Recently, Eventbrite sat down with WIM's President, Jessica Sobhraj, in honor of Women's History month to gather her thoughts on women’s value in the music industry, her journey to success, and her advice to other women.
Value is something that I’ve always determined for myself, with little regard to outside forces and opinions. I think it’s important for all of us to get to a very honest and clear place with ourselves about who we are, where we are, and what we bring to the table in every interaction we have.
I feel most valuable when I’m able to generate positive outcomes for my immediate network by making meaningful introductions and shining a light on exciting projects. Women in Music does this for nearly 2000 women via the numerous ways our members can interact, ask for advice, and promote their projects. We’re especially interested in highlighting the movers and shakers in the music industry via our blog. For our industry, it’s critical for us to be able to celebrate the bright spots where women are succeeding as it encourages others to strive to be as successful.
Read more here...
Cassandra Kubinski sits on the board of Women in Music as the Chair of Membership. She is also an accomplished artist, songwriter, and actress. We sat down with Cassandra to learn about her history and hear her advice for advancing as a Woman in Music.
Success is such a personal concept – we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
I think the definition of success often changes for each of us. Have you ever experienced the feeling of reaching a goal and then immediately thinking "OK, what's next?!" I know I'm guilty of that! Overall, I define success as doing what you want to do, when you want to do it, to the best of your ability and satisfaction. I think success is not just accomplishing goals or targets, but enjoying the process along the way and at the end of it, feeling that you've been enhanced while also having the chance to enhance others with your success. It's getting to the point where you really, truly get that you and you alone choose your happiness and you are allowed to be successful in whatever way you desire. I relish success in groups - it's best when shared!
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - What are your top three tips?
1. Just do it. I hear people very often saying they WANT to be an artist or writer but don't know how to get started. If you sing, you're a singer. If you write, you're a writer. You don’t need anyone to help you open your mouth and sing, or pick up a pen or computer and write. The most successful artists and writers just DO it, every day, whether the magic is flowing or not. Make up your mind to just start with whatever you have wherever you are and BE an artist because you said so.
2. Get educated. There are countless writing and performance groups, coaches, teachers, seminars, conferences, books, youtube videos etc. for anything you want to do like improving your range, booking your own tour, or writing better songs. Google is amazing - use it! Want to fast track your learning? Tell everyone you meet what you're up to and what you feel you need to learn. You'll be amazed by the connections, wisdom, and advice they have (even if you think they're not "qualified" to give you advice).
3. Take other people's opinions of your music with a grain of salt. It is very, very good to solicit those opinions and better to pay attention if there are trends in people's responses to your music. However, it's all just subjective opinion. Only your heart can tell you if you're doing the right thing and making the right music for you.
How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
The personal and professional experiences in my life started contributing to my success at a very young age.I have my parents to thank for exposing me to so many performances, concerts, broadway-style shows, music, and movies. These were the art forms that inspired me to become an artist. I was a professional music theatre actress by age 12 and that early start gave me a professional approach that definitely served me when I transitioned into songwriting and solo performing in my early 20’s. Every experience shapes you - it's impossible to quantify the effect of each!
Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Some of the challenges I've faced as a singer/songwriter include, but are not limited to: Rejection (and self rejection), trying very hard for something and still not getting it, envy/jealousy, laziness, getting in my own way, assuming others were out to take advantage of me, actually getting taken advantage of, being expected to perform for free, sexism and inappropriate advances from men in the industry, balancing a fulfilling personal and family life with full dedication to my music and career...the list goes on. Honestly, most of the challenges when you really break them down start from within. When I've dealt with whatever my own resistances were, there were always breakthroughs beyond the challenges.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
The most valuable lesson I've learned is to be kind. Be kind to that "baby band" who is opening for you. In a couple of years, you might be opening for them! People DO know when you're being judgmental, rude, dismissive, or higher-than-thou, even if you think you're hiding it well. They will remember it and will not be interested in working with you, which might sting if you decide that you want to work with them. So, it really pays to be kind. However, it’s important to note that “kindness” does NOT mean being a pushover, allowing others to get whatever they want at your expense, or sticking around that rude, haughty executive or rockstar because maybe they'll sign you. I've had numerous incidents where I met someone I thought I'd never work with, to whom I could have been rude, who came through and helped out or offered opportunities down the line.
