Cilene Bosch, the founder and President of WMMW, who 17 years ago in 2000, created an organization that would help give women in the music industry an extra advantage in marketing and promoting their talents. Talents like phenomenal instrumentalists and singer/songwriters.
WMMW, Women of Music Music of Women offers so many wonderful opportunities for independent female artists in the music industry. She has fought to give a voice to so many women who might not ever have the chance to share their talents with the world. The organization assists with presenting your music to select radio stations throughout the country, marketing and promotions of press on several online media sites as well as publication with Nashville Music Guide.
Now here at NMG we would like to share with you an exclusive interview, “In Her Own Words” as she shares with us her vision and passion for music and for supporting our independent female artists.
NMG: What do you feel is the biggest challenge women are facing in the music industry currently and do you have any thoughts on what they might do?
Bosch: I think that female artist have to constantly fight for recognition. The industry doesn’t take female artist as seriously as their counterparts the males… It seems to be the trickle down effect in the business from sound men who question female artists ability to know how to check their instruments to venues that treat women like they’re just a pretty voice attached to a sexy body and that they are just looking for attention and can’t really be serious about a career in music. Female artist have to fight for respect and unlike make counterparts have to PROVE themselves time and time again. As for what they might do… just keep performing, always be professional, don’t allow them to treat you with less respect than male counterparts, assert yourself and put on the great show you can when you are on stage!
NMG: Do you think that the division of so many sub genres has muddied the water so much that it’s hard to place an artist in to one or even two particular genres and does classifying them in one all inclusive such as Americana limit them on how far they promote their work? (Example: Americana = Folk, country, pop, rock, blues, jazz, etc)
Bosch: I think that the creative outreach of artists, singer songwriters today is expanding so greatly that we will probably see more and more categories in the future. Artist are trying to find a niche to fit into that isn’t already saturated and in doing so are creating new music styles that don’t fall into the current categories and that creates new categories. Trying to fit the artist into an all inclusive category does a great injustice to the artist and their music by labeling them to make them fit a mold. I feel you can’t label the creative process and mind and must allow it express freely.
NMG: What are your hopes and/or goals for 2017 with the outreach of Women of Music Music of Women and do you have a few particular areas you will start with first? What might those be?
Bosch: WOW that is a huge question!! I have so many goals for this organization and I get a little overwhelmed myself when trying to execute all the things I want to see happen for WMMW. I want to be able to provide the women in music opportunities that they may not have access to on their own. The same opportunities that signed artist have access to that the indie artist doesn’t.
So far this year we’ve started by forming new partnerships to create more performance opportunities where they will have an audience. Indies love to perform but often times can’t fill a venue. It’s difficult to have to play to an empty audience. And it’s been a challenge trying to negotiate venues that have built in audiences to allow new comers an opportunity to perform. But I’ve currently negotiated Rock Bottom on Lower Broad in Nashville which is a very popular venue and many of the industry heavy hitters are patrons who have scouted performers from there in the past. So this will afford members an opportunity to make their mark and maybe be paying to an A & R rep looking for that new sound. I’ve also negotiate a paid performance opportunity and the biggest news is that I just confirmed venue space with Rock Bottom to showcase during CMA FEST this year. WMMW will showcase all 4 days during prime hours. We have the Southern Women’s Show showcase at the end of March, I have radio play for members on international stations, we have publicity with WMMW columns in 4 separate publications and I’m VERY HAPPY about the new partnership with the Nashville Music Guide to produce and distribute a promo COMPILATION CD to more than 500 radio stations for play. We will also have some networking and educational events so members can make new friends and learn from industry pros.
NMG: Was there one artist in particular that impassioned you to begin WMMW and if so who was it and why?
Bosch: I can’t say it was just 1… I was working as the Area Marketing Manager for Media Play back in the day and had opened up the store to indies for performance and sales. Each artist that came in had the same stories, same complaints and same challenges. So WMMW was born with the idea that together we can make a difference in the lives of women in the music industry.
NMG: Could you give us a quote of what WMMW means to you and how it has affected your outlook on the industry?
Bosch: It’s cheesy but it’s something I started with when WMMW was born… it’s a line from Helen Reddy – I Am Woman Lyrics
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore……
So I had a tagline on the mission statement that read…..
WE ARE STRONG- WE ARE INVINCIBLE- WE ARE WOMAN!!!!
What I took from this was that women have a voice and we can roar as loud and as furious as men can and we are powerful in numbers. We are women and invincible….So together we can aim for the stars and break the glass ceiling of success.
Beyounce, and Taylor Swift have been able to find huge success alongside male counterparts. And while the industry is much more balanced, there still is a gender lean in roles where men are most likely to dominate.
Bosch: Don’t know that I would do anything differently. It was a very different time when I first conceived and started women of music. Back then I was really a pioneer in offering the Independent Artists certain opportunities that weren’t readily available for them. Social media was just beginning online radio had just been born and there were still brick and mortar record stores that were the main distribution for music.
