October 2014

Page 104

savvy womEn /

AW T a lks W i t h

Heather Wagner Reed’s Siren Songs How the lure of a love of music became a lifelong career. By Chad Swiatecki, photos by Dustin Meyer How’s this for a feather in a music lover’s cap? As Beyoncé Knowles was becoming a world-famous solo artist, Heather Wagner Reed was right there beside her. From 2002 to 2007, the lifelong music enthusiast helped direct the gifted singer’s career as part of the management team assembled by record producer and patriarch Mathew Knowles for the family’s Houston-based entertainment empire. Wagner Reed has since redirected her focus, living in Austin, where she founded and runs Juice Consulting, a public relations, product management and marketing company focused on music, visual arts and other creative industries, with clients ranging from international acts like Gloria Gaynor and local indie-rock bands, to nonprofits and esteemed visual-arts groups. We talked with her about the whirlwind experience of guiding Beyoncé’s early days—after getting started in college radio at the University of Georgia—and how she’s transitioned to a life balancing her work with marriage and motherhood, and serving on a number of arts and music boards. Austin Woman: First of all, how did you get a dream job, helping with day-to-day management of Beyoncé? Heather Wagner Reed: I had been working in the Netherlands for Universal Music, working on many of their European artists. We were breaking them all over the world, but I decided I wanted to get that type of experience working with a successful American artist. I kind of put my intentions out there into the universe, and I’ve found that often when I do that, the universe responds. AW: How did you come to work for the Knowles family? HWR: I met [father] Mathew Knowles at a conference in Atlanta after I got to know one of his employees, who I fondly call my uncle Ira, and after two interviews, Mathew brought me to Houston to work with his baby acts. Within three months, he assigned me the Beyoncé project. My life was forever changed, as I not only got to work with one of the most professional and beloved female artists in the business, but also the most talented people in the industry around the country and, for that matter, the world. It was an extremely exciting time in my life.

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