Interview // Michael Vazquez (Music Forward)
Interview // Michael Vazquez (Music Forward)

Interview // Michael Vazquez (Music Forward)

What is the Music Forward paid internship program?

Michael: Music Forward Boston, powered by Citizens, is a partnership between Music Forward Foundation, which is the 501c3 of Live Nation Entertainment and Citizens Live to provide a series of music industry career readiness programs for Boston area students from underserved communities.

Who is eligible for that program?

Michael: It’s open to eight interns who are college students and that are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. A path to college is not necessary, so if they don’t choose to attend college, they can still apply.

What is your role in the program?

Michael: I manage the community relationship between Citizens and the Music Forward Foundation and our colleague engagement. So, bringing in content experts from marketing content experts in financial empowerment, and bringing in thought leadership for career readiness. Something like mock interviews, or how to build your resume, or tips and tricks of LinkedIn and how to connect with folks in the music industry via LinkedIn, setting up workshops.

What is your favorite memory from the program thus far?

Michael: I would say two. I would say the introduction to the interns, to the group of eight. When they were fresh out, a little timid, a little shy, and you can see it in their face. They didn’t really know what to expect. But we spent about an hour and a half with them as sort of an introduction to the program. Why they’re here, explained to them that because of their impressive interview and their applications, that they have the qualities and potential to really sort of fulfill their dreams of taking a step foot, taking a step forward into the music industry. And then just over time, over that span of 90 minutes, they’ve gotten a little warmer, a little bit more–you could tell that the vibe and the energy levels within the room, they started to just loosen up, and they started to share more about sort of what they are looking forward to the program, what they’re looking to invest in the program. You can hear more questions coming out of their mouths as soon as they got a little bit more comfortable with our sort of colleagues that were there to welcome them on the other side of the table.

The other memory was the concert this week. Of course, this week was the wrap-up concert. Think of it as their thesis. So to wrap up the program, they put on a free concert for the community at the Brighton Music Hall. We had Paper Lady. We had Padma. We had Jesse Detor and we had Bowling Shoes. So four local up-and-coming young groups and artists. It was really cool to see every single one of the interns had a role, whether it’s MCing, or selling merch, or being backstage in the production room, or just floating around making sure that guests are comfortable and just sort of getting some feedback from guests. So it was really cool to see it come full circle. I think those were my two favorite experiences in the program.

Are there any upcoming events?

Michael: We have one internal event tomorrow at the Citizens House of Blues. And this is where it’s just sort of a culmination. Tuesday night was sort of the party. The concert, a little gift back for the community. But Friday will be where we bring in the Citizens State President Lisa Murray. We’re going to have the senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Carrie Harrison. We’re going to have members of the marketing team that work with Citizens Live. So Citizens Live is the five music venues: Brighton Music Hall, Citizens Bank Opera House, Orpheum Theater, presented by Citizens, Paradise Rock Club presented by Citizens, and Citizens House of Blues to sort of meet with them, meet with the eight interns and just hear from them, see, get some feedback, what went right? What would they have liked to see done better? Tell us about your experience. Is there something sort of similar to what you asked me “Do you have a favorite memory?” “Would you have liked to see more sort of modules for classes?” “Did you enjoy the financial literacy component of it as well?” Just to sort of have like a little closing meet and greet to prepare now for the next cohort next summer.

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