Pam Matthews, General Manager of Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, has been named one of the “Top 20 Women in Music” by Billboard Magazine alongside such industry heavyweights as the presidents of MTV, Motown Records and Atlantic Music Group.
Tammy Genovese, chief operating officer (COO) of the Country Music Association, was the only other Nashvillian to make the list. Matthews was also the only venue manager to make the list.
In the six years that Matthews has been at the helm of the 114-year-old National Historic Landmark, she has guided it to become a nationally recognized concert hall and a must play venue for artists of stature.
“I really have the greatest job in all of Nashville, bar none,” Matthews told me over the spectacular beef stroganoff at Jackson’s in Hillsboro Village. Matthews is a first class cook who loves to entertain, but claims that she is unable to match the Stroganoff at Jackson’s.
Matthews’ dedication to her work and her passion for the industry she has spent her life in is evident by a quick glance at her impressive credentials. With over 20 years of experience in the music industry as a tour manager and tour accountant, Matthews has helped to build, open and manage the Starwood Amphitheatre as well as serving as the vice president and treasurer of Wynonna, Inc. and J2K , Inc.
“I really love doing what I do and that makes all of the difference,” she continued.
What’s not to love? Matthews has booked over 1,000 events during her tenure as the Ryman’s GM and has been witness to some of the most memorable moments in music history.
“There have been so many memorable moments in the past six years how can you choose,” Matthews said with a smile.
“I remember one year we did a holiday show for charity and Harry Connick, Jr. sang a duet with George Jones. After they were done and George Jones left the stage, Harry pretended to faint because he had just shared the stage with George Jones. He took off his shoes and tossed them away declaring that his shoes weren’t good enough to be in the presence of George Jones.”
Now in its 111th year, Billboard is the world’s premiere music publication. This is only the second year that the publication has compiled this list. The criteria used to decide the ranking included accomplishments during the past year and overall career achievements.
Matthews offered the following advice to those young women who may now be pursuing a job in the music industry: “Most of us depart the halls of higher education with an inflated sense of our own intellectual capacity. We are not prepared for the mundane activities of everyday business. Work hard and don’t whine about it. Try to find someone you admire and emulate them. Be patient. ‘Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.’ That’s a little Shakespeare to show off my inflated sense of intellectual capacity.”
The next—and perhaps most important—big show Matthews will participate in at the Ryman Auditorium will be her own wedding in March.