Category: GEMA, GEMA Externship

Title:GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now? Tommy Massad (C’17)

Tommy Massad (C ‘17) is a songwriter and radio professional in Nashville, Tennessee. For part of the year, he is touring with Kenny Chesney as producer and personality on Chesney’s SiriusXM channel No Shoes Radio. The rest of the year, Tommy is writing songs for other artists as well as recording his own. You can hear Tommy on the radio on SiriusXM channel 59, and you can hear his songs anywhere you listen to music. I’m always looking to make connections!  Whether new friends or older friends looking to reconnect, please reach out to me at or on Instagram @tommymassadmusic.

What was your first “big break” into your industry? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?

Hey y’all! I’m a songwriter and radio professional here in Nashville, Tennessee. My first big break came somewhat quickly after my graduation from Georgetown–when I was 22, I was hired as the producer of The Storme Warren Show, which at the time was SiriusXM’s flagship country music broadcast. Storme has since left SiriusXM, but for several years there, I had a blast working with all of my country music heroes, crash-course learning the ropes of the radio industry, and networking, networking, networking. It was a dream come true–I had been a high school kid reading through Dolly Parton’s Wikipedia page just five years prior, and then there I was booking, producing, editing, and publishing her appearance on our show. An encounter like this seemed to be happening all the time, and I loved that job so very much.

Getting the position didn’t come out of nowhere–I’d been Storme’s intern the prior summer before my senior year at Georgetown. That summer, I’d been working for Storme in the mornings from 6:00am to 1:00pm, then working as a dishwasher at a California Pizza Kitchen from 3:00pm to 10:00pm to pay for rent and groceries. That was a long few months, but I formed a really positive mentor-mentee relationship with Storme (a dear friend to this day), and I put myself in position for the producer job the next year.

Last thing–it was a Hoya mentor of mine, Teddy Zambetti, who turned me on to the SiriusXM internship program in the first place (Teddy works at SiriusXM). He helped set up my interview for that Nashville summer internship, and then I continued with another SiriusXM internship in our DC studios the fall semester of my senior year. Then I got the producer job that I wanted the summer after graduation. All this to say, my “big break” was made possible by several things–some benevolent mentors helping me out, some fortunate timing, some youthful gumption, and some good long days.

What was your first job?

My first job following graduation from Georgetown was at the agency CAA, where I was an assistant in the contracts department in the Nashville office.

Even though I cherished the job and was learning a lot, I quickly had to depart–early in my time at CAA, SiriusXM finally came calling to offer me the producer job on The Storme Warren Show. Agencies are accustomed to brief tenures, and I got to meet and build relationships with just about everyone in the Nashville office before moving on to another great job in the industry. Ultimately, it really worked out for CAA and for myself.

What do you do in your job now? What is your favorite part of your current position?

Today, I am a radio personality and producer on Kenny Chesney’s SiriusXM channel, No Shoes Radio. I tour with Kenny Chesney to stadiums and arenas across the country, interviewing Kenny, the band, the crew, the opening acts, and the fans who come to see the shows. The folks who come to see a Kenny Chesney show are already in a great mood–my job is to take them even higher, from a 9 to a 12, and then to turn on the microphone and broadcast all of that positive passion and loving communal energy across North America.

There’s nothing like being on tour, and there’s really nothing like being on tour with an artist who’s been a superhero in your eyes since you were a child. When my friends and I were in high school, we’d all go down to my friend Cole’s lake house. We’d be listening to George Strait, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Chesney, Alabama Shakes, Zac Brown Band, and the rest. This year, I’ll be on tour with Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band playing sold out NFL stadiums all over the place. Making radio! Put simply, I love my job.

The rest of the year, I’m writing songs, either for other artists or for myself. There’s something special about each–it’s thrilling to dip into someone else’s artistry and to help them tell their own story. Simultaneously, some songs that you write are evidently your own. Come see my show, if I’m ever in your area!

What was the externship experience like for you? Did it have an influence on your career/help kickstart your career?

The externship had a direct influence on my career–it was during my externship in New York that I visited the CAA offices there. With the help of a Georgetown alum who I’d met that day, I arranged an interview with the CAA offices in Nashville, and a couple months later, I started that first job out of school.

