Born in Philadelphia and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, James Anderson made the decision to attend college at UNH upon attending a concert the university put on by The Student Committee on Popular Entertainment (SCOPE). The concert that solidified Anderson’s choice to come to UNH was The Roots.
Anderson described The Roots’ concert as “inspiring.”
“This was my foot into the music industry,” Anderson said. “I was drawn to New England.”
A 2007 UNH alumnus, Anderson, president and founder of One If By Land Productions, has stayed in touch with both his New England and UNH roots. Now a resident of Boston, Anderson is SCOPE’s current booking agent. A self-proclaimed “musical omnivore,” Anderson specializes in creating first class college and university concerts.
On March 23, Anderson joined Nate Hastings, coordinator of student organizations and leadership, for a question-and-answer interview as part of the Memorial Union Building’s (MUB) Lessons in Leadership series. The alumni based interview series invites UNH alumni back to campus to talk about their experiences as both UNH students and graduates in relation to their present day work. The series takes place every other Thursday in MUB 203 from 5 to 6 p.m.
“I don’t know if you can tell by my flannel…” joked Anderson with the audience while sporting a red and white flannel, “…but I still have some New Hampshire in me.”
Upon deciding to attend UNH, Anderson was heavily involved in SCOPE, as well as the Student Environmental Action Committee (SEAC), the New Hampshire Outing Club (NHOC), and was a Resident Hall Advisor (RA) during his time at the university.
“The college market is different from going to see a show at the House of Blues or a club,” Anderson said to the students in attendance.
He continued to describe to the students the difference between hard ticket and soft ticket sales in the industry. Soft ticket sales differentiate from hard ticket sales as they are primarily for colleges, festivals and events taking place at fairs and casinos. Anderson has dealt with both types of ticket sales.
Anderson has booked both big names in the business as well as up-and-coming acts.
In the past, Anderson has booked artists such as Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Passion Pit and recently Future. He has worked with many colleges in the general area including Boston College, Colby College, Lesley University and, of course, UNH.
“The power of the single is just as important as 50, 60 years ago,” Anderson said. “Sometimes there’s overnight success, but it is not always like that.”
Anderson shared that a typical day in his life almost always starts with coffee and browsing music blogs. Anderson keeps up-to-date with various music blogs in order to stay informed on what people are talking about. These blogs include: Pitchfork, Rolling Stones, Conciseness of Sound and Complex. According to Anderson, having “a pulse on all genres” is crucial, but he jokingly asked for some country music blog recommendations from the audience.
“Finding out what people are listening to and what’s going to work on their campus is important,” Anderson said. He described this process as a “custom, personalized approach… It is not just about selling a show.”
“Good communication is key to everything in life,” Anderson said. But communication is not something that Anderson lacked. As a high school band member, Anderson has always had an ear for music and scouting talent. He described himself as “young and hungry to find new talent” upon graduating from UNH. This entrepreneurial mindset is what caused Anderson to open up his own business.
Anderson’s advice for current and future students: “Set goals in life, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”