Updated: Apr 11
Tupelo native Jordan Anderson makes headlines as a music booking agent at Hollywood's legendary Troubadour music venue.
Written by Eugene Stockstill | Photographed by P. Frey/Uga Photo
If you don’t happen to know how big a deal it is for Tupelo native Jordan Anderson to be booking music acts for the Troubadour in West Hollywood, just check out the club’s website.
Comic Lenny Bruce was arrested on obscenity charges at the Troubadour in 1957.
Joni Mitchell, Richard Pryor, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor and Elton John all made debuts there.
Glen Frey and Don Henley first met each other at the club’s front bar. The song “The Sad Cafe” is about the Troubadour.
James Taylor and Carly Simon first met there, too.
Led Zeppelin played a landmark three-hour jam session at the Troubadour with Fairpoint Convention.
And on and on goes the list of moments that made history at the place Anderson now calls her second home.
“A lot of people work to live. I live to work,” Anderson said. “It’s an on-all-the-time job. You know what you sign up for, for sure. We’re such a small team that my boss is my backup. The job never stops. My job is my fun and my work.”
Anderson was originally a law student at the University of Georgia, until “I quickly realized I didn’t like to read or study,” she said. One class about the music-management business and some key contacts in Athens shifted her whole life. She worked on the management team for the band Widespread Panic her senior year.
After graduation, Anderson moved to Nashville, where she worked at popular clubs like Exit/In and Marathon Music Works. Then when the COVID-19 pandemic swamped everything and hit her with an unexpected layoff, Anderson got a call from the Troubadour, which she turned down. But they called her again, and before she knew it, she was in Southern California setting up a show with the duo Twenty One Pilots.
“I had never set foot in the room before I started working there,” she said. “The first time I walked in there was August of 2021. They brought me out here to onboard. They turned the lights on, and it was like a ‘whoa’ moment. The original wood is in the room. It pretty much hasn’t changed since 1957.”
When you think of talent agents, you may imagine Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker or the movie “Jerry Maguire” and all the famous quotes it gave the moviegoing public. But outside the music industry, Anderson said, a list of famous booking agents wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention.
“My role is to curate that calendar,” she said. “I book who’s playing the room, when and how much they’re getting paid.”
One of the biggest shows Anderson helped arrange was the first Troubadour concert of Amanda Shires, whose fiddle-laced menagerie of sounds helped Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit win a Grammy Award. Shires’ Troubadour concert last October made Variety’s list of top 50 best concerts performed in 2022.
“The cool thing about it was that she had been booked in 2020, and (because of COVID) that show never happened,” Anderson said.
But the moment that really makes Anderson gush? Athens Goes West, a suicide-prevention benefit held Jan. 8 this year at the Troubadour for University of Georgia fans before the national championship football game. Members of R.E.M. showed up.
“We sold out in 24 hours,” she said.
If you’re wondering about Anderson’s day-to-day living and her work-life balance, here’s a snapshot: She lives in Echo Park on the east side of Los Angeles with a Great Dane named Theo. Everything in her world has to be planned to the minute in order to manage LA’s out-of-control traffic. She spends the greater part of her working days talking with music agents and other support staff.
If you think that sort of daily grind would make for a dull life, you’d be quite wrong, of course. Anderson’s been in the same small after-concert room with Sir Elton John, and she met Diplo at the Spotify party for the Grammy Awards.
“You never know what we’re going to announce. You never know what email I’m going to get in my inbox in the next 10 minutes. It’s always changing,” she said. Helping an artist succeed, “that’s really fulfilling for me. Quite frankly, it’s amazing. There’s not much to compare it with in my world.”
So, what could possibly be next for someone living this kind of life?
“I just got my first electric guitar,” she said. “And I’m going to try to learn it.”