Industry Professional Speaker Series: Meklit

On October 18, the Concert Career Pathways (CCP) program kicked off their Speaker Series with an intimate talk from San Francisco based, Ethio-Jazz musician and social activist, Meklit. Meklit first became associated with The UC Theatre when she performed on our stage alongside the stunning Mulatu Astatke August 16, 2017. As we entered the venue, Meklit set the tone by striking up casual conversations with each of us. It was clear that instead of a classroom style lecture, the night would be about facilitating a dialogue between a diverse group of individuals united by a kindred passion for music.

Because Meklit has an expansive knowledge of the music industry, or the ‘music ecology’ as she prefers to call it, the first portion of the presentation focused on her creative accomplishments and resources — fiscal sponsorships and the various grants that fall under that umbrella — she utilized to bring those goals into fruition. She explained to us that the term ‘music industry’ insinuates hierarchies. Instead of focusing on the different levels of power we have over each other, ‘music ecology’ promotes the idea that everything, everyone, has a function and a purpose in music; an ideology that applies directly to our CCP group as we begin to pursue careers in pockets of the music world that often go unnoticed by the outside world. Meklit then launched us into an enlightening dialogue about our creative processes and gave us a chance to share individual projects and goals with the group.

Meklit dropped countless impactful one-liners throughout her talk, but one that is still buzzing around in my head is this: “Make the work you wish existed when you were growing up. Invisibility doesn’t have to continue.”

After hearing about the creative aspirations of my fellow CCPs, and the wisdom and realistic advice that professionals like Meklit have to offer us, I have faith that we’ll find our purpose in the music ecology and uplift the people around us as we do it.

– Rebekah Gonzalez, Concert Career Pathways Intern 18-19