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  • A Full Circle Moment for SMG Impact Fellow Akhilaa Lakshminathan
  • Nov 18
A Full Circle Moment for SMG Impact Fellow Akhilaa Lakshminathan

This article is written by Akhilaa Lakshminathan and is part of the 2022 SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

After finishing my first year of college last summer, I clearly remember telling my family that I hoped I would get to intern at Sony Music Entertainment in the near future. Coincidentally, one year later, I am an International Marketing Intern and part of the second class of Sony Music Group Impact Fellows! 

I came to Sony Music Group from a program called Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) hosted by the 4A’s Foundation. Because I wanted to intern in the music industry, I reached out to past Sony Music interns via LinkedIn, some of whom were coincidentally SMG Impact Fellows and introduced me to the program. After crafting my application, interviewing, and making it through three rounds of selection—I was matched with Sony Music Entertainment! I almost couldn’t believe it. In addition to all the support I now have at Sony Music, I also have the resources and a network of thousands of professionals of color through MAIP. 

Working in the International Marketing department is so incredible and resonates with me given my Indian-American identity. I love that my job involves thinking about audiences all around the world that are enjoying American and/or Western artists, because that is really the epitome of globalization and the exchanging of cultures and stories. 

Music has always felt like home to me: watching the GRAMMY Awards, staying up until midnight like it’s New Year’s Eve for an album drop, or composing and songwriting, music always makes me feel more like myself. Throughout the years music would bring so much joy into fruition, including my journey with Sony Music. 

Throughout middle school I performed in choir and bands, and became a big fan of many artists. In high school, I started writing, producing, recording, and releasing my own music. Now in college, I am continuing my musical journey, working on the label side, minoring in music, and developing my own artistry. Adele, signed under Columbia, was the first artist I connected with deeply. Her authenticity, lyrics, and delivery will always have an impact on me and my personal creativity. It really is a full circle moment that I get to work at Sony Music, the home of so many artists I have looked up to for many years. 

I’m an avid reader of music news, love listening to industry podcasts and interviews, and am always down to analyze the latest releases and trends. This is why sitting in on the RCA and Arista marketing meetings have been so fun for me! During my first meeting with RCA I was taken aback by how fast the conversation went. Almost like a tennis match, my colleagues were bouncing ideas and opinions off each other, effortlessly throwing in numbers and statistics and highlighting different international markets, then seamlessly transitioning to the next artist or topic to be discussed. I began to understand the different terms, goals, and overall details of the discussion. Sometimes it feet surreal to be in those rooms, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been at a job where I got to do something I genuinely enjoy and looked forward to everyday. 

I am also extremely grateful to work with such amazing people on the International Marketing team. I’ve learned so much through observing the workflow and learning about each of my colleagues’ experiences.   

When we listen to a song or album, it is hard to comprehend how many people went into making that release a success. It’s an amazing feeling that even through my small contributions as an intern to my respective team, I am helping music and stories reach people who will cherish them across the globe. 

5 songs I’m enjoying this summer 

  1. “Comic Sans” – AUDREY NUNA (ft. Jack Harlow)
  2. “Oh My God” – Adele
  3. “Do It” – Chloe x Halle 
  4. “Matilda” – Harry Styles
  5. “Girl Like Me” – Jasmine Sullivan (ft. H.E.R)

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • Sony Music Africa Partners With Afrochella and Audiomack to Launch Expanded ‘Rising Star Challenge’ Competition
  • Nov 17
Sony Music Africa Partners With Afrochella and Audiomack to Launch Expanded ‘Rising Star Challenge’ Competition

Sony Music Africa is proud to announce its new partnership with Culture Management Group, the parent company of Afrochella, and media streaming service Audiomack, to expand the flagship ‘Rising Star Challenge’ competition for unsigned and emerging artists in Africa.

Up to 10 prize winners chosen from a shortlist of 25 unsigned and emerging artists who enter the competition will benefit from global distribution deals from Sony Music Africa, bringing their music to the world. Five of these prize winners will also be chosen to perform on Afrochella’s Rising Star Stage alongside the festival’s powerhouse headliners and electric musical line-up on December 29th, 2022. 

