This episode was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.
Business Strategist and Founder and CEO of Music Meets The Boardroom, Latoya Cooper, talks about their mission to provide women artists of color an avenue to be heard. She shares how having the right resources can help you build your brand and your business not only as an artist but as its CEO.
Latoya loves music and the arts. She is a singer-songwriter. She won Top Talent at Miss Oklahoma when she was eighteen years old. She went to college upon her parents’ advice but was not happy, so she took another degree. She never stopped learning but at the same time, she was searching for something. She had depression for ten years and in her early 30s, God told her to sing again. She let go of some things and was evolving.
She had been managing bands in Dallas and New York. She was also performing in different parts of the country and overseas. She had been writing music, releasing music, working on the legal aspect, paperwork, and all stuff. She didn’t realize those experiences were her launching pad for building a brand and experience.
Music Meets the Boardroom
Latoya had already been running Music Meets the Boardroom and had no intentions of leaving her job. It was something she did on the side. Next thing you know, it became this opportunity to build out this brand that had roots and potential areas of roots. It goes back to that conversation of putting together a list of contacts and networks. You don’t think anything of it. You just do it because you feel like it’s the right thing to do and this is what you want to do but then something happens later that connects the pieces for us.
Music Meets The Boardroom’s mission was not always in relation to women, especially women of color. During the first workshop held by Latoya, she had different types of artists, from videographers to classically trained violinists and producers. Over the years, I started to niche down a little bit more based on the more that I learned, also watching the market and the industry and finding the areas and pockets that were not served. That’s how she ended up deciding “I want to work with not only women or women of color but I want to make sure I focus on women such as myself that look like me who do not have anything out there.”
People are going to go where the good information is. Music Meets The Boardroom sponsors a conference called the Indie Artist Power Conference every year. It is emphasized that it is for women of color or black women. At the end of the day, everybody shows up and they are welcome. Women of color or black women are heard and we address those unique needs that we have that never get addressed. Everyone can learn from all the information shared.
Simple Methods Smarter Decisions: Safety Resource for Female Recording Artists
What’s great about niching down is you can speak specifically to specific pain points and problems. Latoya created a book called Simple Methods Smarter Decisions: Safety Resource for Female Recording Artists. The book is not only providing useful information for those who are seeking a career in music or reinforcing and empowering women who are already in music but it’s also an opportunity to encourage women to share their stories unapologetically for those that are coming after them. The crazy thing is a lot of people who read the book and gain value are men. Latoya realized that it’s not only women who have certain types of experiences. Men deal with it too. It’s just not as socially acceptable to be more open about the experiences that men have.
Her biggest lesson as an entrepreneur and using TikTok
The most valuable thing that we can do as artists, especially if we’re starting or maybe stuck somewhere and don’t see the results that we want, is get clear about who we serve as artists, what outcome we desire to produce as a result of what we’re doing, getting clear about that, making sure that we’re taking the right opportunities that are aligned with the path that we’re trying to go and also figuring out who you serve or connect with. Who is your dream fan? That is so important. Latoya speaks a lot about that on TikTok because it is a huge part of an artist’s success. Everyone is not a fan.
She is very intentional about it. She has learned a few things and is still learning a few more. It is also important to stop when you need a break. She finds that she makes better content when she takes a break. It’s a healthy thing to do. If she’s struggling with any aspect of TikTok, she hires someone who can help her with it.
Musicians after the pandemic
The pandemic was an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and do something different. Now, musicians can go back to doing some performances yet don’t have to put up with things they don’t want to do because the pandemic showed them alternative ways of doing things. The space for independent artists is going to improve and get bigger. If you’re an independent artist, you can create any opportunity for yourself that you want to create.
The pandemic also reminded us how valuable art is and the connection of creativity instead of us sitting alone in our homes, those experiences of music, how we need those for our mental health, and things like that. Musicians, remember that the world has remembered again how valuable you are. This is our time to take advantage of that.
The conference and being a CEO
The conference is focused on building a brand and business and helping artists shift, not only as being confident as artists but as being confident as business owners. She likes to take the artists a little bit step further. It’s not only seeing themselves as entrepreneurs but seeing more artists see themselves as CEOs.
Artists usually freak out when you tell them about becoming a CEO. The concept of it takes away the opportunity to be creative. It’s the opposite of what we want to be. The information she shares and the method that she teaches and shares are still very much in line with that but Latoya doesn’t necessarily lead with those words anymore. She focused on the skillsets of building that. People don’t even know that’s what they’re building but that’s what it is so it will come together later. It goes back to entrepreneurship. You give them what they need but sell them what they want.
Connect with Latoya
You can find Latoya on TikTok as @LatoyaTheSongstress. She is also on YouTube shorts as @MusicMeetsTheBoardroom.
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