Leadership / 02.09.23
Jamie Vosmeier Went From Telephony to Ticketing With Music in His Heart
When he was being interviewed for this article, Jamie Vosmeier said he was afraid he would come across sounding as “shallow as a teacup.” He then immediately proved himself to be just the opposite.
“I love someone who can make me laugh,” he responded when asked what quality he most admires in another person. “Integrity and honesty are important to me, but I think there is also a lot that can be said about somebody with a sense of humor.”
Indeed, Jamie’s jolly and sometimes nervous wit endears him to just about everyone he meets. His personality seems equally suited for the stage as the ticket office, but given his self-deprecating style, it is only natural that he would downplay his talents.
“Someone gave my mom and dad a piano when I was probably in third grade. I would sit and bang at the piano and pick songs out by ear. I think maybe fifth grade is when I started taking piano lessons. I studied piano for 11 years,” he says. “[But], I am terrible. I am a terrible pianist.”
Jamie, however, is quite accomplished on the keys. On the other hand, he shared, “I would have loved to be a ballet dancer. If you saw me, I weigh 300 pounds … I love dance so much. And inside my spirit, I feel like there would be one there somewhere.”
So, we had to ask. It turns out Jamie has danced in the past. He said it was a long time ago and not any specific type of dance. “I have always wanted to. I don't know if I have ever said that out loud to anyone.”
This level of vulnerability is what our Getting to Know You series is all about. At its very heart, we are getting to know people better and learning what drives them. Why does Jamie love ballet, we asked?
“I do not necessarily mean classical ballet,” he says. “I am a musician. I am a vocalist, and I love piano. I play the piano, and I have for almost my whole life. As a musician, I think [ballet] is so expressive and athletic. So much can be told about every single word, and that is magical to me.”
After studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Jamie had no thoughts of pursuing a career in entertainment. But he did go to work with the local telephone company in Indianapolis.
“I did a little bit of everything. I worked in repair. I was a payphone technician. I worked in small business, so I sold phone services like extra lines and that sort of thing. I ended my career with the phone company managing sales. I actually didn't hate it there,” Jamie says. “When you think about what I do now versus working for the phone company, I am pretty lucky.”
Transitioning from telephony to ticketing and entertainment is a leap. So how did it happen for Jamie?
“That was an accident,” he admits, like most of the ticketing professionals we have interviewed over the years. “I was just at my wit’s end one day … [asking myself] how am I going to come in tomorrow and sell one more cell phone or inspire my team to sell voice mail. I was drawing a blank, like, I can't do this anymore. My well is empty.”
There was a silver lining, however, Jamie says, as he was fortunate to have had a wonderful mentor at the phone company who recognized his potential.
“It was a woman named Charlotte Young who taught me that I had value as a people leader,” he recalls fondly. “She held me accountable in a way that I had never felt accountable. I have held on to that. It was a whole career ago. It was 25 or 27 years ago that I worked with her. I still hear her words. I think a leader empowers their people, trusts, and develops them.”
As it turned out, Jamie would soon have an opportunity to prove himself. And the possibility began to take shape that same day when his well was dry.
“I was calling to buy season tickets to the Broadway series in Indianapolis, where I was living at the time. While I was buying them, I made a joke and said, ‘Are you hiring?’”
The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Yes, we are.”
Jamie quickly replied, “Well, I want a job.’ They interviewed me and the next thing you know, I left my job with Ameritech (now AT&T), took a huge pay cut, and I was promoting Broadway shows in Indianapolis, Indiana [laughs].”
That was in 2001. Jamie spent four years with Broadway Across America in Indianapolis and then accepted a position as Director of Ticket Services and Sales at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. He has been there ever since, working his way up to his current position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
“Holy Moses!” he says. “I love my venue. I feel so honored to work here. I have a cool job. I love the people that I work with every day. I get to work with all the departments that generate revenue, and I get to work with a lot of creative people who make me want to come to work every day. Our industry is different than any other industry because we are not inventing the cure to some disease. We are bringing joy. We are literally bringing joy and evoking emotion in people. That is different than anything else. And I worked at the phone company [laughs].”
The Fox is not only Jamie’s favorite place to work but also his favorite venue.
“I love The Fox for a million different reasons. I love the history. I love that everyone in Atlanta, whether you have lived here your whole life or you have lived here for just a short time, if you have been here, you have a Fox story. It is different than seeing your favorite players or favorite artists at other venues. Everyone always adds, I saw Elvis Costello ‘at the Fox,’ and that, to me, is amazing. In other venues, people say, ‘Oh yeah, I got to see The Chicks perform.’ Someone else will say, ‘Well, I saw them at The Fox.’”
Among those Jamie has seen perform there, albeit while working, he puts Prince at the top of his list.
“Prince is one of my very favorite artists of all time,” he says. “I got to see his very last performance before he passed away.” (Prince died at his Paisley Park home and recording studio in 2016 at the age of 57, just days after his “Piano & a Microphone Tour” ended at the Fox).
When it comes to performers, being a pianist and vocalist himself, Jamie also has a special place in his heart for the iconic Stevie Wonder.
