Nihar Mandapatty

Joseph Letizio ‘22

In 5 years, I see myself working in New York at a record label on a digital marketing team and continuing to lead and grow Sphere Music into a prominent force in the music industry. Ultimately, I hope to continue working with incredible artists and meeting amazing people to learn from.

– NIHAR M. –

What has been your experience with ‘Cane Records?

I started in ‘Cane Records when I was a sophomore in college. I became interested in working in the backend of the music industry and wanted to learn more about how record labels functioned.

I joined as an A&R coordinator, helping the team find talent at the university and liaison between artists and the label. In my junior year, I switched departments and was a marketing coordinator, then finally was promoted to the VP of Marketing. My time there has been fantastic, and I’ve worked with amazing people and unique artists.

How did you co-found Sphere Music LLC?

At Music Biz 2019, a music conference held in Nashville, I met Connor Jordan from Monmouth University, who I immediately knew I wanted to connect and work with. After trialing different ideas and talking to our professors about what the music industry could use more of, we finally

created Sphere Music LLC, a digital marketing company focused on helping musicians understand their audiences and increase their online presence.

So far, we’ve worked with talented artists from colleges and big names in the industry, such as ToniSteelz, a Grammy-considered hip-hop vocalist from Brooklyn.

What are your top accomplishments?

In 2016, after almost ten months of hard work, I released Tomorrow, my first debut collaboration EP with my good friend, Lachlan McArthur. This was my first step into the world of music production, and I was incredibly proud of what we had achieved together. In 2017, I auditioned and placed into the principal trumpet seat for the ILMEA All-State Honors Band; a musical ensemble formed once a year featuring the best classical instrumentalists from the State of Illinois. The University of Miami Frost School of Music is my dream school––I was accepted with a full-tuition scholarship. In 2018, I released my first solo album, Departures, on all streaming platforms. This 2-year project contained some of my most personal and most valuable music works. In 2020, I produced Gemini 7 for my funk band, JMOD, which received over 7,000 plays on streaming platforms. I also released a single titled Love (Where I Was), which, to date, is my best performing song of all time.

Is there anything that you would change?

I’m thrilled with where I am right now and very proud of myself for achieving the things I’ve achieved. Maybe some coding knowledge earlier on would have been nice, but I can learn Python whenever I want. Honestly, in terms of the direction, my career has taken, I don’t think I would have changed a thing.

What are your strengths & weaknesses?

In the words of one of my professors, “I’m a good talker.” I enjoy connecting with other people and learning about their lives on both a professional and personal level. I thrive off of working with others––though I do good work on my own, I work best within a team of people. I can adapt to changing situations quite well. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. I’m my own worst critic, and I expect a lot from myself, which sometimes leads to getting tunnel-visioned into a specific task to try and make it perfect even if there are still multiple tasks that need doing. On a personal level, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I come across to others and what they think of me as a person.

What are your hobbies?

Aside from making music, my biggest hobby is video gaming––specifically racing and flight simulators––as well as video editing. When I have free time, you’ll probably be trying to get a perfect lap time in on my racing simulator, editing a video for one of my YouTube channels, or flying a transatlantic flight in Flight Simulator.

* I’ve also recently started getting more into streaming on Twitch, as well as Chess.

Do you have any mentors? If so, who are they?

Aside from my parents, who are the most incredible mentors I’ve had so far, my music marketing professor and Director of ‘Cane Records, Guillermo Page, and my music publishing professor, John Redmond, have both been great mentors during my time at UM.

What does style/entertainment mean to you?

Entertainment is so much more than just something that gives me pleasure––entertainment gives my life meaning and purpose. Entertainment is a late-night conversation in the car with a friend about philosophy, a piece of good food, a relaxing drive down a country road. Things keep occurring, things keep changing, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to experience all of it. Style is how you wear your personality––how it’s showcased to the rest of the world, not just through the clothes you wear, but also how you conduct yourself and the exact way you communicate.

Favorite music memory/music genre?

I couldn’t possibly choose any specific memory from college, they’ve all been fantastic, and nearly all of the music somehow. One of my favorite musical memories was when I performed at a concert in Valencia, Spain, with my high school band. After playing a nearly flawless performance, we received a standing ovation. I glanced at an older woman who was wiping tears from her eyes as she applauded. There’s simply no other feeling in the world like that.

What motivates you?

Two things mainly motivate me––the first is other people. The knowledge that if I do great work, I’ll make someone happy, whether it’s an artist I’m working with, a band member, or one of my professors, is one of the most fulfilling parts of working in the music industry. The industry revolves around ultimately making people feel emotions. The second, quite frankly, is me. I’m my own worst critic who, admittedly, sometimes may not be healthy, but I’m the most aware of the excellent work that I’m capable of doing, so I’m always pushing myself to be better than I was a minute ago––to be improving continually and learning from my experiences.

Valley Girl does not own any of the photos in this article.

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