2023 GRAMMY U Conference equips UM students with valuable music industry skills

Gemeny Hernandez and Emily Estefan attend the GRAMMY U Conference at Hilton Miami Downtown on April 22, 2023. Photo credit: John Parra/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

The annual GRAMMY U Conference was hosted at Hilton Downtown Miami on Saturday, April 22. GRAMMY U members and University of Miami student invitees networked with fellow music business prospects and enjoyed perks presented by Nike.

The conference consisted of three panels led by music industry professionals and creatives that shared expert knowledge to the rising stars in attendance.

“We were honored to have leaders from the Latin music community share invaluable tips with our GRAMMY U members on how they can make their mark in the music industry,” Jessie Allen, the Director of GRAMMY U and Frost School of Music alum, said.

The “Songwriting: Finding Your Inspiration & Identity” panel, moderated by Frost School alumna and artist Isadora Figueroa, featured Latin Grammy nominated singer-songwriters Elena Rose and Gale. In an emotional conversation, Rose shared her songwriting process.

“I am always afraid when I’m doing it, and I love it,” she said.

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Rose revealed the vulnerable side of her that lies beneath the surface of her songs. She confessed that the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call to take more risks in her career and value her gift.

“It took me a minute — and that minute was important — but now I know I’m willing to die for it,” Rose said.

Isaiah Frazier, a junior organizational leadership major, asked the panel for advice on improving his songwriting skills.

Rose advised him to use his personal life experiences in his songwriting. Frazier left the conference with a new perspective on songwriting.

“The most inspiring thing I heard today was from Elena Rose,” Frazier said. “I was able to learn some of their trials and some of the things that they had to go through to get to where they are now,” he said.

The “Building your Personal Brand” panel, moderated by Recording Academy Membership Manager Janette Becerra, delved into the marketing side of the music business.

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This discussion featured Nayira Castellanos, Tik Tok Global Music Program Manager Lu Cardenas and Spotify Account Manager Joel Palacios. The trio focused on the dos and don’ts for upcoming artists about social media marketing, streaming platforms, exposure strategies and how to stay true to yourself throughout the process.

The conference ended on a high note with Puerto Rican reggaeton artist, Guaynaa. Emily Estefan held an in-depth conversation with him about his journey in the music industry and the impact his culture has had on his artistry. Guaynaa inspired attendees to embrace their culture and remain genuine when creating.

“Our hope is that each student in attendance walked away with tools to succeed in their growing professional careers and left inspired to take the next steps in their journey,” Allen said.

The 2023 GRAMMY U Conference was an enlightening experience for those in attendance. Students went home with goodies provided by Nike, but more importantly, inspiring knowledge about how to make their mark in the music industry.