Career Spotlight: Founder of BABËL NYC – Juriel Zeligman
When did you realize that you wanted a career in the music industry?
Music and entrepreneurship have been in my bones ever since I can remember. I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment since I was young, helping out with my mother’s business and I discovered house music when I was ten. A friend of mine, Jill, had given me a cassette tape literally labeled ‘House Music’ that I played non-stop. From that point on, I did everything to dive into the music world, and eventually events. I was mesmerized by the whole energy around it. So much so, that I started my own music production company called One Music when I was 17 years old and I have kept going in the industry ever since.
Who are memorable artists and organizations Babel has worked with in the past?
We are very proud of the partnerships and relationships we’ve engaged in. We curate our music and events with care and work with artists who don’t ride with the status quo and who stay true to their art form. You will notice that all the DJs we work with have developed their true signature sound, artists like Eduardo Castillo who has become a dear friend of ours, Nu, and Acid Pauli. We celebrated Halloween and 4th of July with Guy Gerber, which was outstanding, and most recently worked with cool names like Soul Clap and Pillow Talk.
Our collaborations are diverse, whether its with Whitewall and Flaunt magazines or our monthly guided meditation with the Path – they reflect the spirit of our community – fusing the worlds of music, art, fashion and spirituality into an immersive experience. Through our monthly residences at iconic venues including the theatrical Diamond Horseshoe (home of Queen of the Night) and the beautiful Bowery Hotel, we are able to create unforgettable and magical experiences for our community.
I also want to highlight a couple of exciting partnerships that are important for us and that allow us to give back. We were able to showcase New York artists in our first collaborative event and fundraiser for Burning Man and have recently embarked on a partnership to raise funds and awareness on environmental issues for the RainForest Foundation.
How did you work your way up to the position you currently have with BABËL and what does your position at BABËL entail?
I co-founded BABËL in 2013 with Waël Mechri Yver. There is a great dynamic between us based on a compatible synergy around our experience and respective know how. As a co-founder of a start up you have to handle everything that comes up whether its sales, accounting, legal or brand development. Between us, we have over two decades of experience in the music and events industries so we are able to build BABËL on a strong foundation, finding harmony with Waël taking the creative lead and myself making sure the business is running smoothly.
What is your favorite aspect of your job and least favorite aspect?
I am living out my passion – everything we are creating with BABËL is based on a love for what we do and this is what keeps me going when there are difficult periods. It’s really great to see how the city has responded to our music and events and in particular, the ethos around building a creative community that unifies New Yorker’s from across diverse tribes. Those moments when everything comes together and our efforts manifest into reality, those are the moments of magic I live for: when you see people coming together, enjoying themselves and having moments of connection, building community.
Is there anything you do for work on a daily basis others might be surprised about?
My daily routine always incorporates some kind of mind and bodywork like meditation or Tai Chi. In this industry and city it’s so easy to lose yourself so I create habits to make sure I stay grounded and balanced and am constantly exploring consciousness and energy work.
How do you feel working in the music industry differs from other industries and is working in the music industry as cut-throat and challenging as many people make it out to be?
This industry can be difficult: its competitive, time and trend sensitive, and high risk. When you create something for an audience, you are exposing yourself in a raw and immediate way. There are a lot of long hours, mistakes and failures behind any successful artist or company in this industry. If you want to pursue a career in it, it shouldn’t be for the gloss and glamour of it, but from a true love and passion for it.
Do you have any advice for those trying to find a career path in the music realm?
I would encourage anyone who wants to pursue this career path to follow your passion and supplement this with knowledge of the industry. Develop a full understanding of the nuts and bolts of the industry from macro to micro level: meet as many people as possible and build up your technical knowledge, understand market trends, etc.
And don’t be afraid to start, if you have a passion for this industry, dive in and go for it! Know that along the way you will fall, but what’s more important is to know that you will stand up. I have made so many mistakes and encountered a lot of down times but I see all those as a part of my journey to knowing how to build what we are growing with BABËL.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This speaks also to the preceding questions, but I want to emphasize how important intention and passion are to quality. At BABËL, we are able to curate quality music and events, in part because we are not responding to trends, but through maintaining a focus on integrity with our creative and artistic efforts. We’re living in a consumer society where business has been driven by desire for economic benefit and our intention is to drive our business based on pushing the envelope of creativity and community and allow for more innovation. We didn’t accept the mandatory bottle service model of nightlife for example, and have created events that are more focused on bringing people together, and people are responding.
A big thank you to Juriel Zeligman for taking the time to share his EDMJob with us in this Career Spotlight. If you’re interested in to work with BABËL NYC, be sure to check out the positions available at EDMJobs.