Music has the power to inspire people and change lives. On this episode we spotlight one organization using music education to empower and amplify the voices of young women and girls. Portland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls was founded in 2001 and provides tools and education for girls interested in music. Along with the camp’s director, Kristi Balzer, we talk to some of the women who have been influenced by and serve as role models for the camp, Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists) and Fabi Reyna (She Shreds Magazine).
We talk a lot about how musicians can make a living in today’s music industry, but on this episode we look at the selfless ways artists use their influence. Our guests show that musicians at any stage of their careers can affect sustainable, positive change. Mike McCready, lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, tells us how the band’s Vitalogy Foundation, funded by ticket sales, benefits everything from the environment to the arts. Then we hear from emerging queer punk duo PWR BTTM about how their tour rider is making venues safer and more accessible. Merrill Garbus, the artist behind tUnE-yArDs, explains how one song led to the creation of the Water Fountain fund. We end the show with Coy Bowles of Zac Brown Band, who uses storytelling to change kids’ lives.
Health insurance, a 401K… employment benefits in general? Not so easy to find working in the music industry. Luckily, in 1989 the Recording Academy created the MusiCares Foundation, providing a safety net of critical services and resources for industry people in need. On this episode, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow gives us some background on the foundation and, while the service is confidential, some of the many musicians, managers and crew who have been helped by MusiCares have volunteered to tell us their stories.
For the 15th annual Future of Music Summit, we headed to Washington DC for a special taping of The Future What. Portia talked with musician and innovator Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs about her creative process, puppeteering past and more. Then we sat down with Tim Quirk, founder of Freeform Development Inc. and former Google Play exec.
When people hear about the Recording Academy, some scratch their heads in wonder, while others immediately recognize them as the organization that puts on the Grammy Awards every year. However, both of these responses bely the true effort and intent behind the organization, as they are just as involved in awards shows as they are in advocacy for musicians on Capitol Hill and beyond. After several successful years of doing the music industry lobbying day, “Grammys On The Hill,” the Recording Academy decided to take the model that they had developed for Washington, D.C. and bring that back to musician’s home districts. This year represents the second time that “Grammys In My District” has happened, and we speak with three different players inside the organization about what’s different about this year’s event, and catch some soundbytes of the event that took place in Seattle on October 14.
In this episode, we ask several notable comedians the question, “Is comedy the new punk rock?” Naturally, the answers varied from comedian to comedian, but the discussions were all very insightful and frank when discussing the similarities and differences between the two arts. Amy Miller draws parallels between punk rock shows and stand-up nights, Nathan Brannon talks about taking his politics as a person onstage as a comedian, and Hari Kondabolu talks about the fine line between comedy and political activism, and what people’s expectations are when they buy tickets to see him perform.