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Miranda McDonald: Nashville looks good on you

News Letter Journal - Staff Photo -
Submitted photo Director of Midwest promotion for MCA, Donna Passuntino, left, and Miranda (Williams) McDonald, right, pose for a photo with Jordan Davis at MCA.
Summer Bonnar, NLJ Reporter

Newcastle High School 1999 alum Miranda McDonald continues to climb the ladder of success in the country music world and was recently named the vice president of a major record label in Nashville, Tennessee.

McDonald moved to Nashville after studying at Chadron State University in Nebraska. After her time at Chadron, she moved to Portland, Oregon, for the summer. There she met and befriended a keyboard player for the country music group Rascal Flatts, and the idea of living in Nashville was born.

“I went to visit my local bank and I got a loan on a Tuesday, got a car on a Wednesday, and I left on a Thursday and drove out (to Nashville),” McDonald said.

Now, after years of working at various labels, such as Valory as a radio regional and a CMT radio host and reporter, she is now starting her 13th year with MCA Records Inc. McDonald has recently been named its vice president.

Her brother, Jason Williams, supported his sister’s decision to drop college and move far from home to the big city. He laughed as she packed up her old car with all her belongings, but he had faith in her.

“When she did that, I figured she would make something work,” Williams said, “I don’t think any-body thought she would be VP of a record label, but we knew she’d be something.”

Upon her arrival in Nashville, small-town Miranda got a job at a gym where she knew that a lot of people in the music industry went. From there, she networked and landed a job working on music videos. Her first job was working on Blake Shelton’s “Ol’ Red” video in 2001. Then she really got the ball rolling on her career when she secured a job at CMT network, where she worked for four years as a radio host and reporter.

McDonald was happy with what she was doing, but then a more fitting role came to her attention when country artist Craig Morgan told McDonald that she would make a great “radio regional.” This title entails covering a specific territory with the purpose of getting your artists on the radio.

“I knew that I could talk to people very easily, but I never knew there was a job that was tailor-made for that,” McDonald explained. “My job is promotion. It is me creating relationships and being vocal about music and working people on the charts.”

After spending a few years at CMT, McDonald moved on to Valory Music Co., where she was the Southwest radio regional. After getting some experience in her new job, McDonald was on the move once again.

In 2012, she was hired by Universal Music Group Nashville as its new Southwest regional director. Last year, McDonald was made vice president of national promotion, and in January of this year, she was named vice president of MCA Records Inc. In her national promotion position, she worked with all four regions, but she admitted that being named vice president of MCA is a dream come true.

“It was always a dream of mine to run one of them,” McDonald said.

Williams admires his sister as she lives out her dream.

“It has been awesome; nothing will make you prouder,” Williams said.

With most of McDonald’s family still living in the Weston County area, she makes an effort to come home to see her family every once in a while.

“It’s tough, but at least when I come home, I get to see all of them,” she said.

Williams told the NLJ that there are times when McDonald even brings her artists back to Wyoming with her. The family hosts a big branding every year, and one year McDonald brought country singer Justin Moore to sing at the branding.

“She always brought the new artists out here and showed them her life and where she grew up. I always thought that was pretty cool,” Williams said.

Williams said he even moved to Nashville for a couple of years to get a closer look at the life his sister was living.

“She introduced me as a little small-town guy who likes country music,” Williams explained.

While he didn’t last long living in Nashville, Williams said that he still enjoys going to visit his sister with his friends. McDonald has been known to share the love and treat her family and friends to some of the benefits of her career.

“She will get people backstage or somehow end up on a tour bus. She’s hooked up a lot of my friends who have never seen anything like that,” Williams said. “She’s just giving a ton of people a cool experience, that most people don’t get to have, and I love that.”

Even while doing all these amazing things for her friends and family, McDonald stays humble. She didn’t even tell her brother about her promotion; he found out from a news article.

McDonald says she knows why she is in a job where so many exciting things have already happened in the short time she has been vice president. In the month and a half since she was promoted, the company has its second No. 1 of the year with Sam Hunt, and another one with Parker McCollum.

“It feels awesome. I have a really strong team,” McDonald said. “My team is making me look very good, coming in and us getting a couple No. 1s right away is pretty awesome. It feels really good.”

While it is exciting to work with these popular artists, McDonald said she really enjoys breaking new artists. (Breaking an artist means that the artist goes from a local community performer to a celebrity star status with all the advances, royalties, etc., according to Digital Music News.) McDonald is currently working with a new female country artist and is excited for what is to come, she said. Justin Moore was the first artist she ever had the pleasure of breaking.

“When you are able to see an actual difference in making someone’s career, that is what’s really special,” McDonald said, “I have been a part of breaking a couple artists, and there is nothing more gratifying than that.”

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