Peter Nischt, an international business major, plans to build his career by combining his musical talent and background, and the knowledge and skills he has gained in the CBA, with the legal acumen he hopes to acquire in law school.
Pete began playing the trumpet around age 10 and then picked up the guitar when he was 16. After playing in a couple of rock and folk bands during high school, he decided to start playing solo when he and his band-mates split up for college.
“I was already selling burned CDs of recorded music as far as New York and California from my bedroom using the internet at this point,” he says, “so making the transition into playing my own music was easy.”
Pete played his first solo show in August of 2005. “Aside from attending classes at The University of Akron, writing music and playing shows was all I did,” he notes.
During that first year, Pete spent most of his time performing in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Athens, and Cincinnati at local colleges and dive bars. He placed first in The University of Akron's Rockin' for Relief Competition at EJ Thomas Hall, which benefited the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
By August 2006, Pete had signed a recording contract with Regular Music, a record label based out of New Jersey, and had made the decision to take time off from school to pursue music full time. “The next year was crazy,” he says. “ After 5-weeks worth of recording sessions during that winter in New Jersey, I had completed my first full-length record, Life is Strange, and had put together a backup band in preparation for tour.”
Pete toured the country several times in 2007, from New York to Los Angeles and sold thousands of copies of his records both in Europe and the United States. He incorporated himself (Pete Nischt, LLC), and had made music his primary source of income. He also took classes online from the Berklee College of Music in Boston during this time, completing coursework in Music Business and Music Publishing while on tour.
Unfortunately, the owners of Pete’s record label lost the company. Not wanting to sit still for any extended period of time, he made the decision to return to UA in Fall 2007. He continued to tour regionally, sometimes playing shows as far away as Chicago, Fort Wayne, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh after class, and then returning afterwards in time for class the following morning.
Pete chose international business as his major because he felt it would position him better for a career in entertainment law. “Entertainment is the United States' biggest export, and I wanted to have a good handle on globalization and the new digital age, since these were and still are having an enormous effect on the music and film industries” he notes.
Pete is graduating in May and is planning to attend law school in the fall. He will specialize in entertainment, media, and intellectual property law.
“Over the course of my career, I've had the pleasure of playing and/or touring with a number of amazing artists. I've shared the stage with Augustana, Blessid Union of Souls, The Verve Pipe, Ace Enders and a Million Different People, and a number of others. I also spent a lot of time performing with my high school friend, Kate Voegele, who's now acting on One Tree Hill,” Pete says.
For Pete, the best parts of the whole experience were seeing the country and getting the chance to network with a lot of the musicians and producers he had looked up to from the beginning. “There were instances where I'd seen artists playing in front of over 5,000 people at the age of 16, and then found myself exchanging phone numbers with them 4 years later.”
Pete says he hopes to capitalize on his ability to empathize with artists as an entertainment lawyer. He wants to start a non-profit after law school that would work to offer artists in need top notch legal service for free (or cheap!).
He notes that, “an understanding of business and the law is imperative no matter what area of the entertainment industry people work in, but especially for artists, getting the right advice at the right time can make or break a successful career”.
Pete will be having a show in Akron (at Musica) on March 5th and one at Point Park University in Pittsburgh on April 14th.