Hey, I'm Lisa Occhino

Lisa Occhino

Me, in a nutshell

I’m happiest when I’m creating things that have a positive impact on the two communities I feel most deeply connected to: independent musicians and solo travelers. Knowing that I’ve helped or inspired someone lights me up more than anything.

For the last decade, I’ve worked in the music industry as a digital marketer, content strategist, writer, editor, consultant, and entrepreneur — all with the common mission of educating, connecting, and supporting music creators.

These days, I identify most strongly as a writer, part-time digital nomad, and insatiably curious student of life.

Me, if you’d like to crack open the nutshell

I’m a lifelong musician. I took my first piano lesson at age 6, developed a strong passion for songwriting by age 12, and figured I better get over my fear of singing in public if I ever wanted anyone to hear those songs.

I had fun (and learned a ton) doing the whole independent singer-songwriter thing throughout my teen years and into my early 20s. Those were also the years that I eagerly took every opportunity to expand my musical horizons — which meant that playing an afternoon festival slot with a metal band and rushing to an evening jazz gig in another city was just a typical Saturday.

As much as I live and breathe music, the truth is that I’ve never had a desire to be in the spotlight. I find it much more rewarding to use my skills and strengths to help other musicians succeed. 

In December 2013, I graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor’s degree in music business/management, a concentration in entrepreneurship, and a minor in psychology. The BMI Foundation awarded me first place and $10,000 in a national songwriting competition, which I was extraordinarily grateful to put toward my tuition. Berklee also awarded me three merit scholarships for songwriting, entrepreneurship, and my internships.

I served as editor-in-chief of The Berklee Groove for the majority of my college career. I recruited over 100 contributing writers — the most in The Groove‘s history — and helped the online publication achieve record-breaking numbers for both readership and campus event turnouts.

Somewhere in between running The Groove, taking a full course load, leading the Berklee A&R Group and the marketing club, teaching piano lessons, interning for a boutique booking agency in Manhattan, and interning for two music publishing companies (BMG Chrysalis and Shapiro Bernstein), I decided that it was a perfectly reasonable goal to launch my own music startup company by the time I graduated.

In my final year of college, I released the public beta version of SongwriterLink, a collaboration website that uses an algorithm to match up composers, lyricists, producers, and topline writers. I single-handedly built and managed all aspects of the startup, from product to marketing to customer support. Respected publications such as Hypebot, Songwriting magazine, and Boston magazine gave early praise. Today, I continue to maintain the website, help every member who reaches out to me, and provide a professional song critique service through the platform, but I’m otherwise winding down my involvement to focus my attention on new projects.

Halfway through my last semester at Berklee, I was recruited by Sonicbids, the leading gig-booking platform for musicians, to be the company’s first managing editor. I agreed to start immediately after graduation. After overhauling the content strategy and bringing on dozens of expert contributors, I increased the blog’s monthly unique page views from 10,000 to over half a million. I also created branded content plans for all of Sonicbids’ biggest festival and conference partners, including SXSW, Bonnaroo, CMJ, NXNE, and A3C.

Three years later, I accepted an offer to lead marketing and communications at Soundfly, an online music education startup. I implemented a marketing strategy that contributed to the company’s all-time highest revenue. I also led communications and cross-promotional efforts in a major partnership with ASCAP, formed strategic partnerships with companies like Bandzoogle and EastWest, and co-hosted a successful live event series in New York City with Berklee.

Over the last few years, I’ve had the honor of speaking at top music industry conferences such as SXSW and Mondo.NYC, as well as at Berklee and Brandeis University. I’ve been interviewed by HuffPost, The Women’s International Music Network, FOX News CT, and In Tune Monthly. As a freelance music writer, my work has been published in Berklee Today magazine, Songwriting magazine, Hypebot, ReverbNation, Bandzoogle, AWAL, and more.

Shortly after moving from Boston to New York City in 2014, I joined the Berklee Alumni Association as a committee member. I help plan, promote, and host events throughout the city for alumni, including educational panels, live music showcases, and networking events.

Although I’m based in New York, I’m location independent and consider myself a part-time digital nomad. Every year I pick at least one new country to immerse myself in for up to three months at a time. So far, I’m 30 countries and six continents deep — mostly solo travel, and almost entirely since 2014. After years of saying “no” whenever someone asked me if I have a travel blog, I decided to finally start saying “yes.”

I’ll leave you with a fun fact about my personal life that, if you’ve actually read through all of this, shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: I’ve completed over 50 consecutive 30-day challenges, ranging from learning Python to going pescatarian to writing a daily poem to doing something adventurous every day. I gave myself my first challenge in December 2015 (because why wait until New Year’s Day to start your resolutions if today is a perfectly good day?), and loved it so much that I’ve just never stopped.

If you’re curious, here’s what I’m doing now.