One artist from the Rising Star Challenge will be selected for the Grand Prize: an exclusive recording agreement with Sony Music Africa for a single release. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • Global distribution for their new single 
  • Marketing support such as a music video and more 
  • Free access to Afrochella’s recording studio 
  • Mentoring and training from industry executives and leading musicians and producers  
  • The opportunity to perform live at Afrochella.

To enter, artists upload an original song to Audiomack and create an Instagram Reel that includes an introduction about the artist, their approach to music and music-making process, and what they want their potential audience to know about their style of music. 

“We’re thrilled to partner with Sony Music Africa to help expand our “Rising Star” challenge and to further catapult the growth of Africa’s up and coming talent.” says Abdul Karim Abdullah, CEO & Co-Founder of Afrochella. “With the strong backing of Sony Music, we now have the exciting opportunity to make an artist’s dreams come to life by providing them with a distribution deal and sustainable resources to help jumpstart their musical career.”

“It’s exciting when we get an opportunity to work with partners who are at the forefront of music culture in Africa, and working with Afrochella to surface exciting new talent fits right into our arc,” added Sean Watson, Managing Director, Sony Music Africa. “Abdul and his team are passionate about being closely connected to the creativity in their environment and so are we at Sony Music Africa. We are excited to partner on the Rising Star Challenge to provide a platform for the best new artists we can find together.”

The “Rising Star Challenge” is now underway, and winners will be chosen during the Afrochella Festival. For more information on the Afrochella Rising Star challenge, please visit https://afrochella.com/risingtalent and for the latest events and news on Afrochella, please visit https://afrochella.com/ and follow @afrochella on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for more details.

  • Catching the Contagious Passion of the DE&I Team
  • Nov 11
Catching the Contagious Passion of the DE&I Team

This article is written by Sasha Campbell and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

Sasha was a 2022 Impact Fellow working with Sony Music Group’s DE&I team. 

What’s been your favorite part of the internship so far?  
My favorite part of working with the DE&I team so far has been my community of coworkers. The DE&I team is a tight-knit group of amazing women and their enthusiasm for our partnerships and initiatives is super contagious.  

What projects have you been working on?  
I recently started a collaboration with Sony Music Publishing (SMP) to discuss the state of diversity and inclusion within the songwriting community at SMP. I will be conducting interviews with Sony Music songwriters, Artists & Repertoires team members, and publishing executives to gather information about how we can use DE&I practices and resources to increase the number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people in songwriting. I have also been working on developing DE&I partnerships with major organizations that we are super excited about. 

What does music mean to you and how does your outlook on music fit in with your internship at Sony Music Group? 
As a queer songwriter and podcast host, my approach to the music industry has always been through the lens of diversity and inclusion. On my podcast “Songwriting Saves the World,” we feature interviews with amazing women and queer people in music like Jenna Andrews, Brandra Ringo, Ali Tamposi, and Miki Ratsula. As a songwriter, I write pop songs for mostly women and queer artists! Working with the DE&I team at SMG is incredibly informative for me as I navigate the music industry prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of what I do.  

What does an average week look like in DE&I? 
An average week with the DE&I team is incredibly dynamic and no two days look the same. Our team works with several amazing partners like GLAAD, Lean In, Disability:IN and more, so a lot of the week consists of organizing and implementing the collaborative initiatives that we create with them. We also have Talent Advisory Groups at Sony Music that we meet with regularly, heritage months that we organize programming for, and a major project with our external partner GLAAD created to advance LGBTQ+ representation within SMG. My schedule as an Impact Fellow is hybrid in-person and virtual so my weeks look different depending on whether I am in office or working from home!  

Could you tell us about one of your highlights of the role? 
As an Impact Fellow, I have loved the creativity and independence that has been encouraged during my internship experience at SMG. Working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in songwriting has always been a passion of mine and it is such a highlight to be able to learn about and pursue that larger mission while working with the DE&I team at SMG.  