My position within media play provided me an outlet to offer to Independent Artists to sell their music. Which at that time we’re only CDs and not EP or MP3’s . When we first launched women of music the reception was overwhelming. At that time I had sent out press releases to Media all over the United States and Internationally introducing the concept and suddenly the flood gates were open. We had members from all over the US and several International countries as well. I received an honorary committee position with one of the oldest and most prominent Women’s Music organizations in Europe which is based in Italy Donne di Musica. We started working with them and several of the members were invited to participate in their annual Jubilee. In addition to the recognition I received from them while still at media play I received Music Woman to Watch award from another music organization that was around at the time.
I was able to recruit several volunteers and together we started to formulate the organization. The official launch of women of music music of women was in June of 2000. Warner Brothers music offered us the space to hold the event to which we had more than 500 music industry Personnel attend. We had several members perform we had catering that was sponsored we even had a florist sponsor us by decorating with flowers. A local video company in town that used to shoot a lot of music videos came in and did a video of the entire launch. After that I just tried to keep things going as best I could find the opportunities for them to promote themselves. I was approached by Nashville Pride to produce their entertainment during Pride Fest two years in a row. We ran two stages with entertainment going all day and I had more than enough Talent. But it wasn’t just women for that we had both female and male bands. So I guess the big question is would I do anything different this time around that I didn’t do the first time. Music has changed since that time the distribution of music how people listen to music has changed period when I decided to restart this I had to reinvent the concept to fit in today’s world of music. So I’m still Reinventing and striving to make it better by always seeking more opportunities for the members. One of my main goals is to always seek diversity and inclusion in everything that we do. From country to classical and everything in between we welcome all genres.
And if I could perhaps elaborate on the current vision…. I want to see more growth in the participation of artists taking advantage of the services that are being offered to them. Oftentimes the artist although very creative doesn’t have the business aspect of it and needs directions. With WMMW we offer them the opportunity to express creativity through performances but also support them with the business aspect of it by offering educational workshops with industry panels and networking events. I’m hoping that we can also secure some corporate sponsorship that will help us to realize some of the benefits that we want to offer our members. We are a membership-based organization. The cost of membership is minimal compared to the benefits that are provided. It takes endless hours of research and negotiation two be able to secure venues that will host WMMW showcases on a regular basis. We currently have opportunity for the CMA Fest where is will be showcasing each of the four days with meet and greets. Members have to realize that an opportunity like this doesn’t come easily. I love what I do I want to support these artists in their Journeys but we also have to have the memberships that will help us with some of the cost that we incur.
She is a lighthouse in the harbor, a beacon that shines the light on so many women, of all ages who have ever wanted to dare make a dream of a career in music a reality. ~Sherryl Craig, Lyrics N Legends, NMG
Bosch: I was born in Brazil but my parents migrated to the United States when I was four and a half years old so I was raised in Los Angeles California. I became a citizen of this great nation and call myself an American because I’ve been very privileged in having been educated in the United States and afforded all the freedoms that we have.
NMG: Growing up who was your favorite female artist and why? Do you think that maybe your inspirations back then may have influenced your support of women today in the industry?
Bosch: I grew up in the sixties and seventies. I was crazy about the Beatles and can’t say that I actually had a female artist that inspired me. To be perfectly honest and truthful although music was a big part of my life and I love listening to music I never had the aspirations of being an artist or working in the music industry. It wasn’t until much later when I started working with the entertainment industry booking production travel for some of the big names like Alannis Morissette and even Madonna that I started having a desire to be involved with music . I wanted to be a tour manager period Then when we move to Nashville and I started working for media play and dealing with the major labels and interacting with a lot of the big-name artists as well as a lot of the independence a spark was lit and I started pursuing an interest in supporting the independents by finding opportunities . I still would love to be more of an artist manager but with WMMW I’m able to do a lot more and have my hands in a lot more areas to benefit a lot more artists .
NMG: Where do you hope to see WMMW in ten years?
Bosch: I want to see WMMW continuing to support women and providing opportunities for the Independent Artists. I want to see us have success as a whole meaning that we accomplish the mission of lifting these Independent Artists to the next level. Perhaps some members that will go on to be signed by labels although I’m not a big fan of major label management as a whole for the artist. I believe they give up too much self creativity and oftentimes they don’t understand when signing with a label what it really means. So what I would like to see is that we can support them as Independent Artists where they don’t lose their creative ability to control their own career, but, yet have a secure fan base, are selling their music, are performing and making money. I want to see a tour both in the U.S and International because I believe that the independent artist can make a much greater impact in the international market than they can in the US market. They can be a bigger success in the international market then perhaps they could in the US market. So I’m hoping that we can open some of those doors and provide the guidance needed in addition to the support for them to reach their dreams’
For more information on Women of Music Music of Women please visit the sites below:
Facebook/ Cilene Bosch Photography