With his first ever concert being The Grateful Dead, it makes sense that Paradigm Agency’s Lee Anderson would build a career in music. He doesn’t recall much about that show he explained because he was a child, not for any other Deadhead related activity.
Anderson channeled that earlier introduction to music into a job by the time he was studying at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont.
“I started with a marketing internship at Nectars in Burlington and have not looked back since,” Anderson told Amplify. “I took an internship in marketing for a couple of venues. Then I started running all of their marketing and promotion a few months after they hired me.”
Meanwhile, Anderson was also tour managing and managing bands during his time in college, getting to know another side of the business.
“Then I started doing shows. They asked me to be a talent buyer,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to be a talent buyer, because I wanted to do stuff with a lot of venues. But then I took over a week at each venue and that’s how I became a promoter for six and a half years.”
In 2008, Anderson joined electronic dance agency AM Only where he rose to Vice President. When AM Only was purchased by Paradigm, he joined forces with one of the largest agencies in the business.
“I’ve always worked on the live side,” Anderson said, acknowledging that after 11 years he feels being an agent is the right fit in the industry for him. “I get to be more creative with the touring and the growth of an artist’s career. Yeah, I’m putting a show on, but I still get to have that touch of what will be a great show and a fan experience.”
As an agent, Anderson has grown the careers of Skrillex, Zedd, Disclosure, Claude VonStroke, Jacob Banks, and Normani. He’s also currently helping to build Paradigm’s hip-hop roster with Gucci Mane, MadeinTYO, and London On Da Track. We caught up with Anderson to learn about five of his favorite shows.
Steve Winwood at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts
June 25, 1991
My mom took me to this show with one of her friends. I remember having two pavilion tickets and a lawn seat, and having to stub my mom’s friend down. Stubbing down is when you only have two tickets for the good seats like in the pavilion, so you send somebody with one of the tickets back and you sneak somebody else down. I was about nine or ten. This is my first concert memory, as well as my first memory of “tricking the system.”
Aug. 18, 1997
This day was epic. The crowd rioted. They tore the entire side of the lawn up and burned the fences down. Google it, shit got crazy that day. The Meadows had one of the craziest tailgate cultures, and this show was one of the wildest of all time. I was 15 or 16. To be completely honest, I think I drank two forties before the show and smoked a few blunts. I wasn’t really tearing stuff down, just in the middle of it.
Rat Dog at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury
March 26, 1998
This was my first weeknight “drive a few hours, hit the show, and drive back that night” experience. I was 16 years old and have probably done 150 plus nights/shows like this since. I remember Rob Wasserman killing it that night even with the bad acoustics in a gymnasium. We were smoking some very strong weed and I remember being super tired in homeroom the next day.
Up in Smoke Tour at Hartford Civic Center in Connecticut
July 22, 2000
This show was big budget. People weren’t touring that way, massive stage and heavy production at that time. Everybody was at the top of their game. Eminem was in his prime. Dr Dre and every West Coast rapper you’d want to see at that time. Massive stage production with a low rider bouncing on stage plus a giant skull that moved around and spoke. This was big budget hip hop touring at it’s finest.
Jay Z at Terminal 5 in New York City
May 17, 2015
This was night two of Jay Z’s B-Sides shows at Terminal 5. Jay is my favorite artist of all time (Phish being a very close second). He is our generation’s Beatles. I never miss a chance to see a Jay show, and have seen him live over 40 times. This particular show was probably my all-time favorite. It was no hits, just all the raw street records that I actually listen to but rarely see live. My co-worker Callender and I watched this show from the side of the first level floor and rapped along to every single lyric of the night. Pretty sure we both lost our voices.