Jennifer Maynord is the Founder & Director of Artio Services, a creative artist agency connecting arts and business to positively shape communities and company cultures. Her female-led team serves businesses and artists through consulting, art curation, bookings, and events, and helps people and projects flourish through arts influencing. She is also a music artist with the band Willow Way and lives and works in Oklahoma City, OK.
How did you get started?
My dad taught me to play the guitar when I was young, and my mom taught me how to write poetry. That got me interested in writing songs as early as elementary school, and I kept going from there. I did musical theatre in middle school and into college. My sister and I started singing together when she was in grade school, and we’ve continued throughout the years. We have been active with our band, Willow Way, since 2013.
My formal education includes a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s in International Affairs (Conflict Resolution). My interest is how the arts can support communities in healing, relationship building and growth. In 2019, I started Artio Services with the mission of bridging arts and business to positively shape communities and company cultures, and we accomplish that through bookings, consulting, events and art curation.
Did you always want a career in the music industry?
Definitely. I’ve always had the desire to work with music, around music, and with other artists. In 2015, I started Cellar Door Music Group, which was a music blog and promotions company. It was my first experience working with professional artists and musicians, and I knew I had found my place. Cellar Door closed in 2018, after my family moved to Phoenix, but Artio carries pieces of Cellar Door’s vision forward and has expanded into working with artists of different modalities.
What is your role in the music industry?
I’m a singer-songwriter/musician/manager for Willow Way and the Founder and Director of Artio Services. Willow Way is an opportunity to collaborate with my sister and husband on music, and Artio allows me to work with various artists on community events and ideas. It’s a perfect mix.
Most Recent Successes / Placements / Accomplishments / Projects? Career highlight?
Willow Way gained some publishing highlights over the past few years with Netflix, USA, The Discovery Channel, The Oprah Winfrey Network, E! Television and MTV. We signed on with Outpost 31 Studios, a locally owned and operated label. It has been a win for us to be back in the studio after hitting many setbacks over the past two years. We are putting out a full-length album hopefully in 2022 (fingers crossed), and we look forward to playing live shows again.
I’ve been fortunate to work on festival projects that have created million-dollar economic impacts for Oklahoma City and have supported artists across the board. That has been really rewarding.
What is your favorite Oklahoma music venue, music store, or recording studio?
I love 51st Speakeasy because it’s been a hub for independent music artists for years. VZD’s, the Blue Note, Ponyboy, The Blue Door, and 89th Street Collective, have all stayed consistently committed to independent artists. Tower Theatre and The Jones Assembly have opened their stages to national acts and given platforms for local artists as headliners and supporting acts. That’s huge for our artists and music scene. It’s the building blocks to helping artists grow their careers and professional experience. Our local record stores, such as Guestroom Records and Trolley Stop Record Shop, have been supportive in helping artists promote and distribute their work. Music blogs and projects such as OK Sessions, Uncovering Oklahoma and Make Oklahoma Weirder have offered artists valuable features and press. Local district festivals have done a great job of hiring original music artists and giving them stages to perform. Each area/entity is an integral part in building our collective music scene in Oklahoma.
Networking and connecting with others who share your dream or vision is a vital aspect to the music industry. Can you share which Oklahoma organizations (if any) have contributed to your success and are there Oklahoma organization you would recommend other connect with? To help further their craft or promotion?
This is an honest, non-bias statement (due to the feature), but the Oklahoma Film and Music Office really helped me gain a start as an artist and professional. The OF+MO team would hire my sister and I to perform at industry mixers and supported Cellar Door Music Group in many ways. The KOSU team and Norman Music Festival also helped put Willow Way and my overall work on the map. Matt Stansberry (Nominee Design), Kindt Steven Myers (Humankind Hospitality), and Graham Colton (The Jones Assembly) were all pivotal in helping me grow artistically and professionally. Sometimes it just takes finding a few people who believe in you and are willing to work with you, and the ball starts rolling from there.
How can we follow you? Best place to purchase and listen to your music (if applicable)?
Advice for someone interested in working in the music industry.
Remember that each step of the way matters and is a building block. All the highs, lows, all wins and defeats are part of a larger creation process. As artists, we are creators. Don’t let a “no” stop you in your tracks and remember your resilience. Be flexible and willing to re-route when something isn’t working. Step through the doors of opportunity when they open for you and be willing to take risks. Collaborate and play well with others. Take care of the people who take care of you: rejoice in their successes, support them through their losses, and allow them to do the same with/for you. Stay the course and focus on what makes you light up while honoring yourself and others along the way. Overall, keep giving your gifts to the world in whatever ways you can. It all matters, and you never know when your work can lead to life changing experiences for yourself and others.
What are some of the benefits of having a music career in Oklahoma?
I’ve lived in Nashville, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and I haven’t found a music scene quite like Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. The support and camaraderie is like no other. People/artists value collaboration and want to help each other. Local businesses and districts are willing to uplift original music artists and help them succeed. There is an organic, grassroots feel here that is heartwarming. I’m really proud of Oklahoma and the growth we’ve had across music, film, the visual arts, etc. There’s honestly nowhere I’d rather live and work right now, and I’m so grateful for our community.
Favorite quote (if applicable)
“Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.” – Jalaluddin Rumi
This quote always reminds me to embrace the creative process I mentioned above. As artists and creators, we are constantly crumbling and rebuilding, crumbling and rebuilding. When we recognize and lean into the process, those wildflowers pop up at some point. They are the reminders to keep going and that it’s a true blessing to work in this creative space.