Ardie Farhadieh is someone you meet and you just feel a connection with him instantaneously! His infectious smile, and genuine coolness is something you always want to be around. As Marketing Media Manager of Billions Corporation, he has an enviable career where he’s traveled cross country and his work has helped launch artists’ careers, all this for someone under 35.
23 Question harkens to the 21 questions game but since this is Chicago, home of the original and legendary #23, we decided to go with 23.
Get to know Ardie a little more and be inspired.
23 Questions with Ardie Farhadieh
1) How did you get your start?
Ardie: WOW! get ready for a story. *seatbelt fastened*
I have been playing classical violin since I was 3 years old. I began to take it seriously when I was about 11 years old. I remember my mom taking me to my first Chicago Symphony Orchestra show and in seeing them perform, I told her that’s what I wanted to do. She said if this is what you want to do you have to practice your butt off. So I started doing it and playing with orchestras and then I told my parents I wanted to go to music school. I auditioned at Berklee College of Music in Boston, which was the most relaxed and fun audition I had. I applied and got in.
2) Did you do any internships while in college?
Ardie: my second year at Berklee I interned at a company called Aware Records, the original record label for John Mayer, which was also managing few other acts the time. I did that for the summer and through that opportunity I got acquainted with Mark Yates from Fenway recordings, an artist management company based in Boston. They managed MGMT and 2 months into that, myself and another intern were named co-office managers to help with some day to day tasks. For me it was amazing because I am in my third year of school and getting all this experience. I am really grateful to Mark because he gave me a lot of responsibilities and allowed me to take myself to the next level at a young age.
3) So how did you go from Boston and then back to Chicago?
Ardie: I finished Berklee in 3 years. In order to complete my degree though, I needed to do one more internship so I took up an internship at an L.A based company called Monotone Inc who’s roster at the time included: Foster The People, Vampire Weekend, White Stripes. I lived in L.A for 5-6 months and I finished the internship but they didn’t have any positions available which was perfect timing because I was looking to come back home to Chicago.
After a fews weeks being back home, I was recommended to Windish Agency. I interviewed on a Friday, received my offer that following Monday and started that Tuesday. Yeah that process moved really fast.
I worked at Windish for under 2 years. That was my foray into the booking world and Windish was helped me.
4) What was your dream job when you were little?
Ardie: When I was little I had 2 worlds. The Persian in me wanted to be a lawyer but deep down inside I saw myself as this big star performer. I always wanted to do something in music or acting. At first my mom was apprehensive but my dad had always been so supportive
5) Do you have a dream job as an adult?
Ardie: It’s hard to say but I think I am on my way there and doing it. Working in the music industry is what I see myself doing. I love what I am doing because I am able to share, impact and bring live music to people. I envision myself making a bigger impact on people whether through music or philanthropy in some form.
6) You were recently a speaker at a SXSW session how was that?
Ardie: It was so much fun! It felt like a group hang. My being on the panel came around because Mike Bishop, who’s a talent buyer for Live Nation and he approached me that he wanted to put together and submit a panel on Marketing and Branding for SXSW and he wanted me to be a part of it. Doug Corey from Windish was also part of the panel.
Our panel was packed! It was cool to be able to share ideas and learn from each other.
7) Are you involved in any non-profits?
Ardie: Rock for Kids is a cause close to my heart. When I was working at Aware in my early 20s was when I first heard about the organization. They raise money for music programs in CPS schools.
They are currently in 3 schools with music education. A lot of CPS don’t offer music programs, so Rock for Kids comes in and provides some of that. We bring in teachers, guest artists and artist residences. To me it means a lot because I was fortunate and grateful when I was younger to have had my parents my parents put me through music lessons.
Music is a luxury and a necessity. People use music as a form of therapy but it’s also costly. I want to make sure the kids get the chances that I had.
My dream is to see this go to other cities.
8) How did you begin to network and build your network in Chicago?
Ardie: You will find me at a venue most nights of the week, I go to so many shows. I don’t put myself out there to network. It always seems to happen naturally. I don’t really seek out people, I always think that being myself and being friendly and open and we start to chat.