“Stevie Wonder has been my favorite artist since I was about six years old,” he says. “His was the first record I ever had. I was a weird kid. I had some kid records, but I had a lot of records that were probably for grownups. I got ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ brand new at a rummage sale. It was still wrapped in cellophane. I think it was 50 cents, and I wore it out. My favorite song [of all time] would probably be ‘Love’s in Need of Love Today.’ That song has resonated with me my whole life. The message has never changed through the ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s. We can't ever have enough love.”
Speaking of love, Jamie most admires his three grown children, Alexx, Andrew and Arynn. “They are amazing, resilient, brilliant human beings,” he says. “They are my greatest achievement. I know that a statue is never, ever going to be erected in my name, and I am never going to be the president, but I have left a legacy of these humans [and] the ripple effect will go on and on because of these three people who I helped bring into the world.”
Today, Jamie has a new partner who has “taught me more about myself in the five years that I have known him than probably anyone.” Jamie and his partner have a great group of friends in Atlanta and enjoy spending time with them.
“I have a wonderful friend group. I value diversity. I value kindness. I have to refer back to sense of humor. [I value] a sense of adventure. I have some friends that I can just be quiet with, and that is fun too. Oh, my God. I am so nervous! [Laughs heartily].”
Nerves of our interview aside, Jamie said, endearingly as always, that he also loves traveling.
“I used to want to live in New York City, and then I don't know what happened. I got old and decided it probably wasn't the best place for me to live, but I love everything about New York City,” he says. “I go a couple of times a year, most always to see a Broadway show … New York City is my very favorite place to visit, although [my partner and I] did get to spend a week in Hawaii. It was the first vacation I ever went on where there was nothing planned. It was amazing and very peaceful. I was so sad to leave.”
One journey that Jamie makes every year combines work and pleasure — the annual INTIX conference, which in 2024 is being held in Las Vegas.
“I always feel inspired after going to the conference,” Jamie says. “The Fox is a founding member of INTIX (BOMI), and I think it is so important, not just to me but to The Fox, for us to be in a community with other people, other organizations who are passionate about live entertainment, whether it is sports or music or the arts or attractions. Being in a community of those same people is invaluable. Aside from what you learn at the conferences, the networking and the connections we have made over the years have lasted and lasted and lasted. The human connection that INTIX provides is my favorite thing about the organization.”
Jamie is at a point in life where he has achieved tremendous success, although at times, his thoughts are beginning to turn, albeit slowly, to retirement. He concedes that he still has a busy life now but will, one day, have to slow down and enjoy some quiet time. Among his best-loved quiet activities, he enjoys reading. “My favorite book is ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara, but I also love Augusten Burroughs. I love the memoirs that he has written. Again, I am going to sound shallow as a teacup [laughs], but I enjoy reading books that Jenifer Lewis has written, like ‘The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir.’ She has written a couple of memoirs that have been very funny and poignant.”
When it comes to reflection, we always ask our interviewees what they would ask for if given three wishes. More time for reading aside, here’s how Jamie responded.
“My God! Three wishes! Oh, my God! My word, that is really hard. And it's going to be written down … I would wish for an empathetic government. I want to say dumb things like I want money, but then I think if I'm really going to be given three wishes, eventually it will trickle back to me. I would wish for more attention to be given to medicine, so we don't have to live through another pandemic … And the last one would probably be a private residence in Disneyland [laughs heartily]. You would think I was 8 years old as soon as I get to the gate. I want to run, and I do not run unless I am being chased. When I get to the gate, I want to run to the first ride. It is crazy.”
As anyone in show business will tell you, it is always good to end on a musical note, and for Jamie, it seems music is even more important to him than he had so far let on.
“Music has been the one throughline in my life. Music is how I relate to my kids. I share music with friends, and I have become friends and I am better friends with people because, ‘Oh my God, you love Amos Lee too? You don't know Prince? You only know ‘Purple Rain’?’ You can listen when you are sad; you can listen when you are happy. There are songs that I play or music that I play when I am mad. It can be such good therapy, and I do not know what I would do without it.”
Not surprisingly, Jamie says his favorite possession is an electric piano. “I have always had a piano in my life,” he says. “When I moved into a small apartment, I gave my regular piano to my daughter. My partner got me a little electric piano. That is what I do when I am trying to unwind. I do it with headphones on and play so no one will hear me. You can’t belt out a tune when you live so close to other people in a building. I sing along as I play. I have always sung. Forever. I don’t remember not singing.”
Jamie made a few big reveals throughout our chat. Some, he asked that we keep private. But there was this one that he was proud to share with one and all.
“I used to do a little cabaret show in Atlanta,” he says. “But I haven’t done anything publicly since the pandemic except karaoke every once in a while. Oh, and I got to sing with an opera company for a year when I was living in Milwaukee.”
What you’d never know if you didn’t ask, Jamie!
“I really feel like I have told you way more than I should have! [Laughs heartily].”
And for that trust, Jamie, we thank you. It is a pleasure to know you and to know you better than we did before.
Or, as Stevie Wonder would beautifully sing, “You are the sunshine of [our] life.”
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Tags: Leadership , GTKY