How would you describe your SMG internship experience using a song from a Sony Music artist? 
Mmmm that’s a good question. I think the song that best represents my experience at Sony Music Group so far is “Take Me Where Your Heart Is” by Q. It’s a song I’ve been listening to on my walk to work a whole lot and I also hear it playing in the elevator at Sony New York occasionally!  

What songs are currently in your rotation and on repeat?  

  1. “Take Me Where Your Heart Is” – Q 
  2. “Softly” – Arlo Parks  
  3. “Vegas” – Doja Cat  
  4. “Cinema” – Harry Styles 

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • All You Need to Know About the SMG Impact Fellow Internship
  • Nov 04
All You Need to Know About the SMG Impact Fellow Internship

This article is written by Jocelyn Peña and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. Read Jocelyn’s first Inside Sony Music article here. 

Jocelyn was a 2022 Impact Fellow working with Sony Music’s Premium Content team. 

What was it like to be a returning SMG Impact fellow? 
I cannot express enough how much gratitude I have for the SMG Impact Fellow program! It sounds cliche, but this program changed my life in the most positive way. To start off, last year I interned at Sony Music Nashville as a Radio Promo intern. This year, I am returning to Sony Music in the Culver City, CA, office as a Premium Content Intern. This company really trusts and cares for their interns, so I was more than happy to be back. 

The Premium Content team is a content development and distribution team that strengthens our artist relationships, expanding their creative capabilities beyond core music. It includes Podcasting, Soundtracks, Gaming, Film & TV Development & Production, and Long Form Global Distribution. I truly feel like I am being treated as a regular employee and not just an intern—I always feel included and welcome to contribute to the conversation. As a young professional with a goal to work in the music industry, the level of team integration I’ve experienced at Sony Music is a dream come true! 

What is the difference between working from home versus working in the office? 
Virtual or not, this program is built to help you succeed. However, I will say that as an entry-level professional it is easier to build relationships with people in the office. I learned this when I had the opportunity to travel to California for a week to work in person at the Sony Music Culver City Office and meet my team! (Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the program was fully virtual during my first year.) There is a difference between setting up a virtual meeting vs. being able to sit right next to your supervisor and ask them questions you have in real-time, while also getting to know and building a relationship with them.  

Regardless, you can still create strong relationships virtually! Most of my internship is virtual but I still reach out to people in the office online. I recommend checking in with your supervisor every morning and sending them a list of what you’ll be working on that day so there is constant communication. Set up regular check-ins to get feedback on your performance as well. 

While in the office, I made sure to schedule one-on-ones with everyone on the team. I got to see what kind of personality everyone has and got to show them my personality as well. Taking the time to speak with them in the beginning of my internship allowed me to build relationships and to make it known that I am available to support any projects. My supervisors, Charlie Yedor (Sr. Director, Business Development) and Eric Shirkness (Manager, Premium Content Sales, and Distribution), took the time to get to know me personally and they connected me with professionals and invited me to events such as a Kenny Ortega screening and the Bullet Train premiere. What intern gets to meet Kenny Ortega and see Bad Bunny on the big screen on their first day? A Sony Music Group intern! 

What advice do you give someone who has imposter syndrome? 
Imposter syndrome is real. In case anyone needs to hear this, it’s time to overcome it. When talking to other interns, I realized that almost everybody felt this way. Sometimes we tend to doubt our abilities and find it difficult to accept our accomplishments. Yes, there are going to be times where you are challenged. Yes, there will be times when you are going to struggle with an assignment your supervisor gave you. You are going to make errors and that is okay! There is even going to be vocabulary you might not know, but you will learn. Never doubt why they chose you! Internships are a crash course. You are surrounded by professionals. The best you can do is learn from them. The biggest lesson I had to learn was trusting that MAIP, the program I came from, chose me for a reason.  

