Learn All About How GRAMMY U's Virtual Conference Featuring Julia Michaels Hopes To Inspire Music Industry Grads
As the world slowly begins to open again and the music industry continues to navigate this unprecedented time, GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy’s university network, wants to make sure future graduates feel like the industry is still a landscape full of possibilities.
"It has been a challenging year for the music industry [as a] whole, but it has brought a whole new level of uncertainty to students who aspire to work in this music ecosystem,” Stefan Nixon, senior at Saint Mary’s College of California and a San Francisco GRAMMY U representative, told GRAMMY.com. "The job market has been hit really hard right as we look at post-grad opportunities to continue our dreams."
To combat some of the hopelessness, GRAMMY U will dedicate its biggest event of the year to providing job insight for students across the country who are seeking job opportunities in the music industry. Through the second annual GRAMMY U Virtual Conference, taking place Friday, May 7, attendees will be able to hear from GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Julia Michaels and her team on what it takes to be an artist and succeed in today's music industry.
The inaugural GRAMMY U virtual conference in 2020 featured two panels and a conversation with Jojo and Ruby Amanfu, among others, followed by a performance spotlighting U.K. alt-pop duo, Oh Wonder. This year, the conference is focusing on one artist and her team in order to provide students with an opportunity to learn about various careers in the industry, including management, A&R, marketing, and public relations. The 2021 edition of the conference will feature two panels, the first of which will start at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET and available to watch for free on the Recording Academy's Facebook and YouTube pages.
GRAMMY U representatives Allison Lapinski (Chicago Chapter) and Sierra Dudas (Los Angeles Chapter) will moderate the first segment: 360° View: Exploring an Artist’s Team. The panel will spotlight the industry leaders who surround Michaels: Marisa Bianco, Senior Vice President of Media, Republic Records; Donna Gryn, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Republic Records; Wendy Goldstein, President of West Coast Creative; and Beka Tischker, CEO of Wide Eyed Entertainment and artist manager.
The second panel will feature a two-part conversation with the "All Your Exes" singer. The first will be a one-on-one chat with her long-time manager and friend, Tischker. The second will be a Q&A session in which Michaels will answer questions submitted by GRAMMY U students.
The event will be open to GRAMMY U members as well as non-members in an effort to maximize the event's uplifting message. "With this being an event open to non-members, we have been able to really extend our reach and showcase GRAMMY U to new audiences," Cassidy Zuver, Nashville Chapter representative and senior at Belmont University who worked on the student marketing team, said.
Much has changed since the last conference, and GRAMMY U representatives have organized the event with the present times in mind, especially given the effects of “Zoom fatigue,” offering engaging ways for students to take in what the conference has to offer.
"A lot of students are simply burned out from constant screen time and are looking for something different from their typical panel or webinar," Nixon said. “What we did to try and overcome this was to take our time to brainstorm how we could put together an event that is unique and serves our student population best while still being entertaining and informative—simultaneously.”
Nixon added that it was "a tight line to walk on," but he feels GRAMMY U got it just right.
"The other Reps and I have all been working really hard, and I’m already very excited about the way this event is coming together," Ella Sharp, a Pacific Northwest Chapter rep. who is finishing her last year at Shoreline Community College, said.
Sharp, Zuver and Nixon are just three of the 13 GRAMMY U representatives who have put the conference together.
For these students, working on the conference itself gave them hope. "Creating this conference during the current climate in the world just added even more of a special meaning to all of us,” Zuver said. “Despite the negative factors in the world that are out of our control, we have managed to put together an uplifting showcase that can serve as inspiration and an escape for the viewers."
Nixon was driven by the belief that the conference can guide students toward their goals: "I think that our conference can shed some light on open doors, passions, and creative endeavors that students might not have thought of before and provide hope to many students who need it right now more than ever."
If the conference is anything like last year, Zuver is confident many will leave with something new. "[Last year,] whether they were an aspiring music industry creative or business professional, they were able to take what was presented to them and create their own magic,” she said. “I believe that this year's conference will have the same effect."
GRAMMY U Representatives: Ally Stout (Atlanta), Allison Lapinski (Chicago), Melanie McGrath (Florida), Sierra Dudas (Los Angeles), Charles Seaton (Memphis), Dani Friedman (New York), Cyrus Burns (NOLA), Breana Phelps (Philadelphia), Alany Rodriguez (Texas), Nia Burnley (Washington D.C.), Cassidy Zuver (Nashville), Ella Sharp (Pacific Northwest), and Stefan Nixon (San Francisco).