Authenticity is key: What we learned at the Power of Music

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Music is a language without barriers, an instinct. Its power is multilayered, but its purpose, ultimately is to make us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

Last Thursday, March 22nd, Bridges Unite, in partnership with Viacom, hosted its Power of Music panel with the purpose of learning about women in the music industry, and what goes on behind the spotlight. Latin Grammy nominee Sofia Reyes, Viacom VP of Programming Natalia Juliäo, and VP of Talent & Music Marc Zimet, spoke about the current Latin music explosion around the world, the importance of artist’s involvement in the community and more.

Here are our main takeaways from the panel!

The Latin Explosion

“We always believed that we [Latin artists] were going to get our time,” said Sofia Reyes when our panel kicked-off.

In the last couple of years, the momentum for Latin music has risen exponentially, not only because of how its reaching the world but also because of unlikely collaborations with non-Spanish speaking artists, some of which include Beyoncé, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato.

“Old school thought was, if I’m a Latin singer and I want to break into other countries I have to learn English or change the sound of my music to mean something,” said Marc Zimet.

Full house! [Photo by Majo Grossi]

What the Latin explosion proves is that, like Sofia says, “music has no rules.” The ability of music to go beyond such culturally ingrained barriers such as language, is an indication of a world that is constantly changing. In the end, music often reflects the social nuances of a specific time and space; what is relevant and what is not.

Today, like Natalia Juliäo said, “audiences are more connected, more global. They don’t think in their own country anymore.”

More than the Music

In the age of technology, the music industry has undergone some of the most drastic changes. Today, artists don’t depend as much as they used to on record labels and connections within the industry.

“Is there teams that look through YouTube for that next person?” asked Azul Girola, part of our younger generation of ambassadors. The answer is yes, although per Marc that’s not the only thing their job entails. Still, artists can now take their chances into their own hands, they don’t necessarily need someone else to expose them, and many of them come into stardom with an already built fan base. For young girls like Azul, aspiring musicians and artists, watching someone else get recognized through these platforms makes the dream more approachable.

But platforms like YouTube, Spotify and Instagram have not only opened the doors to new artists looking to expose their art, they have also changed what it means to be a musician today, as well as how we listen to music.

“Nowadays when you produce something and you want to assume its successful, you not only recognize ratings. Engagement is a big part of it,” said Natalia Juliäo. “When we look at an artist we want to know who they are as a person, how they relate to society, how they feel about women, about the hungry, how they connect to their fans.”

Today, interaction between artists and their fans extends beyond concerts and music. It’s about establishing a daily connection so that people feel close to the artists they love.

Sofia Reyes [Photo by Majo Grossi]

“People connect with artists. They want to know what you do every single day, because were all human, we’re not always on stage” said Sofia Reyes. “It’s cool that you can tell them what you’re d