What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face?
The most pressing issue women in the music industry face is negativity and fear. This applies to all of us, not just women. People love to get caught up in the tide of "the industry is dying", "no one can make money anymore", etc. and artists and business folks alike blame their lack of innovation and creativity on "the rules", "that's just not how it's done", "that's not the way the industry is going". People are afraid to innovate, speak up, and use their creativity for fear of losing whatever stature or position they have. To me, that just cultivates further mediocrity and lowers standards for music and professionals in our industry. Use your creativity, speak up, do the work. Everything worth doing takes real, lasting, committed effort.
Who inspires you, and why?
Sara Bareilles (just read her book, go get it!), Ingrid Michaelson, Rachel Platten, Sia, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Gavin Degraw, Billy Joel, Jason Mraz, The Goo Goo Dolls, 10,000 Maniacs...so many artists whose words and music have had a profound impact on my heart and life. My parents and sisters inspire me every time I see them, which I wish was more often. My boyfriend is an espresso shot of inspiration and motivation. My team inspires me with their creativity, dedication, and fun.
What do you look forward to accomplishing in the next year?
I look forward to the coming year at SunChild Entertainment as we're launching my 5th studio project, an EP called ONWARD this Fall. I'm looking forward to discovering how those songs land with our audience, building bigger and stronger communities of fans and friends around the music, and hearing the songs on radio and in TV, film, and ad placements. I'm looking forward to continuing to perform with amazing artists and organizations, traveling to awesome places to perform, and using my music to contribute positively to personal and social changes.
Global Non-Profit Organization Women in Music (WIM) To Service Membership from Los Angeles Women in Music (LAWIM) Following Dissolution
Women in Music
This guest blog comes from Jessica Perez, CEO of Tycoon, a free app designed for freelancers (like artists, songwriters, DIY'ers etc.) to help them keep track of their income. Jessica is a model that has appeared in publications worldwide, including ads for Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. As the CEO of Tycoon, she’s set out to make it easier for freelancers to be financially responsible, get paid, and learn more about their financial situations. For WIM, Jessica offers three tips for freelancers in the music industry to achieve the same:
Financial Management: It Will Make or Break You
I’ve been working as a fashion model for almost 15 years. The majority of my friends are freelancers--models, photographers, musicians, artists, writers, the list goes on. Even though what we do for a living is varied, we share some common problems: inconsistent work, variable income and the one that makes everyone cringe - calculating taxes. As for me, I didn’t want to just model, I wanted to be successful too. Through experience I realized taking control of my finances was going to be key to my success. To this day, I firmly believe financial management can make or break a freelancing career.
1) Try A Little Worst Case Scenario Thinking
I spent a good part of my career making just enough money to make ends meet. The reason I didn’t give up is that every year I was able to do just a little bit better than the year before. When I made more money, I didn’t elevate my lifestyle; if I could afford a one bedroom apartment, I lived in a studio. I used any extra cash I had to plan ahead for lulls in work and give myself more breathing room for when clients didn’t call. It turns out that ‘worst case scenario’ thinking is a great philosophy to live by if you’re a freelancer. Living below your means and saving money when you can will prevent you from having to run out and get another job or accumulate unnecessary debt.
2) Don’t Give Up
The media usually makes success look like it happens over night. All it takes is watching an old commercial of Brad Pitt eating a burger to remember that we all had to start at the bottom Drake style. As for me, I had been modeling for almost 7 years when I got my big break--Victoria’s Secret hired me for a job. What many people don’t know is that I had spent almost 3 years going to castings at their offices before they booked me for the first time. Before that moment, I had even joked to a friend that they should start paying me a part time salary for how much time I had spent meeting with them. The truth is, if you give up on your dreams, you’ll never know if all you needed was more time to achieve them.
3) Financial Awareness is Everything
When I was modeling full time, being diligent about how much money I earned and who still owed me money played a huge role in my financial decisions. Knowing exactly how much I earned allowed me to check in throughout the year and make sure I was saving the right amount of taxes. Knowing who still owed me money enabled me to make sure payments didn’t slip through the cracks. The fact that it was stressful and confusing to keep these numbers straight is the reason I decided to build Tycoon, an app for creative freelancers that allows them to record their jobs and stay on top of their payments. Tycoon empowers freelancers because the more awareness we have about where we stand financially, the better choices we can make moving forward. I believe that financial management, not only passion and talent, determines our success as freelancers. I encourage you to take control of your financial life, chase your dreams and succeed!
