WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
J A N E S L I N G O
Photograph by Peter Plozza
I. It has been a big year for our little family – our daughter Milla turning one, learning to walk, run and first words. The challenge for any parent is to juggle that balance between work and home life, to do what you need to do, whilst remaining present for your little ones and each other. It’s a cliché but these years do fly and you don’t get this time back. Professionally it’s been a good year as well. My role with EMC (Electronic Music Conference) has evolved over the last few years to where it is now, which is heading up the programming for the conference. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it is for me to work on this event. I’m a firm believer in the strength of a platform like EMC, which allows the industry to get together over a few days to be generous with their time, knowledge, experiences and insights. Both of my artists have been writing most of this year, and it’s been a joy to see them both flourishing as artists, and bravely venturing into new musical territory. I’ve also stepped back into agency land this year, consulting and project managing for a couple of clients on music campaigns.
II. The internet has been amazing for artists and businesses, but it's moved to a place where the competition for airtime from artists, from media, from labels, from festivals has made it such a challenge for excellent music to cut through and have the impact it should. We’re seeing the same ideas, the same sounds, the same strategies rolling out. I feel as though we’re in the pop will eat itself zone at present.
III. As an industry we are still facing gender inequality. This year I have worked really hard to seek out and secure the best female speakers possible for EMC. I’ve been amazed at how many times an invitation has been declined, because the female I’m speaking to isn’t comfortable with public speaking. All of these women are confident, smart, efficient and really amazing at what they do. Yet there’s this reluctance or a fear about being in a room full of people to share their wisdom, experience and insights.
IV. An issue we still face as a music community is transparency around the commercial models behind new technologies and platforms for music consumption. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, get my head around why in 2015 we are still seeing situations where there are NDAs in place that stop clear information of how the income is siphoned between the parties who all own the music. Why aren’t the artists allowed to know this? They are the key and essential ingredient to this business, so to have this strange veil of secrecy around how the money is divvied up for me is suspicious, wrong and it’s holding the music business back from operating in a truly forward thinking way.
V. We need to talk more about the lack of education for girls in developing countries. Why? Because all of us can help with this issue in some way, and if more of us chose to do one small thing to help this cause, we would see a dramatic shift in the world in the decades to come. girlrising.com is a great place to start if you’re interested in this issue.
VI. I am for taking a journey to somewhere where you can give yourself to a cause or a need of someone or something other than yourself. This reminds me of a story when in 2008, following a horrendous three years in business for me, I felt a strong need to get as far away as I could from my own woes and give my time to some people who needed help much more than me. I volunteered at a little orphanage in Aceh, Sumatra which was the area most devastated by the Boxing Day Tsunami five years earlier. Aceh had been mostly rebuilt in terms of construction and infrastructure, but the communities and families there are still faced with a deep and painful loss of their loved ones at the brutal hands of mother nature. What I actually did there was very simple, it was just teaching English to the 9 children at this orphanage and simply hanging out with them, living with them for a month. That month was a life changer for me in so many ways. A lesson in gratitude.