Favorite memory from the program? 
My first day in the office! It was very eventful. I was running around meeting everyone, having one-on-one meetings to get to know my teammates on a more personal level. I had lunch with the team, dinner with my supervisor and attended a Kenny Ortega screening! I could not believe I got to be in a room full of professional icons on a random Tuesday.  

I never felt like I was “working” because I was having so much fun. I enjoyed the projects and tasks I got to work on and the people I got to work with. You can tell how passionate everyone is about their work which got me so excited to get started and further confirmed my love for the entertainment industry. I want to be surrounded by brilliant, talented, hardworking people who challenge me every day. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and will forever cherish the many memories and opportunities this program gave me. I would recommend this program to anyone interested. You’d be surprised at how many opportunities you get during the semester.

On Repeat: 

  1. “eScoRpiÓn :)” – Ramon Vega
  2. “RUNITUP” – Tyler, The Creator (feat. Teezo Touchdown)
  3. “Alien Superstar” – Beyoncé
  4. “Cinema” – Harry Styles

Favorite Soundtrack:  
Euphoria Original Score From The HBO Series By Labrinth

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • Paving a Path for Indigenous Professionals in Music
  • Oct 28
Paving a Path for Indigenous Professionals in Music

This article is written by Sierra Real Bird and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

Sierra was a 2022 Impact Fellow working with Sony Music Publishing’s Copyright & Film TV team. 

Hello, my name is Sierra Real Bird, and I am from Montana. I am enrolled as a Crow (Apsaalooke) Tribal member based on the Crow Reservation of Southeastern Montana. I belong to the Piegan Clan and am a child of the Sore Lip. My Crow name (Baa-eguin-na-dush) was given to me by Agnes Pretty Weasel, and it translates to Ambitious One. I am also Gros Ventre (aaninen) from the Fort Belknap Reservation and adopted Blackfeet and my Blackfoot name is (Ee nuck see bee gun Ahki) meaning Little Piegan Woman given to me by my paternal grandmother Darnell Ridesatthedoor. This past spring, I graduated with my B.A. in Film and Photography, with an emphasis in Film, from Montana State University-Bozeman with a minor in Native American studies. I am currently working on obtaining a minor in Business Administration and pursuing film to help create content that provides correct representation of Native peoples.  

What has been one of your favorite tasks as an intern on the Copyright and Film & TV Team at Sony Music Publishing (SMP)? 
When I first started as an intern, one of my tasks was working on a cue sheet for a Media Blanket License. (A cue sheet is a list of all musical elements in an AV program, and it’s how Performing Rights Organizations know how to pay out performance income.) I could not believe I had the opportunity to work on a project related to major songs and composers I am familiar with. It is still amazing to me that some of the artists I have listened to on the radio or seen in concert were on the cue sheet! Another project I am proud to work on is registering songs for films and TV shows to the Copyright Office in Washington D.C. As an aspiring filmmaker, working with the Copyright Department has broadened my perspective and appreciation of the process films must go through even after showing in theaters.  

How does AIBL tie into your SMP Internship and do you have any advice for future interns from AIBL? 
American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL) is a program available to all Native American high school and college students, and members of AIBL participate in a “chapter” at a high school or college. At my school, Montana State University-Bozeman, we created a chapter in 2019 and students of any major and ethnic background can join. Every spring there is a conference that chapters can attend, with competitions to win prizes for their chapter and network with business professionals.  

I’ve used the skills I gained from AIBL’s conference, networking, and professional development sessions while interning at Sony Music Publishing. AIBL has also been very supportive and does weekly check-ins with the interns to make sure their journey is going well and to offer professional tools and advice. Some advice I’d give for future interns who come from AIBL is to make sure to write everything down, do not be afraid or shy to ask questions, and practice good time management.   

Can you share a personal takeaway from being an Impact Fellow? 
As a Native American woman, I’ve noticed that there have been very few opportunities that help Native people strive to succeed in their professional career. There is a lot of pressure to succeed with any chance given because I feel as though I am representing the entire Indigenous/Native population, even though there are many diverse tribes and cultures within my community. Since my career path is one that is very different from what people back home do, I am paving a path for others to hopefully be successful.  