The externship was so informative and instructive for me. In addition to all of the contacts we were able to make, the externship was able to tangibly demonstrate to our entire cohort that the entertainment industry is vast, and that there are a thousand different roads to explore.

Let me cut against that idea, though–while the industry is so expansive, the externship also taught us that you’re probably only one or two degrees, one or two connections, away from pretty much anybody in the field. So at the end of the day, the work of building and maintaining professional relationships may be as key to someone’s success as the skill they have at their actual day-to-day profession (songwriting, law, film editing, whatever).

What part(s) of the Externship did you find most valuable?

Prior to my externship, I’d only ever spent a few hours or a night in New York City. So to spend a whole week there learning the neighborhoods by walking them was in itself very valuable, given I’m frequently visiting these days.

The professional lessons learned during the externship were many, and the networking proved valuable toward helping me land my first job. But perhaps the piece of the externship that I look back on most fondly is the way that the externship deepened my investment and involvement within the Georgetown community.

We are Hoyas for life. And if not for my externship, I might’ve taken a less active role in the Hoya community post-college. But the experience of the externship itself and the connections that I made throughout the week helped to tee me up for a more active role as a Georgetown alum. We’re all GEMA folks of course (love all y’all!), but I’m additionally active in the middle Tennessee AAP, and in 2022 helped put on John Carroll Weekend here in Nashville. With that in mind, if you’re a Hoya coming through Nashville or doing business here, please reach out to me!

What was your experience like attending Georgetown? Were there any particularly formative experiences that were special to you?

I’d been dreaming of attending Georgetown since I was about ten years old. Obsessed with American politics, I would watch Meet the Press and This Week every Sunday over pancakes and waffles with my brother and my parents. So when I got to Georgetown, it was like coming home.

I ended up as a double major, studying Government and American Musical Culture. It made for a bifurcated Georgetown experience–while the Government department had hundreds of students, I graduated with just three other American Musical Culture majors. Because we were so small and scrappy, I cherished our music department and everyone in it–Anna Celenza, Frederick Binkholder, and Benjamin Harbert had a huge impact on my experience. On the Government side, Terrence Johnson’s Philosophy of Liberation class made for my favorite and most spiritually valuable experience.

None of my Georgetown experience would have been possible without the guidance and the financial support provided by Missy Foy and the Georgetown Scholarship Program. At every turn, I’ll thank those folks.

What’s your advice for an undergraduate trying to break into your industry? Is there anything you would tell your younger self now?

One lesson I learned in the years after I graduated from Georgetown is about self-advocacy in the entertainment industry. Working in music is fun, it’s dynamic, and it can be glamorous. But it is still a business, and when it comes to your salary, your title, your livelihood…it’s up to you to ask for what you want/deserve, and it’s up to you to understand and convey your own value to your employer. I’m 28 now, but when I was in my early 20s, I thought that if I just worked extremely hard, accepted undue blame, shrugged off overdue credit, and kept my head down, someone in my company was just going to see me, and I would get the raise I wanted and the promotion I’d earned. Speaking to you undergrads–that ain’t how corporations work.

Tracking my own performance and measuring my output isn’t at all why I got into the music industry–I’m here because I love great songs, and music makes me feel alive and powerful and happy. But in order to grow here in Nashville, I have to be able to not only be valuable to my clients, but I need to be able to quantify, demonstrate, and communicate that value to them.

Name someone in your career who has been a valuable mentor or role model to you and why?

I’ve had many important mentors over the years–Storme Warren, Kenny Chesney, Jon Anthony, JR Schumann, Emily Fenton, Anna Celenza, Jim McCormick, Teddy Zambetti, Rich Battista, and more. I’ve also had completely wonderful teammates–Mary Carlisle Callahan, Kizzi Barazetti, Willie Morrison, Marcus Lustig, and others.

Storme in particular made an indelible mark when I was a younger man. I had no radio experience, no degree typical to radio professionals, and yet Storme fought for me and made me the producer of one of the biggest radio shows in the world. He went to bat for me, and I’ve learned so much from him about radio, about country music, and about the language of Nashville.