Candace Newman is using her 10+ years of live music experience to empower the next generation of diverse leaders through her organization Live Out L!ve.
When the world paused in 2020, it gave society time to reflect on social causes in a way we hadn’t seen in decades. One of those was a revitalized civil rights movement. The music industry as a whole was reminded that we can, and should, do more to encourage diversity and inclusion at every level of our organizations and communities.
Though this realization came as a surprise to some, it wasn’t at all a shock to Candace Newman, CEO and founder of Live Out L!ve.
Newman spent over 10 years at Live Nation, many of those as a Tour Executive, booking, producing, and promoting major artists including Rihanna and the Backstreet Boys. But throughout her tenure at one of the premiere live entertainment companies—which gave her a look across the entire industry—she didn’t see an increase in diversity, especially at the top.
Moving the Needle
“There just was not a lot of representation around me,” Newman tells us. “As I was navigating the live music business and growing in that space, I was traveling all over the world, going to shows at venues all over the place. There were hardly any people of color unless they were ushers or cleaning up. There were hardly any women, let alone women of color, in the booking and promoting roles or liaising the entire process of the tour, overseeing those aspects, making the decisions.”
That’s not to say there were no women in live music, according to Newman. “I think that many organizations and corporations see white women as diversity. But that's just not enough. Women are women, but saying we're diverse because we have 50% women at our company while the majority of them were in administrative roles is not really moving the needle in diversity, inclusion and equity.”
A New Approach to the New Generation
After 11 and a half years, representation didn’t change, so Newman decided to do something about it. She founded Live Out L!ve in 2019, an organization inspired by her own journey and career in live music.
Organizations dedicated to fostering a new generation of music business professionals are nothing new. For example, The Recording Academy has a program called GRAMMY U that’s open to full-time students who are currently enrolled in a college, university, or trade school.
While programs like GRAMMY U focus on educational and some hands-on opportunities for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the music industry, Live Out L!ve has a tighter focus.
“I created Live Out Live! as a platform for the next generation of diverse leaders in the live music industry,” says Newman. “I wanted to build a focus driven platform. We provide resources, education, access and opportunities within the live music industry to women and girls who aspire to work in live music and to people of color of any background. I wanted to carve out a space for more diverse faces.”
According to Newman, part of building diversity in the live music industry is showing students that it takes all kinds of professionals to make a tour a success. “There are different pipelines into the live music industry—many skills are transferable,” she tells us. “Let’s say a student wants to get into live music and they love accounting. They can go out on the road with their favorite artists and settle their shows night after night. Accounting is essential in live music, but a lot of people just don't know that there are so many other opportunities within the live music space. There's about a hundred people behind the scenes propping that artist up.”
With that in mind, Newman is creating educational content and panels through platforms like Masterclass and Clubhouse as well as working with partners like GRAMMY U. “I just did a recent panel project with the Grammy U—a month-long touring series featuring all kinds of touring topics from safety to booking, marketing and ticket box office. We brought in people within those roles to talk about their work and how they got there, some best practices and experiences that they've navigated and some fun tips and tricks as well.”
Newman stresses that Live Out L!ve is a place for women and non-binary people who are willing to put in the work despite their current experience level, especially considering that so many skillsets can be transferred into live music. “Learning opportunities are forever. I'm always learning and I want to encourage students to learn. If you are in any sector of the music industry and you want to transfer into the live music industry, learn about it and tap into some resources that we have to help contribute to your knowledge and your interests, that’s our mission.”
For those who are worried that they won’t be able to be in live music forever, Newman stresses that live music professionals develop sought-after skills on the road. “If you want to transfer out of it, there are a lot of skill sets that you will learn in live music that really add value to any other places facing the industry,” she tells us. “There's that tenacity. That ability to just get things done and that ability to build community. I really want to bring those things to the forefront: community values, hard work, tenacity and making sure that my organization represents all of those things.”
The Same DNA
Like many nonprofit organizations, Live Out L!ve relies on its founder’s own investment as well as support from other investors and organizations that share Candace Newman’s values and vision. But, despite being a professional promoter, Newman isn’t a personal hype machine.
“I don’t have a publicist,” Candace Newman tells us. Instead, her work and reputation as a passionate leader in the industry has preceded itself. That’s how Bracken P. Darrell, President and CEO of Logitech, discovered and reached out to her. “That’s typically how I get recommendations, recognition and partnerships—because people simply see the work I’m doing or someone says ‘you need to connect with this organization because you share the same DNA or you care about the same things.’”
With Logitech and UE, Newman sees an organization with a mission that matches her own. “ They support creatives of diverse backgrounds; they have BIPOC programming. Bracken really wanted to bring in people from the outside to have an opportunity to contribute to the value that he's trying to build. He's an incredible leader and the organization and the people there reflect that.”
But Logitech and UE’s involvement with Newman and Live Out L!ve isn’t just a one-way street. UE is also collaborating with Newman and Live Out L!ve to build out different programming initiatives, including a Masterclass scholarship program, in addition to various Logitech and UE initiatives.
Of course, Live Out L!ve is a part of the music industry, and everyone knows the music business is all about connections. And as well-connected and respected as an industry veteran like Newman is, she’s excited for the additional connections UE and Logitech have provided her with.
“As well as Logitech and UE are supporting a lot of the different initiatives that I'm working on, I'm just really grateful for the resources that they offer, the people that they connect me with and allow me to work with internally—that’s as good as money,” she tells us. “UE and Logitech share a lot of the passion and DNA of supporting creatives, supporting BIPOC, supporting the next generation, empowering people and really putting people first before business and money.
We share that DNA and I'm excited to be aligned with an organization that believes in those values.”
Make a Difference
So, how can the industry get on board and build a more diverse workforce? To Newman, it’s simple. “Hire qualified people of all backgrounds, open up the window for anyone who's passionate and who is willing to learn and put in the work—and not just as assistants. Create a pipeline for them to develop and grow within the organization and not to be your assistant for six years. I was an assistant for six years. I have a master's degree. I am a hard worker, I'm a business. So I was very much suppressed and overlooked and not given the same opportunities that my white male counterparts were given.”
Newman encourages other organizations in the music industry as a whole to match that spirit and promote more diversity in their own workforces. “That is really the core of my mission,” Newman tells us. “That is what my brand is all about. We are always looking for opportunities to help amplify the values that we have, which is that anyone who puts in the work can get the job done. Anyone that puts in the work can be in the live music industry. Women who support women and help build each other up can also contribute great value to the live music industry.”
If you’re interested in supporting or learning more about Live Out L!ive, visit their website for information about their upcoming events, including Masterclasses and Clubhouse chats.