As the President of VEVA Sound, Deborah Fairchild has established herself as a leader in her field. She has overcome obstacles as a woman in a competitive space and has risen to lead her company in all facets of the business. Under her guard, VEVA, a music technology company that sets the global industry standard for the verification, preservation, and data management of audio and video assets, has grown exponentially. It currently services record companies in America and Europe and has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and London.
We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Fairchild and learned some valuable tricks of the trade. Read on to find out how she climbed the ladder to success.
We understand that you started your career as an archival engineer at VEVA and have since risen up the ranks and helped grow the company. Can you tell us about your inspiration for moving ahead and how you made it happen?
For me, it has always been about the work. When something needs to happen, I get it done. That was instilled in me with my first studio internship. Whatever needed to be done, I would do—including cleaning the toilets. A willingness to figure things out is what I believe has given me proximity to great opportunities.
I’ve always known that if I just focus on the work, do what needs to be done, and concentrate on what I’m doing versus what everyone else is, success would find me.
As a woman in the music industry, do you feel like you encountered any obstacles based on your gender?
The music business is hard for everyone. It’s a tough thing to break into, then navigate, then stay in. I have encountered situations where a man could do or say one thing, but I know it would be totally unacceptable for me to do or say the same.
This confirmed in me what I’ve always known: knowledge is power. Who you know may bring opportunities, but what you know gives you staying power in this business. Knowledge and determination are the two most important factors in my success.
I see that VEVA has an impressive client list. It takes a lot of confidence to deal with top-level executives. Is building that confidence something that came naturally to you? Do you have advice for people who may feel intimidated when dealing with an upscale clientele?
This goes back to knowledge and determination. When you are determined to do the work and learn everything that you can, empowerment will come naturally. The other side of knowledge having power is that you get to control who knows what you know. Sometimes people will just not want to work with you, and that’s ok. But when the right client comes along, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be the most knowledgeable and capable you can possibly be.
VEVA is a music service that heavily integrates technology. What do you see as being the future of music technology both within your niche and in general?
There will be huge shifts in how music is created, and by whom. I saw a report that a gamified music creation platform had nearly 21 million child and preteen users. Music is becoming more and more accessible for self-expression because you no longer need to have access to a musical instrument—you can create it in the same way you interact with the rest of the world—a tap and a swipe.
Let’s focus on your background as an archival engineer. What sparked your interest in that field?
I have always loved music and have had a technical mind. Being in proximity to music; getting to be a part of the process has always been my dream, which is why I got my degree in audio engineering. Out of college, being an archival engineer gave me a steady income, I got to be around music all day, and the rest is history.
Did you have a career in music or any other field before starting at VEVA as an archival engineer?
VEVA was one of my part-time jobs my senior year in college, along with my internship at the House of Blues Studios. When I graduated, House of Blues and VEVA both offered me a full-time position. I remember listing out the pros/cons of each position and went with VEVA because it was so niche and new (at the time). I was excited at the prospect of learning new things and having the opportunity to listen to great music. Because one of my part-time jobs in college turned into what it has—VEVA has been it for me!
We know that COVID has hit the music industry pretty hard. How do you feel the services you are offering help artists maintain contact with fans during this difficult time?
Our products empower creators of music to get proper credit, and to keep their recordings safe—ultimately ensuring payment for their work. Empowering artists to stay organized as we all collaborate remotely is what allows them to continue to create music for their fans and get paid for it, which is the ultimate goal.
What additional advice do you have for musicians who are looking to preserve the fan connection for the duration of the pandemic?
The best thing you can do is keep creating. Whether it’s music, social content, or virtual experiences, make sure that while everything is falling apart—creating isn’t canceled. Any fans you have are because of what you create for the world.
Is there anything you would like to add as far as new personal developments or up and coming products and services from VEVA?
Our newest platform, VEVACollect.com, was built specifically for anyone creating music to collaborate, get and keep the credit, and keep their files safe. We wanted to build something that people can trust with their unreleased recordings, as well as keep accurate track of credits and metadata. You can get an account for free at VEVAcollect.com!