Monmouth alumna, Lexi Todd, was recently named to Billboard’s 40 Under 40 list of young music executives. After graduating in 2013, she is now working as an attorney within the music industry. By day, she is involved with many influential artists in a political sense. But by night, she is developing her own musical endeavors through her solo career and band.
Todd always knew music was her life’s purpose. “I was always music focused, like many creatives, that was the thing for me,” she said. When applying to colleges, she applied to many well-known schools for music. However, Todd soon came to the realization that she didn’t want to make music as part of her job, but rather wanted to keep it as something she enjoyed and did part time.
In high school, she had taken AP Government and Politics her senior year and found an interest in it. This was the first time that she had thought she might be interested in something more than music.
Todd describes moments of panic during this stage of her life, “This has been the thing that has been my driving force my entire life, but no one ever told me I had to do it.” She wasn’t fond of the idea of her schoolwork being tailored around her passions and the source of her grades. This led to her canceling her music school applications and reapplying to political science programs.
Todd earned her degree in political science with minors in philosophy and Spanish. During college, she realized there had to be a trade-off of putting a lot of extra work not only into school but to develop her music career as well. At the time, she was taking a full course load, while preparing to go to law school.
During summers, she worked multiple jobs and she often utilized Monmouth’s location to be a part of the music scene in New York City. “You have to hustle while you’re young, do everything you’re interested in to a point that is healthy to you. You will eventually hit a point where you have to start saying no. Listen to your body,” said Todd.
There is one thing that Todd wished she did while at Monmouth. She said, “I think I would have tried to be more involved with the music department. I did a lot of new things outside of Monmouth and could have associated with music students.” She related to the idea that we are often taught young to choose to only pursue one thing; however, she strived to nurture both her creative and academic mindset.
After graduating from Monmouth, Todd chose to attend Brooklyn Law School, a school well known in the entertainment industry. “I knew at the end of sophomore year that I wanted to go to grad school, I had a newfound love and appreciation for academics.”
She described feeling like she wanted more school and wasn’t ready to stop her growth and momentum. Todd decided to stay near New York City because she still wanted to pursue music. During law school, she also worked, started her own record label, was in a band, and worked on solo projects. “Without the balance of my creative pursuits, I don’t know if I would’ve continued to pursue a career in law,” she said.
Following her time in school she saw a career that was full time music, part time law. Since then, things have flipped. She is now working as an attorney with all things music-related. She is heavily involved in acquisitions on catalogs of music, rights of music, and more. Todd works on all the new initiatives, branding opportunities, and works with all the different departments. At night or whenever it’s possible, she fits in writing and recording sessions for her own music.
“The best part of being a musician in my day-to-day life as a music lawyer is that I understand the other side in ways that most lawyers don’t. I can come up with creative ideas beyond what a lawyer would normally propose. I can see the full 360.”
Todd said that she was surprised to hear that she made the Billboard’s list, as an individual normally gets recognized with this honor when they get closer to their 40s. Todd said, “I knew I had been submitted the previous year, but not accepted. It is definitely a huge accomplishment, generally people who achieve that have fulfilling careers in the music industry. Although, it’s not exactly a measure of who I am as a person.”
Todd’s advice to Monmouth students who might be interested in an artistic career but are in the same boat as her when it comes to not majoring in something arts related is to, “Start where it’s easy, utilize the things on campus that you’re interested in, and to take advantage of Monmouth’s strategic location.”
Todd describes her solo music as “Lo-fi Indie Soul Funk” and will hopefully be releasing a full-length album soon. Lexi Todd is on Spotify, all social media platforms (@lexitoddmusic), and at lexitodd.com, where everyone can keep an eye out for new work in the coming year.