Rhonda Forlaw Adkins has helped artists and industry executives make their dreams come true for over three decades; many in Nashville refer to her as “The Starchitect” ™: a builder of dreams who harnesses the magic that appears when talent, opportunity and stardust converge. She has successfully run national marketing campaigns for major-label artists as well as pioneered new avenues of press communication.
After a remarkable career of guiding talents to success in Music City, she founded Rhonda & Company in 2019. Since starting Rhonda & Company, a boutique entertainment consulting agency, Rhonda and her team have branched out beyond artist development and into avenues such as branding, social media management, tour logistics, and regional special event booking to provide artists, creatives, and businesses with the tools needed to propel their careers to new heights.
Rhonda’s first experience behind the scenes in the music industry was in the 90’s with Randy Travis and the Highwaymen–Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Her work was soon recognized by a new label in town, Arista Nashville, and she landed a position on their first staff. At Arista, her creative drive and passion helped turn new artists like Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio and others into superstars during the decade when Arista Nashville dominated the charts. During her time at Arista, Rhonda worked with Travis-Heard Entertainment to create the first EPK on VHS for Brooks and Dunn in 1993 for which she won a Telly Award. Rhonda then moved on to help an up-and-coming talent, Trace Adkins. They later married and started a family, and Rhonda continued to contribute her talents in all areas of his career. She orchestrated his rise to fame during some of his most successful years as a recording artist by using her established contacts, passion and creativity. For over two decades she was part of the team that formed important alliances with managers, booking agents, record labels, production companies and media outlets. Her expertise and experience helped launch Trace Adkins to the stardom they dreamed of.
Not only did Rhonda leave a mark on the music industry, but she also impacted United States laws and regulations on severe allergies. In the late 2000’s to early 2010’s, Rhonda Forlaw Adkins was one of the biggest advocates for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). Her middle daughter struggles with severe allergies to nuts, eggs, and dairy products and, at the time, there was not much legislation supporting people with allergies. Through her efforts and advocacy, Rhonda was able to help pass the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act, which allows schools to develop voluntary guidelines to manage severe food allergies. Along with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act, she played a part in passing the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which requires schools to have an emergency supply of epinephrine in order to treat severe allergic reactions. Due to her and her family’s actions, the two acts passed and became federal laws that schools across the country are required to comply with.
In Rhonda’s own words,
“Living and working on both sides of the industry has allowed me to have a perspective that most people do not ever experience. While working at Arista Nashville for years I learned how to listen to artists and help them establish their brand by putting their ideas into action. Ultimately, I felt like my job was to have listeners envision the artist’s face when they heard their voice or vice versa. The way I helped that occur was by getting our artists on TV, in magazines and organizing appearances everywhere. Then being on the artist side of the industry, by being married to Trace and working with his team, I saw the music industry from a different view. My background at Arista gave me the knowledge to communicate to the music industry executives that Trace was working with daily. I found that the two different perspectives could meet in the middle through my expertise.Building bridges became an integral part of creating and maintaining relationships in the music industry, which I had a newfound understanding for after my time at Arista. These decades of experiences give me invaluable knowledge that I will apply to guide artists and other creatives to achieve their full potential at Rhonda & Company.”