Charese Fruge Talks To Sherry Alaghehban

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on August 25, 2020

She’s the first person I met when I moved to Denver in 2005 to program Alice 105.9, KALC. Within a 24 hour period of meeting her, Sherry Alaghehband was driving me to the emergency room because I was in so much pain and I literally thought I was having a heart attack. As it turns out, I had Gallbladder Disease and it was time for the damn thing to come out. Not only did she stay with me while I was there, but she also stood guard at the door of the public restroom to make sure no one came in while I was in there because I was a PP (Paranoid P*##@*). In my defense, I told her, I had learned that term from Oprah, because Oprah was one too.

She also talked me off the ledge because I had literally NEVER been in the hospital before and she sat with my mom while I was in surgery (I had to have a second one BTW to remove stones). Ever since then, she has become one of my favorite people in the world and I owe her big time. I lived in LoDo near Coors Field at the time and her apartment complex was literally across the park from mine. I will never forget the days of us crossing the park to meet one another to go for a bike ride, followed by the appropriate cocktail.

Her life is completely different now. Sherry is currently a wife and mom and Senior Director of Promotion for Atlantic Records working in Seattle. Based on the above story you can tell she’s a wonderful human being and has such a great story to tell, particularly about how she got in to the business. “I was a bartender at a music venue in Grand Rapids, MI,” she says. “I told the owner the bands he was booking weren’t bringing in crowds. He let me book shows at 21. I spent our advertising budget with radio – and it brought promo tours, radio and record label relationships into my world. I met Michelle Tyrell (at Warner Bros. at the time), told her I wanted to be her. She told me I needed to work my way up. That night I got on my dial-up internet, saw that Sony had a college rep opening in Grand Rapids, faxed my resume from Meijer Grocery store at 3am, and the rest is a lot of mileage.”

In 2003 Sherry became the Sony Music Retail Coordinator for Michigan. She was then hired by Epic where she worked as a Regional Promotion Rep for seven years in both Denver and DC. In 2011 she was hired to be the San Francisco Regional Promotion Rep by Atlantic Records. She moved to Seattle in 2012 and thanks to her passion for music and her drive, she was just recently promoted to Senior Director. “Playing a role in an artist’s career is so special. It has also given me an incredible community of friends that I get to grow and share life with.”

Trying to balance her career and family today, during the new Covid normal, is challenging, but she’s making it work. “I’m lucky to have a true 50/50 partner in all of it. Working and parenting fills every quiet space, but the joy of our little man forces us to show up and get out of our heads. And A LOT of communicating, calendars and highlighting goes on,” says Alaghehband. And while drinking tea after 2p and potential promo schedule mix ups are the two things that keep her up at night, she has several outlets to keep her sane,…“running, toddler cuddles, husband, Magnesium, and Mezcal. In that order!” she says.

Working with artists on a major label like Atlantic has its ups and downs and Sherry has definitely paid her dues. “Once I had to be a decoy for Kehlani to distract an overcrowded event, raincoat covering my head, escorted by security and diving in to the back of a large SUV. Fortunately there were no injuries,” she says. “I also spent time waiting for an artist to have their wig sewn on, one hair at a time until 2 o’clock in the morning. But the best was when I had to de-thorn dozens of roses and find sparkling grape juice (instead of champagne) for FloRida to shower a radio crowd with. Lots of sticky kids that summer, but an incredible showman.”

Atlantic has an impressive list of artists to work with. A few of her favorites according to Alaghehband: “Ed Sheeran is consistently wonderful, Ava Max’s work ethic is next level. No one cooler to be around than Rob Thomas, Grouplove is a joy, and no one makes you feel more appreciated at a show than Shinedown. I’ve fallen in love with each artist for different reasons but seeing our artists grow personally and professionally is truly what’s most gratifying.”

Sherry says she’s had many great mentors in the music business, but there is one woman a lot of people share in common, Andrea Ganis. “She is Mount Rushmore. Her belief in me made me believe in myself. She leads with integrity, ownership, and humility,” she says. “Jacqueline Saturn, also on Mount Rushmore, was also a great mentor. I was a stranger in her office when she took me in, and she gave me the opportunity of a life time (and – almost as important – pushed me to moisturize).”

“I moved here from Iran in 1992 and learned English by watching ‘Who’s The Boss?’” says Alaghehband. “That’s why mentoring is so important. All I knew of Sony was from a rich friend’s television decal. I’m here because I hustled hard, but also because someone had to open that door – and many did that for me. Many took me in, from couches to picking up my calls. I will never take that for granted, or the spirit of giving that back. I am so excited about this next phase of my career – and doing and being more.”

The most important advice Sherry can offer for those looking to getting in to the record side of the business, “Work hard, ALWAYS listen to your intuition, own your mistakes, and most importantly, learn from them.”

Follow Sherry Alaghehband on Instagram @Sherryalagheh