May 22, 2013

Maine woman's summer trip: Cover One Direction

A Maine blogger will follow the British boy band around the U.S., report on its concerts and be paid to do so.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Kylie Keene is a blogger and aspiring journalist with one hot summer assignment – cover the boy band One Direction as it plays to throngs of screaming girls at sold out shows across the country.

click image to enlarge

Kylie Keene blogs on “Young & Free Maine,” a site sponsored by Maine’s Credit Unions. She also travels the state promoting credit unions as a “spokester.”

Courtesy photo

What's her strategy?

"I'll probably be screaming right along with them," said Keene, 23, of Portland. "We fan girls are a different breed."

Keene has been selected by Nabisco -- sponsor of One Direction's summer North American tour -- to be the "Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent" covering the band at five shows spread out through the summer.

Not only does she get free admission, transportation, and lodging while working, she gets paid for this dream gig too. Her "salary" for five shows is $40,000.

"I've been out of school for a while, so the student loan payments are due," said Keene, who graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 with a degree in journalism. "And I'll probably buy some concert tickets along the way."

Nabisco held a contest to pick the tour's special correspondent, spending about a month earlier this spring reviewing video applications and essays.

Keene works as the "Young & Free Maine spokester" for Maine's Credit Unions. She blogs, makes videos and travels the state promoting credit unions to young adults. So when she heard from another blogger about the VIP correspondent opportunity, she read the description and thought it would be perfect for her.

"I just shared (in the application video) that I am passionate about what I do, passionate about making videos and telling stories and about the power of live music," Keene said.

It likely didn't hurt that she also mentioned her love of little peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches her mother made for her, with Ritz Crackers, a Nabisco product.

Though she says she's a big fan of boy bands and going to concerts, Keene confessed that her first One Direction show will be the first one she covers, on June 14 in Miami. Her blog can be found at 1DVIP.com.

She's a big fan of another boy band, Hanson, and remembers seeing them for the first time when she was 14. But her very first concert was seeing Aerosmith, with her dad.

"And he went to Hanson shows with me too," said Keene, who grew up in Farmingdale.

The five young guys in One Direction -- Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson -- were discovered by Simon Cowell on the British TV show "The X Factor" in 2010. The group's debut album, "Up All Night," entered the U.S. Billboard album chart at No. 1 and the band has gone on to sell more 29 million records. Every one of the 35 shows on the band's summer tour is sold out.

Keene's correspondent travels will amount to several mini-summer vacations, with trips back to Maine in between. Besides Miami on June 14, the other shows she'll cover are June 25 in Philadelphia, July 13 in Chicago, July 22 in Dallas and Aug. 9 in Los Angeles.

Her main duties will be to see the shows, watch the crowd and the band, and report on the band and the screaming fans. She'll also alert fans to ticket giveaways.

She'll be allowed to see sound checks before shows, but is not sure what other kind of access she'll have to the band.

"This is an incredible launching pad for me, a chance to put my skills to use and show people what I can do," Keene said.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@mainetoday.com

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