 

How did you start Mezz Entertainment, and how do you find artists to add to your roster? 

Back in 2014 I was working at the Ace Hotel as an event planner for just under 2 years. While I was there, a woman that I worked with, Genesis Be, was from Mississippi and did event production. I had gotten to know her pretty well and she told me how she was into music. Genesis had actually gone to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU and was a rapper, which I thought was amazing.

On one specific day, she was sitting next me and could hear me talking on the phone with my clients like usual. But she had randomly said that day how I would make an amazing manager because she had never seen someone so “on top of their shit.” This comment struck something within me and Genesis ended up being my first ever client. The rest is history! 

To be honest, I’ve never sought out artists; they typically come to me. I’ve gotten business through recommendations, met new clients through current clients, networking events and industry parties, to even just striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to me on a plane or in an exercise class.

What kind of artists and musicians are you drawn to? Who is getting you excited right now in the music world? 

I don’t have a specific type of client I am drawn to; I enjoy working with everyone from DJs, producers, and performing artists to visual artists, influencers, and people who just need help establishing their brand. I do, however, only work with clientele who offer as much as I do. They must be on the same page as the company and its vision.

I often tell my clients, “I am the gun, and you are the bullets; in order to shoot, I need the bullets,” meaning we must work together. We can’t execute or grow together if they don’t give me anything to work with. An artist that is getting me excited right now is BLP Kosher. He’s a newer artist that started out on SoundCloud, and I have been digging his recent music and features. 

Being a female CEO in a male-dominated industry, what has this experience been like in terms of recognition, respect and opportunity?

Being a female CEO in a male-dominated industry has not been any easy experience, but my passion overpowers any obstacles that have come my way. It is evident that even though more and more women are working within music and entertainment, there is still a large gap between the males that get recognition, respect and opportunities, and the females.

This gap makes me want to work even harder everyday with my team for my clients, and to continue to network with other females that are doing what I do, or want to eventually. It is so important for females in this industry to connect with each other and build each other up so that we continue getting more executive roles and gaining more respect from society and our peers, which has been long overdue. 

How is the industry changing, especially in light of the undeniable power of women in music like Beyonce and Taylor Swift? 

Although it is still a male-dominated industry, women appear to be making a greater influence. Female artists are on the rise now more than ever, and they are using their platform to transform the business into a female-driven one. Taylor Swift is an excellent example. She is regaining control of her career by owning the masters of her albums. She is currently the number one artist and continues to shatter records globally.

Beyonce is just Beyonce, and she has been a cultural icon since the beginning of her career. Shania Twain is another industry titan who has paved the way for young female country musicians. Then there are the originals: Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Celia Cruz, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Madonna, Cher, Dolly Parton, Carole King, Patti Smith, and Dianna Ross. I mean, the list goes on and on.

The Billboard Hot 100 speaks for itself, with female artists such as Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Ice Spice, Lizzo, Black Pink, Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, Karol G, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, SZA, Doja Cat, Billie Ellish, and others. 

Who are some badass women in leadership behind the scenes in the music world who inspired you, and who we should know about? 

Cara Lewis is one of the first women that come to mind when I think of leaders in this industry. She is one of the pioneers in transforming an underground movement into a well-known industry and saw the crossover potential of urban music early on. Julie Greenwald is another music executive that comes to mind when I think of powerful women that have made incredible career moves. Faith Newman is an executive that I think more people should be paying attention to, as she currently works in A&R and has a ton of history within the Hip-Hop world.

How important is mentorship and networking in the industry, especially for women? How many opportunities are created through the “who you know” mantra, for instance?

It is critical to find a mentor or someone who believes in you and what you want to achieve as it is challenging to avoid feelings and thoughts of self- doubt. Mentors help build confidence, present solutions to overcome obstacles and provide guidance on how to succeed in specific circumstances. 

When pursuing clients and creating relationships, it is critical to remain outside. Attend as many events, conventions, and showcases as you possibly can. You never know what will happen or who you’ll meet. It only takes one great connection to get you started and to reach your objective. It’s much easier said than done, but don’t let fear keep you from going to a social function. We must learn and practice being at ease with discomfort since this is where actual growth takes place and, more importantly, where our network increases.

Independent artists have a more viable path these days, thanks to digital streaming platforms, social media, and indie labels. What advice would you give to someone who is starting out and looking to build a team around them? 

Getting clients and building my staff was one of the most difficult challenges I had when starting Mezz. It was difficult to find people who recognized the vision in the company and genuinely wanted to be a part of it because the company was starting from zero with no financial backing or connections. However, I was able to hire a few college students as interns, and we have now created an amazing internship program with over 30 students from all over the world.

So my advice is to use your knowledge and resources, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Look for people who believe in you and your vision. Furthermore, do not be discouraged if things do not go as planned; we must be ready to pivot and change as needed.

What are some exciting things coming up for the Mezz Entertainment team and artists that we can look forward to? 

Mezz is continually growing with regards to our team and who we are working with. I am always super excited about DJ Wonder’s future adventures, as he is tearing up the podcast and DJ world, especially within Miami and NYC. He is always working on new beats and there are exciting projects in the works. The BLK I.D. twins are another client that are DJing constantly and making big moves within the NYC and Brooklyn areas.

Behind the scenes at Mezz, we have a team of people working from all over the country, and the team has been expanding year after year. It is so exciting to see more opportunities coming in for our clients and being able to provide them with more of the resources that they need to achieve their artistic visions and goals!

You can get familiar with all things Mezz Entertainment by following and subscribing on Instagram, TikTok, Spotify and the website

Mezz Entertainment CEO Roanne Mesirow