SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

Local Musician Makes Career Strides With Communication Degree

JShades performing in southern UtahFor Southern Utah University senior, Joe Petty, music has been a lifelong dream; but little did Joe know that SUU’s communication department would take his aspirations to new heights.

When Joe started at SUU, he thought broadcasting was a route that’d help him succeed, but after taking SUU’s strategic communication classes in advertising, he realized the mix of marketing and public relations would help the business aspect of his music career.

Recently, Joe put out an electronic dance style album named, “Last Summer.” In the creation of the album, Joe and his friends produced all the music, created the graphic content, and developed the social media content in house.

Joe credits the promotional materials to his hands-on experience with SUU’s Thunderbird Advertising Group and other strategic communication classes. He also credits his thought process in marketing his music to his communication classes with Matt Barton, associate professor of communication.

Professor Barton said he wasn’t initially sure what to think about Joecalling him an enigmabut that Joe has created great growth of critical thinking in the studies of persuasion and communication concepts.

“Whatever he feels or thinks is important, he invests time into understanding it at the best of his ability,” said Barton. “He’s starting to discover his potential.”

JShades performing in southern UtahJoe’s experience producing the album has shown him his potential to thrive in the industry. Joe said that using strategies he learned in the classroom gave him the confidence to market his music in an approachable way.

“I think it’s important to know how to market yourself,” said Joe. “I’d rather be the one pulling the strings, than have the strings pulled for me.”

Barton said Joe will really grow as a musician by combining his education in communication with his people-person personality.

Joe has performed in places like San Jose, the University of Utah, and St. George; and performed with artist like Ty Dolla Sign and Breathe Carolina. His goal is to move to San Francisco for an audio engineering degree, start working at a music studio in San Jose, eventually using his two degrees to create his own studio.

Learn more about SUU's department of communication.