I learned a lot being an SMG Impact Fellow and SMP intern from the various workshops and advice offered through both the program and from the department I worked with. Recently, I attended a resume and interview workshop where I received so many tips that I’ll be applying in the future. What I enjoy most about this opportunity is how the program thinks ahead and prepares every intern for success even if they do not continue with Sony Music Group.  

What has your daily work life looked like, while completing this Fellowship remotely? 
Working remotely has been very helpful to me this summer because I get to be with my family and kick off my professional journey on a healthy foundation of work-life balance. My remote workdays can break into two buckets: 

First, I log on in the mornings and greet my supervisor and my teammates, and foster connections. (I feel blessed in having similar interests with my team which helps make those connections.)  

Second, I tackle different tasks I’ve been assigned to work on. It’s really helpful that the team is patient with showing me the process of how to do the task at hand. Each team member makes themselves available to answer any questions I have and to support me via video calls to help.  

Overall, interning with the Copyright team has been a very joyful, professional learning experience.  

What songs are currently in your rotation and on repeat? 

  1. “Vegas” – Doja Cat
  2. “Speak To Me” – Koryn Hawthorne
  3. “Take What You Want” – Post Malone (ft. Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott)
  4. “WAVE” – ATEEZ

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • Local Impact Reports: SMG Asia Social Justice Task Force on Making a Difference
  • Oct 25
Local Impact Reports: SMG Asia Social Justice Task Force on Making a Difference

More than two years since the inception of Sony Music Group’s (SMG) $100 million Global Social Justice Fund (GSJF), a commitment has already been made to support over 400 organizations across 7 regions and 60 countries.

This year, the GSJF expanded its work in Asia, and has recently made donations to three well-established non-profit organizations in the region – Milaan Foundation in India, Modern Women’s Foundation in Taiwan, and SPARK! Philippines.

We spoke to our SMG Asia Social Justice Fund Task Force recently to learn more about how they are collaborating with local communities and grassroots organizations to help tackle social injustice across Asia. 

Abhipray Agrawal, who works as a Manager on Sony Music’s analytics team in India, has been a pivotal part of the social justice fund in India, helping identify one of the key organizations who have benefited from this year’s funding.

“We, as a committee, all have a vested interest in philanthropy, independent of our roles within the organization,” says Agrawal. “In our personal capacities, many of us volunteer with various non-profits and charities that support a variety of causes – ranging from environmental conservation and animal welfare to female empowerment and displaced youth. When it was announced that the fund would be expanded to impact communities in Asia, we took on the task to identify organizations that addressed issues that are most pressing in the region and that are closest to our own mission here at Sony Music.”

One of these organizations that have recently received funding is the Milaan Foundation, an India-based non-profit that collaborates with women to impart skills, develop knowledge, and foster safe environments.

“Every girl deserves a life of dignity, opportunity and access to education,” said Dhirendra Pratap Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Milaan Foundation on receiving the funding. “We envision an inclusive and equal world, where every girl is educated, healthy and safe to explore her full potential. Thanks to funding from Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice Fund, we can fast-track the education and empowerment of adolescent girls, cultivating our next generation of female leaders. We are delighted to work hand in hand with Sony Music Entertainment India to further our mission to impart young women with the knowledge, skills, and the social environment needed to pursue their aspirations”

The task force also, purposely, seeks to ensure that SMG supports historically excluded communities across the region. For this tranche of funding allocated for Asia, the focus is on female empowerment and gender equality across the region.

“We wish to leverage music as a platform to uplift marginalized communities of women in Asia,” said Kevin Foo, General Manager of Sony Music Taiwan and MD of RCA Greater China. “Women in Asia face a multitude of challenges, including lack of access to education and healthcare, being subject to domestic and sexual abuse and underpromotion of rights’ issues. We have the benefit at SMG to leverage our collective strengths – in our case, music, culture, and creativity – to empower them with the tools needed to spark change, raise awareness about the most pressing issues they face and uplift their communities.”

