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Sync Up Workshop Featuring Women Changing the Music Industry

The New Orleans Business Alliance and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation have announced the third jointly-hosted Sync Up workshop to help women find careers in the music industry outside of performing. The event will feature an all-star cast of female industry experts with a focus on inclusion and equity.

“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 Women Changing Music Sync Up will be held on December 4 from 5:30 to 7 PM at the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, 1225 N. Rampart Street

Empowering Women to Break Into Music Industry

  • Sync Up: Women Changing Music
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.
  • New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, 1225 N. Rampart Street
  • Admission is free and open to the public. Register here.

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.

Recent studies demonstrate the significant gender disparities across 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 4 were women of color.

Industry Leaders to Share Valuable Insights

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.

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 & Tour Manager for Trombone Shorty; and
  • Trina Shoemaker, multi-Grammy Award-winning producer and sound engineer.

“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 womxn 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,” said Kia Robinson, Programs Marketing & Communications Coordinator at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival & Foundation.

Sponsors include: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, The Recording Academy and The New Orleans Business Alliance.

About the New Orleans Business Alliance
One of fewer than 70 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official 501(c)(3) not-for-profit economic development organization created as the partnership between the City of New Orleans and the business community to enhance the economic security of all New Orleanians by accelerating the diversification of the local economy, developing local talent and expanding entrepreneurial opportunity. By pursuing an inclusive economic development strategy, we will create the perfect intersection of culture and commerce, resulting in more equity and greater prosperity for all. Visit nolaba.org for more information.

About Sync Up
The Sync Up entertainment industry development workshops are a program of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. The Foundation is the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. It uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.


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