WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES

 

F A I T H   N E W M A N

 

RESERVOIR MEDIA

SVP CREATIVE + BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

NEW YORK CITY

 

  Photography by Robert Nethery

Photography by Robert Nethery

I. Wisdom is essentially the intelligent use of knowledge and life experience that leads to a place of quality awareness, critical discernment and sound judgement.

II. As I approach fifty, like most maturing adults I have become more wise. I have learned from my mistakes and from other people’s mistakes. In my ever evolving wisdom I have become more of a realist. I have learned how to focus on the big picture and not let ego distract me from what I need to focus on. My true wisdom comes with the pain, failure, fear, self-doubt and rejection that life has brought me. It has been not easy but still my journey has been incredible, blessed and wisdom producing.

III. The biggest part of my job is acquiring repertoire, so to that end I have sought out particular music catalogs of that era that have been neglected and forgotten in popular culture. For two years I sought to procure a record label and music publishing catalog of R&B music from the late 1960s/early 1970s. The catalog was in danger of being lost to history but contained such a wealth of amazing music. I had to track down original tapes, contracts, general memorabilia and the surviving people involved. In the end it was all worth it because I gave new life to something that would have disappeared from our musical landscape and the company made back its investment in two weeks when one of the songs in the catalog was used in a major ad campaign.

IV. My life was on a decidedly upward trajectory for a long time in the music industry until I had to come face to face with the limitations and inequity of being a woman in a male dominated industry. I had to experience having my male mentee become my boss, and not getting the kind of support I think I deserved, because I did not fit into the male culture. It was devastating at the time but it was also a wake up call. These sorts of experiences not only strengthened my identity but also my love more for the music and artists that have kept me in the game for the long haul.

V. One of the biggest issues today is how recording artists are paid for their work. As physical products become a thing of the past and downloading wanes, the focus has to be on properly monetizing streaming. Artists deserve to be paid for their intellectual property. There is an entire generation of young people who believe that music is free particularly because it can be grabbed from any number of platforms that don’t require fees.

VI. When the music business becomes unprofitable, nationally and globally with all of the free access to music, it is the artist who loses out. We need to put new laws in place to protect both the artist and music industry, so that is it fair, profitable, and able to bring the fans the most exciting and relevant music.

VII. Aside from paying attention to the financial health of the music business, I also think the music industry, and Hip Hop music in particular needs to connect and respond to the larger current social issues like police brutality, gun violence and black/brown male incarceration. The music industry must step up and lead way and give back to the community who supports it.

VIII. We need to talk more about the celebration of guns and violence in Hip Hop music because Black Lives Matter.

IX. I am for justice for recording artists who have been ripped off, cheated and robbed of participating in the money made by the music they created.

 

TM