I never want someone to come to me and say oh that’s Ardie who’s just trying to get something.
I just want people to always be genuine. It’s just like dating really.
9) Favorite spots in the city?
Ardie: I love my dive bars, Gold Star, Phyllis. I love Happy Village in Ukie Village. Bluebird on Damen has amazing mussels and wine selections.
10) Favorite places to travel to?
Ardie: London! I adore London my family from my Mom’s side live there. Musically, it’s way ahead. As far as wonders and destinations, Iran for sure. It’s one of the most gorgeous countries in the world to me.
11) When did you veer from wanting to be a music performer to management?
Ardie: My second year of college. I went into Berklee telling my parents I am going to do music business but I actually wanted to perform. I started out performing and realized my day consisted of class all day, eating and back to the practice rooms until about 3am and I was also an R.A at the time.
At a certain point I started to get uncertain about my performance abilities; Then I took a business music class, loved it and once I got my internship at Aware and saw the cool things they were doing and realized, why don’t I try this.
12) A day in the life of Ardie would be described as….
Ardie: Routine to some degree. Wake up, check emails, deal with the pressing stuff then head to the gym, breakfast, head to the office. Majority of the day is all work stuff, meetings, phone calls, shows. If I don’t have a show, I go home and catch up on me time.
On the weekends, I have some routine as well but weekends are usually reserved for family. If I don’t have a routine things will get disorganized and I won’t get things done.
My parents definitely keep me grounded they are my support system. They are the reason I push myself.
My dad put himself through undergrad, masters and PhD.
13) Who are some of the people you admire in the business?
Ardie: People like Boche, the President of Billions, someone like him has been able to build a business from scratch.
Alexandra Patsavas who’s originally from Chicago and a Uof I alum; I have always admired her. She’s a music supervisor who chooses all the music for TV shows and movies like Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men,Scandal, Hunger Games series and she is just amazing. I really respect peole that are big entrepreneurs.
Bozoma is also an inspiration. Bozoma St. John who was previously Director of cultural branding, music and entertainment at PepsiCo was just recently appointed SVP, Head of Global Marketing Beats Music . My friend Andrew at Billboard magazine introduced us and said we had to mete each other! I realy respect her a lot.
14) How do you R&R?
Ardie: Yoga, I recently started because I heard it helps calm you. I play my violin to zone out.
Traveling is another good way for me to relax. I love to cook and being around food, being in the kitchen.
15) What are you currently listening to?
Ardie: I am listeining to Jaymes Young, my friend at Atlantic Records told me about him a year ago.
16) 3 words to describe you?
Ardie: Anxious. Driven. Colorful
17) 5 packing essentials when you travel?
Ardie: My ipod, my wallet, dental hygiene products for any given moment, My notebook & backpack.
18) Do you have mentors?
Ardie: I’ve had mentors throughout every phase of my life. I met my them and just gravitated. They exuded a level of confidence and personality I aspire to be and have. From there I would call and talk to them and get advice
There’s a woman named Liz hart and she manages a wealth of artists(Damian Taylor, The MisShapes). I met her while I was in college, became fast friends with her and she became a mentor to me; I am so grateful for her. Every decision I have made career wise I would call her for advice and she was always reassuring to me.
19) What advice can you give someone that just graduated college that may want to follow your career path?
Ardie: My biggest thing is work really hard, focus, dream big and believe in what you want. Always believe in yourself and stay true to yourself. If you work hard and go after your dreams you can make anything happen.
20) What neighborhood in Chicago do you live in?
Ardie: Wicker Park
21) Upcoming plans for the summer?
Ardie: Yes My oldest brother is getting married this summer
22) You are a busy guy, how do you keep on top of everything? Make time for personal life?
Ardie: I’ve been trying to do that more and I started blocking things out. When my mom would plan family things, sometimes my calendar is booked and you never want to tell your mom I need more lead time. What i’ve been doing is blocking family time, time to practice my violin and me time.
23) Single? Engaged? Married?
Ardie: Single (for now) but seeing someone.
Photography: James Foster