Using Music For Good

Jarrett Lampley, GRAMMY Camp LA 2015

On the evening of Monday, June 22, 72 GRAMMY Campers assembled in the Carson Soundstage of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music to not only learn about the connection between charitable organizations and music, but to also create an original organization or idea and pitch it to a group of accomplished individuals on the panel. The four industry professionals in attendance -- Joe Emory, the Manager of Employee Relations for the Hot Topic Stores, Marjorie Gilberg, the executive director of the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, Sarah Lipman, the manager of giving communications at TOMS and Rachel Assil, an experienced singer, songwriter, pianist and producer -- represented a wide variety of performers and organizations, sparking an interesting conversation surrounding an organization’s relationship with “Music For Good.”

The term “Music For Good” is the concept of an artist or performer using their music to inspire change in communities and beyond - and the most common way for an artist to get started on doing this is through partnerships with established charities and organizations. It was quite interesting to hear how philanthropic organizations approach these relationships as well as the ways in which artists do, a viewpoint provided by the charismatic Rachel Assil. 

After about 30 minutes of conversation surrounding the panelists’ backgrounds and general advice in creating and pitching a product, the campers were released into groups of 10 to come up with original products. After 20 minutes, the nervous yet inspired campers returned to Carson and begun their presentations. Though there wasn’t much that could be done to develop a product in 20 minutes, the campers showed out and presented great ideas - all of which the panel seemed quite intrigued by. The pitches ranged from “Dubs for Cubs,” an organization that created electronically produced music to raise money for animals, to “The Melodic Youth Organization,” a charity that raised money through a series of events to connect musical artists to inner-city youth and eventually fund a music festival for the youth to perform at with their mainstream artist. Not only did the panelists provide insightful and intuitive advice to the groups, but some such as Joe Emory went as far as to offer to pitch the idea to their connections in the industry. 

This event was a great chance for all of the campers to not only exercise their creativity, but also understand the business side of the music industry. The selection of panelists provided a great mix of specialties that offered the campers a nice contrast, ultimately demonstrating that music isn’t just a form of expression or a way to make money - but a powerful platform that can truly make a difference in the world. 

In the Spotlight

Mikey LaSusa

GRAMMY Camp 2013, 2014, 2015


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