New Orleans Business Alliance Hosts Event to Boost Women in Music Biz

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Business Alliance and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation announced their third Sync Up workshop to help women find careers in the music industry outside of performing. The free workshop, titled “Women Changing Music,” will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart Street. This series of women-centric programs was developed to shed light on and address the lack of women currently employed in various roles throughout the music industry. 

According to a 2019 USC/Annenberg study, only:

  • 21% of musical artists are women;
  • 12% of songwriters are women;
  • 2.3% of producers are women;
  • 10% of Grammy nominees are women; and
  • of 871 producers, only four were women of color.

The upcoming Sync Up represents the first in a new series of programming in partnership with Loyola University, the Recording Academy, the New Orleans Business Alliance, and the Jazz and Heritage Foundation to expand opportunities for all women in one of New Orleans’ most recognized and essential industries.

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“Culture is an economic asset for which New Orleans is known globally. As we seek to expand economic opportunity, we must not overlook the music industry as a cultural asset for creating more opportunities for women, and especially women of color, to access wealth-generating business opportunities beyond performing,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance. “Mahalia Jackson was a New Orleanian. Ledisi is a New Orleanian. By partnering with Loyola University and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Business Alliance is working to ensure that the next Mahalia or Ledisi records great music mixed by women, on her own label in her studio, right here in New Orleans.”

The workshop will feature a discussion with Michelle Thomas, a New Orleans-area native who runs one of the top record labels in Los Angeles and has worked with some of the top talents in the music industry including Jimmy Iovine, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Dr. Dre, Eminem, U2, Sheryl Crow and Sting.

“As part of its mission to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the music and heritage of Louisiana communities, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is also committed to empowering the practitioners of these traditions by supporting a culture of equity and access across lines of race, class, and gender,” said Kia Robinson, the foundation’s programs, marketing and communications coordinator.

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Recently, a number of studies have exposed the severity of the gender gap in the entertainment industry. In an ongoing effort to address this disparity, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation has partnered with NOLA Business Alliance, Loyola University, and the Recording Academy to present a series of Sync Up workshops that focus on women in the music industry, highlighting the pathways to positions of power not just in front of the mic, but also in the C-suite and the engineering booth. Equity in the music industry is in a better place than it was 10 years ago, but certainly, not where it needs to be.”

In addition, production, engineering, touring, artists management and law experts will discuss how women can take advantage of the growing opportunities in the music industry. Panelists include: 

  • Donna Santiago, a New Orleans attorney, focusing on arts and entertainment and nonprofit corporations;
  • Ami Spishock, founder of Fort Williams Artist Management;
  • Nicole Robinson, event coordinator and tour manager for Trombone Shorty; and
  • Trina Shoemaker, multiple Grammy Award-winning producer and sound engineer.

Sponsors of the event include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the Recording Academy, the New Orleans Business Alliance, and Loyola University.

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The event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, click here.

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