Download Tycoon for free: iPhone, Android
Follow Tycoon on Instagram & Twitter @TycoonTracker
Follow Jessica on Instagram & Twitter @JessLPerez
We hope you’re well and that your 2017 is off to a great start!
Now that the holidays have concluded, our team is back to work preparing for what will surely be another stellar year. Before we turn our full attention to 2017, I want to take a moment to reflect on the meteoric growth our organization experienced during 2016 and to thank you for continuing to support and embody the mission for which WIM has stood for over the last 30+ years. We grew more rapidly than any other year prior and are one of the largest and most established organizations for women in the music industry worldwide, which is a testament to how necessary organizations like WIM are and to the strength of our members!
We believe that the conversation around women’s rights and equality is one that is inclusive of everyone and we’re honored to continue to lead that conversation as we’ve done for the last three decades in diverse and accessible ways. In 2016, WIM threw over 25 events across our chapters. Some of these events were webinars intended to make our programming available to WIM members everywhere. Others were on-site events that highlighted the contributions women have made in our industry, such as the Women in Sync Awards, or provided unique programming, such as our executive breakfast, women in music tech event, social media critique/panel, sync licensing demo/panel, and our 360 mock negotiation.
We launched new chapters in Brazil, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Barbados to join our existing chapters in Boston and New York. Our membership swelled to nearly 1500 music industry executives, rising professionals, performance artists, songwriters, and more. The rapid expansion sparked many of you to want to bring WIM to your hometowns too! We anticipate the launch of several new chapters next year and the implementation of new infrastructure to help you all connect in more meaningful ways.
This kind of growth does not happen without tremendous effort, planning, and support. On behalf of the entire membership, we would like to thank the board directors, advisory board, and vice chairs that volunteer their time and work tirelessly to make all of this possible. We would also like to thank our partners and sponsors, whose generous contributions ensured that WIM membership fees would not increase (and have not increased over the last 10 years):
Atlas Music Publishing
Around Digital Media
The Caribbean Development Bank
The C2G Group at Morgan Stanley
Fox Rothschild LLP
Jeff McClusky & Associates
Joe Lambert Mastering
Miller Tau Financial Group
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Riptide Music Group
Small Town Brewery
Tito's Handmade Vodka
Twenty One Twelve
Everyone that contributes their time to WIM does so as a labor of love and an obligation to carry on the momentum of the women that came before us. WIM is supported by your membership, sponsorships, and donors. If you would like to get involved in any of the aforementioned capacities you can do so by clicking on any of the links above.
Lastly, as we dive into 2017, we will continue to find new and valuable ways serve our members at all levels of their career. In the coming months, we'll continue to update you on the numerous valuable events, networking opportunities and perks that we offer as well as new initiatives such as scholarships, grants, and tools to help you connect with each other even more!
Jessica Sobhraj, President, Women in Music
Jennifer Newman Sharpe, Vice President, Women in Music
Women In Music celebrates entrepreneurship throughout the music industry. Sparkplug allows musicians to plug in wherever they need by providing an easy rental system for gear. It is a woman lead organization, co-founded by Jennifer Newman-Sharpe, who also doubles as the VP of Women in Music. Read on to find their pro tips for the holiday season.
Tis the season! Throwing your own holiday rager or company party? Here’s some tips to delight all your guests AND cause the least amount of frustration!
1. Make a List, Check it Twice!
But really. Map out exactly what you are going to need in advance of your event, down to every little piece of tape, straw, and ribbon. Check through the steps of what needs to be where and when each day.
2. Run all the errands before the day-of
We all may think it’s a good idea to leave the gear rental or booze run until the day-of, but it’s not always the smartest when you’re running around to 3 stores to find what you need. On the day-of you should just worry about looking great and setting up your space.
3. Get Everything in Writing
If you are renting a venue or booking a band be sure to get the commitments in writing. The last thing you want to ruin your night is a disagreement over the terms or a misunderstanding of what was decided. Having everything in writing will allow you to provide backup and keep the party on track should any disagreements arise.
