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Perfect Pitch: Sarah Andrew Wilson

Founder, Chief, Flutist



Current City: Washington, DC.

Current Job and Entrepreneurial Focus: Until February 2022, I was the Chief Content Officer at Matchbox.io, a voice technology start-up I owned with my husband. Matchbox created some of the world’s most popular voice applications for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, with millions of users in dozens of countries around the world. We were recently acquired, with a very successful exit.

Notable Prior Jobs: I started my career as a classical flutist -- performing, teaching, conducting -- and at some point discovered the field of arts management. I then managed artist contracts at the Washington National Opera, I was a tour manager and national director of education outreach for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, I directed on-site education programming at the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and oversaw music education programs for 2,500 students at the Levine School of Music.

When I Started Performing: My first paying gig was at age 14, when a regional theater company needed a flutist and fife player for a month long run of the musical 1776. I did 30 performances over 30 days, and was paid $300 for it (under the table, since I wasn’t old enough to legally work yet).

Performing Arts Background: Getting paid $300 at age 14 for doing something I loved was great motivation, and basically started my career in music. I went on to get Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Flute Performance and served on the boards of the Arizona Flute Society and the Flute Society of Washington (DC). That’s when I started diving deep into organizational missions, planning, budgets, finance, and more. I went on to work in arts management for some really great organizations, including the Wolf Trap Foundation, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Levine School of Music, and Washington National Opera.

How did your performing arts background supercharge your entrepreneurship? Musicians are natural hustlers. You have to be, or you won’t get your next gig. The same goes for entrepreneurs. Both musicians and entrepreneurs have to be strategic and creative in developing multiple revenue streams, and they both have to wear many different hats, from creator and marketer to HR and the CFO. The creative side also really helps. Musicians are naturally creative, and that experience has lent itself really well to owning a tech start-up. If a jazz musician makes a mistake, do they stop the music so they can discuss what went wrong, then analyze it to death, bringing in lots of outside opinions, and then start all over again from the beginning? No – they just keep playing and transform what was going to be a mistake into a beautiful pivot in the music. I’ve had to reach down deep inside myself to tap that former musician, and tell myself to just keep going when something seems to take a turn for the worse. Just keep going. Turn a mistake into something beautiful.

Favorite Performer: In European classical music: Emmanuel Pahud. Just exquisite playing all around. In jazz: Cécile McLorin Salvant. My synesthesia comes out in force when she sings. She summons so many colors and shapes and textures.


Follow Sarah Andrew Wilson:

Twitter - @SarahAndrewWils

LinkedIn - /in/SarahAndrewWilson



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