Inspiring Women: Meet the Country Music Exec Who's Changing the Game
Beth Laird is the co-founder and CEO of Nashville-based Creative Nation.
She's a passionate music executive. He's a songwriter who's written mega country hits for stars like Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, and Little Big Town. Together Beth and Luke Laird are the husband and wife team behind Creative Nation, a music publishing and management company based in Nashville. They are very clearly a fabulous duo personally (they're parents of two boys) and professionally (Creative Nation has sent over 40 songs to radio over the last six years).
The Lairds have continued to expand Creative Nation since its start in 2011 and now they have a roster that includes singer-songwriters like Barry Dean, Kassi Ashton, Lori McKenna, and more. The company prides itself on being a boutique shop where everyone brings something unique to the team. It's a refreshing philosophy, especially in the music business.
To get a bit more insight into the scene, we chatted with Beth about the music business, how she got this far, and the best part of her day.
Tell us about Creative Nation and a little about what you do.
Creative Nation is a music company in Nashville, TN founded by my husband, Luke, and I in 2011. We focus on being strategic and over-serving our 11 songwriter clients in all facets of their careers to help them fulfill their creative dreams. That looks different for each client, but some of the services we provide are music publishing, management, artist development, and records.
What makes Creative Nation different than most music publishing companies? Why are those things important to you and Luke?
There are a lot of great, talented songwriters and employees in the music business, but we really pride ourselves on working with people that specifically fit our culture and make the whole company better. Each writer and staff member brings something unique to our team and we love to bring out that uniqueness to help people grow and succeed. Having the right people on the team is important to us because we all challenge each other to be the best we can be and have a lot of fun doing it.
What are three things that got you to where you are today?
People believed in me along the way and offered me opportunities that I took full advantage of. Without those opportunities and those people, I wouldn’t be here. First, Regina Stuve gave me an internship in the music business and her husband Ron hired me as the receptionist at BMG Music Publishing. Also, Jody Williams hired me at BMI and was an incredible mentor to me when I needed to learn and grow the most. He was even supportive when I told him Luke and I had the opportunity to start Creative Nation and I had to leave BMI. And finally, my husband Luke believed in me so much that we sold his publishing catalog, put the money in a bank account, and started Creative Nation together.
What is the hardest part of your job? How do you keep balanced?
The hardest part of my job is the responsibility that comes along with owning your own company. I don’t take it lightly that all these writers and employees have chosen our team. I want to do the best job I can to help them fulfill their creative dreams and support their families. That responsibility is a lot more than I anticipated because ultimately I have to make the final decisions. I balance it by taking one day at a time and one task at a time. I ask a lot of questions and get as much information as I can before I make a decision then I let it go and move on to the next.
What did it mean to you to be named in Billboard's '30 Under 30 Power Players to Watch' list a few years ago?
It was a big deal for me and validated that I had chosen the right career path. It also felt really great to know that my peers thought I was doing a good job. It’s great to be recognized by your industry and peers but there really is nothing better than the joy of helping a creative person accomplish their goals, big or small.
What is your biggest career accomplishment so far?
When we started Creative Nation, we put enough money in the bank to run CN for 5 years. We took a big risk so when we celebrated our 5 year anniversary on 11/1/2016 it was a huge milestone and we had a big show and party to celebrate. Knowing that we were successful and could keep building the company the way we wanted to was a huge accomplishment for Luke and me.
What is your favorite part of your day?
When I get to dream with my songwriter clients about their goals and brainstorm ways to help accomplish them.
At Livingly, our motto is Live Life Beautifully. What does living beautifully mean to you?
It means prioritizing the things in life that are the most important and letting the little things go.