4. Rent Backline & Gear Locally via Sparkplug
Rent your PA, backline, and gear from local musicians in the area from Sparkplug. Great affordable gear deals are waiting for you and you can pre-book online to be sure everything will be easy and fluid on the day of. Plus you are supporting local musicians while you’re at it!
5. Don't be afraid to “pre-batch”
Pre-batch your drinks and food to keep the mess to a minimum! Make a bowl of punch rather than having a sea of bottles and mix. Offer easy-to-serve food like pasta and pre-mixed salad.
Happy party planning! And most of all don’t forget to have some fun!
Our Holiday party is a special time to come together, celebrate our accomplishments, meet new friends and reconnect with the Women In Music community while we enjoy top notch drinks and food! Below are some of the stories from our board and community members about their experiences at the party. We can't wait to see you there - get tickets here.
"Every year the holiday party is bigger and better than the previous year. It’s the one time a year that the entire organization can look back on all we have accomplished and it really puts all of the hard work into perspective. We enter the new year with bright eyes, excited for new ideas and new opportunities." - Bridget Perdomo
"The WIM holiday party is one of the best music industry holiday parties in NYC, the venue is always filled with a mix of artists and writers, label, publishing, sync and business folks, all having a great time networking, dancing and enjoying the food and drinks. It was one of the events that made me want to serve on the Board and it's an honor to work with the awesome Board and our membership to offer it to the community!" - Cassandra Kubinski
"Last year’s WIM party was my first in NY and it was an absolute riot and whirlwind all at once! The meatballs were flowing, the drinks readily avail., and I probably met 200 new great people in a row! At the time I had recently relocated from Toronto to New York, and to say this party laid the groundwork for me with many blossoming friendships, mentors, and allies in the New York music industry is an understatement!" - Sari Delmar
"It’s the event I look forward to most every year. No better way to kick off the holiday party season than with kickass industry pros, great music and tito’s cocktails, of course! Great vibes all around. Definitely the event you want to be at for networking." - Tara Tielmann
Read our interview below with Charly Bliss, the act performing at our Women In Music Holiday party. Check out their bandcamp here and get tickets here to see them at our Holiday party!
When did you first get into music and how did you come together as a band?
I’ve always loved to sing and I grew up doing musical theater and school plays, etc. I wanted to learn how to play guitar and write songs, but only sort of as a fantasy. I never thought it was something I would actually be able to do until I met Spencer. We met outside of a Tokyo Police Club show at Webster Hall when we were 14 and started video chatting every day after school. Eventually, one day he was like, “I bet you’ve secretly been writing songs. I wanna play them with you…” He has always been a wonderful, supportive friend and believed in me somewhat blindly. We started writing together and then the band formed around that. Sam is my older brother, and Dan has been one of my best friends since I was 11! Everything came together really naturally and we are really close.
Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music.
Kathleen Hanna came and spoke to a music writing class that I took my sophomore year of college and it felt like a very extreme, full-body, beam-of-light, eureka moment. I think it was the first time that I didn’t feel embarrassed to be a girl in a band. I used to feel like me being a girl was holding us back on some level. All of the bands we played with were all-dude bands and I felt like lyrically, physically and attitude-wise I was wrong for the job. Hearing her speak and becoming obsessed with her music made me feel like my perspective was an asset, and it was a life-changing revelation!
Describe one thing you love about being a woman in music.
I don’t know that this is necessarily exclusive to being a woman, but being on stage is one of the only times when I feel totally proud of my super-emotional, carousel of feelings that sort of tortures me in my day to day life. It makes me feel powerful and I feel totally free to be ugly and loud and assert myself. I think it’s rare and cool to feel beautiful when you’re also feeling really vulnerable. I feel like this goes without saying, but, I am so inspired by other women making music and I can only hope to do something similar for other women as well.
What do we need to know about your song Ruby?
“Ruby” was written super collaboratively! Lyrically, the song is about my therapist. A few years ago I developed an extreme fear of fainting out of nowhere that grew overtime and began to make it really difficult to do basically everything. I was too scared to ride the subway, walk up or down stairs, run, drive, play a show, etc. “Ruby” was my way of thanking my therapist for more or less curing me of that phobia.
(For Eva) Share one challenge about being the front-woman in a band of all dudes?
