Industry Spotlight: Michael C. Morello proves success is possible without a degree

May 20, 2016 -

Ashlyn Fulton

Our generation grew up with the notion that attending a 4-year college was critical after graduating high school. Not only attending college but graduating with a degree. That degree was the only way we'd get work out in the real world, they said. Parents stressed the importance and put pressure on us to get into a "good" school. And for what? A line on a resume and to be in debt for the rest of our lives?

Well believe it or not, there are some of us that never graduated college with a degree and are still successful. *GASP*  Michael C. Morello is one of those people and, given he has one of the most vast networks in the New York City events industry, you may have heard his name before.

Michael is one of the youngest and most effective operations and administration specialists in nightlife, music venue and events production.


So you grew up in New Jersey, and attended school there. What happened after you graduated high school?

I couldn't wait to graduate high school.  It couldn't of happened soon enough.  I went to full sail for film school in Florida immediately after but sensed even in an accelerated program that it was removed from reality and limiting.  Ran to nyc to study theater and landed a job at Webster Hall to survive.   It made sense.  It was the biggest production I could get close to.

Your parents never pressured you into getting a degree?

My mother is beyond supportive.  Worries like any other good parent.  And did everything to create options for me.  But I had gotten so far because of her.  It was potential that she endorsed.  No matter what avenue.  My aunt is very successful in the fire prevention world and did so by working hard, without a degree.  That was a ginormous influence.

michael morello


Michael started as a barback at Webster Hall and soon after climbing ranks, had a hand in every aspect of producing events - permitting, licensing, booking, venue relations, community relations, show production, operations design, staffing, inventory, site plans, interior design, crowd control, event marketing, social media build out, you name it!

What made you so keen to move up the ranks from a bar back at Webster Hall?

To put it simply: ambition and curiosity.   How the fuck does this incredible world renowned venue work?  And how can I contribute to make it better.  Efficiency and positivity.  Those were the bars I set for myself.

What was your biggest challenge in doing so and how did you overcome it?

Navigating through a long running political structure.  I was a kid.  I looked even younger than my age.  Competence is developed.  So I had to pay my dues and bust ass.  And the things I learned about people, business, budgets and production made me proud to graduate from what I call Webster Hall University.

Now many events/music industry professionals attribute their current position to Michael's guidance and training.

You also DJed for a short time. Is that something you’re still pursuing?

Haha. DJing is fun.  It's interesting.  I'd love to do it more but I haven't had the time.  And I'd rather not be a DJ than take a steaming dump on the art form like a lot of posers do.  If I did have time I think I'd be more interested in producing and then secondly DJing but it certainly didn't hurt to stare at wave forms before potentially doing so.

Up-and-coming producer Michael Morris, is actually the character Morello plays in his TV series "Momentum." A scripted show that follows a construction worker from New Jersey on his way to stardom as a DJ/producer, showcasing the inner-workings of the industry along the way.

michael morello

What do you hope to accomplish with "Momentum"?

I intend to show people that the music world isn't easy.  That it constantly changes.  that the current evolution of music is one of the last things humanity has to dismiss traditional life paths.  It's important to support having a choice.  To do something different.  Music brings people together.  What could be more important?  But that's my opinion.

What’s your best advice for someone trying to make their way in, not only the music industry but any industry if they never graduated college?

Go work.  If you don't like what you're doing, go work somewhere else.  You have to want something.  Even if you don't know what that is, just the driving force to do something will guide you.  You'll land on your feet in time.  And then it will all make sense.

But really there's no telling anyone anything.  I sure as hell hope you give a shit about more than yourself.  That was my key.  Contribute.

Currently Michael holds the Chief Operator position at what will be NYC's largest venue - The Brooklyn Mirage which opens this weekend:

The Brooklyn Mirage

So, if you don't have the money for college and more importantly if you don't feel the need or want to take that path, know that it is NOT your only option. Take Michael C. Morello as an example and an inspiration that success comes from hard work and passion, not just a piece of paper.



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