An Interview With Kristen Madsen of the GRAMMY Foundation

Author: 
Danielle Lowe, GRAMMY Camp LA Student Journalist

Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, Kristen Madsen, took time to answer a few questions from GRAMMY Camp Music Journalism students on July 17, 2012 after Guest Professional Day at GRAMMY Camp.

GC: How did you get involved with the Recording Academy?

K: Well, I actually wanted to work for the GRAMMY Awards since I was quite young. And when I got old enough to think about it and get close enough to it, I specifically target it as a company I wanted to see. It took me five months of calling everyone I knew who knew anything about the GRAMMY's or knew anybody in there to call on my behalf. I finagled a couple of interviews and just patiently waited, but never let go of the possibility I was going to do it and was lucky enough that after five months, was hired into a job.

GC: What was your opinion on the panel today?

K: I thought we had a really terrific panel today. Not only were these artists not far away age wise, I think it helped the Campers feel like that's attainable. But everybody talked, no matter how far ahead they were in their career, about what people can do now. You know, they made their experience really attainable and achievable, like "Hey! I could do that!" And it was great advice, but it was also like, “Tomorrow I could do some of what someone told me and make a difference tomorrow.”

GC: What made you want to be involved in a program like this and what do you get out of it?

K: That's a really great question. So I've been at the GRAMMY Foundation for about eight years and my whole career has been in non-profit arts management. I'm lucky because I've had a career that what I do actually makes a difference in peoples' lives and that's a very different motivator than money. And I will tell you, it's a really great motivator. But when I started at the Foundation, we were looking at all the different kinds of programs that we did for high school students and there was this gap because we were doing things with students for a day or maybe half a day, and we didn't really have long term impact or long term relationships with the students that came through. So we felt like there's room for a new summer camp, that's a music camp, and brings kids together and talks about not just getting better at their instrument, but what they need in order to have a successful career in music. And that's what got us started!

Photo courtesy of The Recording Academy®/WireImage.com, photo by Jesse Grant © 2012

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