I am really lucky! Sam, Spencer and Dan are some of my closest friends on the planet. The more we’ve toured, the more sensitive they’ve all become to anything that might make me uncomfortable at shows or when we’re staying with people we don’t know, etc. I feel like we have a really wonderful understanding amongst the four of us, and I always feel like they have my back.
You're Invited to Celebrate the Season with Women In Music at our Annual WIM Holiday Party!
PRESENTED BY NIELSEN ENTERTAINMENT
Monday, December 5th, 2016
7pm - 11pm
The Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall
125 E 11th St
New York, NY 10003
'Tis the Season to be Jolly with WIM!
Join Women in Music to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in the music industry at our annual holiday party.
Enjoy complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres, an amazing DJ, and a live performance by Charly Bliss!
As a one-time only offer, non-members may sign up as a WIM Member at the event for a discounted $40 annual membership fee (regularly $50) and get in free with one guest to this holiday event (new members only)!
Additional guests and non WIM members can purchase tickets for $15 here.
First come first serve, an RSVP doesn't guarantee entry, so please arrive early.
Bridget Perdomo sits on the board of Women in Music as the events chairperson. She now holds the position of Senior Director of Sync Licensing at Roc Nation in New York City. She was named one of Billboard's 30 under 30 as Director of Music Resources at EMI Music Publishing. We sat down with Bridget to learn about her history and hear her advice for advancing as a Woman in Music.
I always set short term goals for myself so I that can have the feeling of success and accomplishment and use that to propel me to the next thing. For me, it's usually defined by title or responsibilities, but I’ve also had successful presentations or events that help increase confidence and allow me to realize my ability.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry - what are your top three tips?
Pay attention to what other supervisors, producers, and creatives are doing. Read trade mags and blogs. Know what syncs have won awards. Know what music your clients like.
Learn how your role and department interacts and affects other departments. Do not live in a vacuum. Spend 10 minutes talking to people at all levels in other departments. Figure out what you can do to make their jobs easier.
Know what is happening within the music industry in general. Pay attention to headlines of labels, pubs, agencies, law firms, PR companies, tech companies, etc. If you stay in your niche, one day you’ll look up and not recognize the industry anymore and you won’t know how to transfer your skills to the current landscape.
My parents owned a mom & pop retail shop for high-end audio and I helped out on weekends starting at age 12. I learned phone etiquette and to make eye contact with customers, but I also learned that store hours are not flexible and there are no sick days because you don’t have a backup plan. A missed opportunity directly results in a loss of income. I believe my work ethic stems from watching the example led by my parents, and they held me to a very high standard from a young age. Honesty, reliability, and hard work pays off.
There have been a few times where I felt stuck, or paralyzed in a position. I couldn’t see a way around an obstacle or didn’t think I could get out. Every time it happens, I have given myself permission to have 6-12 months to look at the bigger picture. It always feels so heavy in the moment, but with a little time and perspective, I’ve always found myself guided in the right direction. You can’t change the timing of other people around you and sometimes you just need time for the Tetris pieces to fall into place.
You are the only one who knows how hard you are working. It’s up to you to advance your personal PR and make sure the people around you know what you are doing. No one is going to do that for you.
I think all of the women’s issues are related, but I would say that the pay gap is probably the most concrete thing we can look at and start to change. The problem is on both sides – the companies don’t realize they are doing it and the women don’t know their value so can’t negotiate properly. I think it’s important to have open, myth-busting conversations about the excuses many companies give as to why a woman makes so much less and then teach women how to approach these issues head on.
I am always in awe of female executives that are raising (or have raised) children on their own. I have the most supportive husband who picks up my slack time and time again on my pursuit to advance my career. I am completely dumbfounded when I see other women who have done it on their own.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at Roc Nation in the next year?
I’m looking forward to just educating everyone on the depth of our roster. We have way more than just hip-hop! Everyone brings us urban music searches because we dominate that lane, but we have amazing new artists on the horizon that challenge all of the perceptions in the marketplace like Kevin Garrett, Dorothy, Mayaeni, ROMANS, Isaac Gracie etc. We launched Roc Nation Latin and even went country with the launch of our Nashville office earlier this year. We are an extremely active company that is growing rapidly. It’s exciting to be a part of it.
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