On Tuesday evening, however, Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry learned there are those who appreciate them for their leadership, planning and management skills as much as for their work on stage.
At the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, Junior Achievement of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia inducted the Greeneville-based trio, along with their parents, Dr. Charles Stephen and Marie Perry, into its Business Hall of Fame to celebrate their success in the business world instead of the musical one.
Junior Achievement is an international nonprofit group that works to teach an understanding of business and capitalism to schoolchildren in the U.S. and 102 countries around the world. Since 1994, the Tri-Cities chapter has inducted regional business leaders into its Hall of Fame, but only those who have met the chapter’s four criteria: leadership, reputation, the responsible practice of business and casting the region in a positive light.
According to JA Tri-Cities President Cathy Salley, The Band Perry, while more renowned for singles like, “If I Die Young,” or “Chainsaw,” spends more time in a business state of mind than in a musical one.
“As people get here tonight, they’ll see they’re not just (about) music,” Salley said. “As a matter of fact, they’re more business than they are music.”
The Perrys agree with that assessment. Before their induction, Neil Perry, who plays drums, mandolin, and sings backup in the band, said that the majority of their time is spent doing things other than playing music.
“We actually do always say that the actual music part of the music industry is about 25 percent,” he said.
Lead singer and big sister Kimberly Perry expanded on her brother’s claim, adding that the oversight and maintenance of their band can, at times, feel like managing a corporation.
“Music is a special thing, but just like in any line of work, there’s a bit of politics and you’re juggling a lot of personalities,” she said. “We had to learn a lot of different skills, (and) not only be singer/songwriters, but also ... to be great leaders and, basically, CEOs of The Band Perry.”
Despite being thrust into those leadership roles, Kimberly said she and her brothers benefited from good counsel they received early in their careers, particularly from their mom and dad.
“We got so much great advice early on,” she said. “One thing we did by design was not create a fallback plan. That was really our parents’ great advice. They said, ‘If you have a fallback plan, you’re going to fall back on it.’ We’re just going to go full-throttle.”
For reasons like that piece of advice, Kimberly said the night was made more special by the inclusion of her mother, who holds a degree in art and handles some of the band’s wardrobe responsibilities, and their father, a Greeneville pediatrician.
“Tonight is also speical because we’re accepting the award, not only as the three of us in The Band Perry, but the family Perry,” Kimberly said. “Our parents are accepting the award as well, and it’s probably long, long overdue for the two of them.”
In addition to their parents receiving recognition, Reid Perry, who plays bass and sings backup, said they appreciated the variety of being recognized as businesspeople, instead of as musicians.
“We love the creative side of the music ... but we also love the business side of it,” he said. “It’s not an opportunity that we have to talk about a whole bunch, or get to be in the same room with people who understand the same language that we speak. It’s nice to be able to have that opportunity to shine a light on that.”
In addition to standing in that spotlight, however, the band said they hoped to provide inspiration to some of those in attendance by sharing stories of their path to success. According to Reid, one of the most important things he and his siblings did was set goals and work to insure those goals would be met.
“We’re very goal-oriented, so we do always have these benchmarks and goals that we want to always reach and strive for,” he said. “We always thought that a day like today could exist in the future, but even today, we’re looking forward to seeing where we could possibly be a year from now, (or) five years from now.”
Kimberly added that the trio hoped to convey the importance of tenacity to the crowd, as well.
“Perseverance has been our biggest companion for the last 15 years, almost 16,” she said. “It’s really about persevering.”
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