Martell Audate ’24 grew up about 40 miles east of Worcester in Milton, Massachusetts. When he arrived on The Hill, he knew little about the city the College of the Holy Cross calls home. As a rising junior, though, Audate discovered the beat of Worcester through an internship that placed him near the center of the hip-hop universe.
Audate worked with Worcester-based Jimmy Kang, vice president of the Wu-Tang Management and CEO and founder of Str8up Entertainment. Audate, an economics major, spent his summer at the table with Kang as he managed new artists and his businesses, and coordinated a 25-state tour featuring hip hop legends Wu-Tang Clan and Nas. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the performances.
What have you been doing this summer?
A lot of my tasks go hand in hand with what Jimmy’s doing. They are split up into two different sectors: his music, business and financial endeavors, and his other properties along the street in Worcester, like a studio, a convenience store, a social club and many more. Some of my tasks include making different sheets for artists, doing Photoshop imaging, different PR campaigns and negotiations for contracts.
What sparked your interest in this internship?
Holy Cross definitely preaches going out into Worcester. This presented an opportunity to meet someone who’s ingrained in the Worcester scene and is a big factor in it. It also would allow me to achieve my goals of advancing my career and learning new skills.
What has this internship taught you?
I’ve always wanted to enter the business world. At Holy Cross, a liberal arts institution, you’re pushed into a lot of different areas to find your strengths and your weaknesses, your likes and dislikes. I definitely explored different things, but ultimately I felt that economics is where my interest lies the most. Holy Cross gave me the opportunity to see economics through a different lens outside of finance and analytics, which I do like. I think a lot of people go into finance or a career in law or something like that. This allowed me to see you can enter a business that revolves around the arts and still apply those skills.
You mentioned an interest in music. What’s it like for you to intern in an industry that you’re really interested in?
It’s very surreal. I never imagined having this opportunity. It’s not really something that when I first picked Holy Cross, I thought, “I’m going to be interning at a major label and working with artists who have sold millions of albums and have millions of fans around the world.” But I’m grateful to the school for presenting me with this opportunity because it all goes back to the Center for Career Development funding this internship and connecting with people who provided me with mentors that allowed me to get to this position.
How will what you’ve learned this summer prepare you for your final two years at Holy Cross? And then after you leave Holy Cross?
I think that I’ve become more skilled in all areas. The music industry is very variable and you will meet so many different types of people. They have so many kinds of skill sets. And so even if I don’t end up pursuing things in the music industry, I can also go into finance and other business areas and I think I’ll do just fine.
What’s it been like for you to challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone?
It’s really been refreshing. Actually being in the middle of downtown, interacting with real Worcester people who’ve been here for 20, 30 years, they’re telling me stories about how things have changed and what they want to see from the city.
There’s so much to see here. There’s so much talent. You just have to give it a chance. You have to be open and really let everything come to you.
Is there something that you’ve done so far this year that stands out?
Being on a first-name basis with members of the biggest hip-hop group of all time. That’s kind of crazy to me.
What advice have they given you?
One thing I have learned from everyone is that a lot of their success comes down to not doing what everyone else is doing, specializing their skill set and working hard when they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. As long as they felt like they had that passion, it didn’t matter how much money they were making or how much recognition they got, it was all about the passion.
From the passion and the work they put in, they were able to get to a place where they’re super successful: multiple awards, making millions of dollars. And that all comes back to having a passion.
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