Zoë Beery writes about electronic music for Resident Advisor, Bandcamp, and the New York Times, and works with the safer spaces teams at venues and events such as Nowadays, Horst Arts & Music, and Sustain-Release. In addition, she does “copywriting and editing, branded content, and editorial consulting with startups, companies, nonprofits, and the like.” As she explains in our interview, this is essential to her work as a music journalist.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I’d wanted to be a writer since I was young. When I was 12 and studying ballet, I read a New Yorker piece about controversial pointe shoes and realized I could write about things that mattered to me personally. When I was 14 a friend gave me a ziploc bag full of burned CDs, which included Hail to the Thief, Turn On the Bright Lights, Ziggy Stardust and some other classics, which I would dutifully listen to on my Walkman and then write a review on a yellow legal pad borrowed from my dad (I wish I still had these!). When I was 17 I applied to write for Tiny Mix Tapes, my favorite music website, and was shocked when I got the email from Marvin offering me the (unpaid) gig. I was walking into my AP US History class when it landed, and none of my classmates understood what I was freaking out about and why this was the biggest deal I could possibly imagine.
After a detour into sound engineering in college, I decided to move to NYC in 2014. This coincided with the flourishing of Facebook groups inspired by Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment, which had inspired tens of thousands of women to start mentoring each other in defiance of workplace misogyny. One of the groups was dedicated to music writing, and it eventually got me a job editing concert listings at the Village Voice (Jessica Hopper, Hilary Hughes and Kathryn Turner all helped me along the way). A few months in, the Voice brought on a new editor who fired almost everyone, but because I was part-time and running something that the marketing team relied on for selling ads, I was spared. The new senior associate editor Raillan Brooks gave me my first editing assignment, and after that really advocated for me to be brought on staff. I ended up helping edit the culture section under Jane Kim, focusing on music, and later ran front-of-book as well.