How does the task force collectively decide which organizations to partner with and donate to? It is a meticulous process.

“Asia is home to many developing countries, within which there are communities of women who are neglected and underserved. Numerous organizations are already present in those communities addressing these issues and it is no easy task picking who we want to collaborate with. We seek to work with like-minded organizations that share the same values and principles as us. SMG makes available its stable of resources, such as our songwriters and sound engineers, creative technologies, and facilities like recording studios. We welcome these organizations to make full use of these resources and are also open to the idea of co-ideating solutions. These can include anything, from a creative arts curriculum or a talent show to skills enrichment or job placements,” said Shawn Paltiel, Vice President, Digital Partner Development, Sony Music Asia.

Looking ahead, Sony Music Asia continues to forge ahead in its philanthropic journey. “We seek to expand the scope of the GSJF to cover other issues that affect communities across Asia,” said Taeky Kim, Director, Digital Analytics from Sony Music Entertainment Korea. “We will work relentlessly over the upcoming months to identify the most pertinent issues, and like-minded partners we wish to collaborate with to tackle them. Our commitment to Asia remains steadfast.”

Local Impact Reports: SMG Asia Social Justice Task Force on Making a Difference
  • Spend A Week in International Marketing With SMG Impact Fellow Francis Amponsah
  • Oct 21
Spend A Week in International Marketing With SMG Impact Fellow Francis Amponsah

This article is written by Francis Amponsah and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

Francis was a 2022 Impact Fellow working with Sony Music’s International Marketing team. 

What does music mean to you and how does your outlook on music fit in with your internship at Sony Music Group? 
Listening to music is a form of meditation to me, like another dimension—or an escape, an enhancement to our reality. It’s fascinating to see how music makes an impact on a global scale as an International Digital Marketing intern and even more fascinating to be a contributor to that impact in countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Brazil and more.  

Music is a universal language, and my internship experience has proven just that. It’s eye-opening to see tracks from artists trend in markets you wouldn’t have even expected. For example, did you know that at one point, Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” lyric video was trending on YouTube in Israel at #12? It was also surprising to see DJ Khaled’s “Staying Alive” music video trending at #2 on YouTube in South Africa. 

What does an average week look like in International Marketing? 
I start Mondays off with a deep dive into the releases for the week and create reports on global trends, social chatter, and streaming data of various signed artists to share with project managers.  

Throughout the week, I attend and take notes during production calls and label meetings where teams congregate to make sure everyone is aligned with digital assets and necessary tasks ahead of an album, single, or music video release. I also work on campaign projects such as assisting in the development of ad assets, creating a weekly internal newsletter to highlight digital and TikTok trends and collaborating with two other international marketing interns to discuss our joint internship project/case study on influencer marketing.  

Could you tell us about one of your highlights of the role? 
One highlight is the real-world experience I’ve gained in marketing by assisting the four digital project managers that I work with. This experience broadened my knowledge of the music industry from a marketing perspective because I get to work with colleagues that have different leadership styles and work with different regions and markets. I have a lot of different interests including creative strategy, brand management, and graphic design and feel like I’ve been able to exercise most of them in this role. 

How would you describe your internship experience using a song from a Sony Music artist? 
The song “Blessed” by Wizkid ft. Damian Marley

Last but not least, what songs are currently in your rotation and on repeat? 

  1. “Where I Belong” – Joey Bada$$
  2. “Call Me Every Day” – Chris Brown ft. Wizkid
  3. “STAYING ALIVE” – DJ Khaled (ft. Drake & Lil Baby)
  4. “WAIT FOR YOU” – Future ft. Drake & Tems
  5. “KU LO SA” – Oxlade 
  6. “Ice T” – Tems

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • Sony Music Group Celebrates Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month ‘22
  • Oct 15
Sony Music Group Celebrates Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month ‘22

There are over 25 Hispanic and Latino nations in the world, each with their own food, music, heritage and culture. To honor the diversity, achievements and contributions of the Hispanic and Latinx community worldwide, Sony Music Group proudly celebrated this Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month with the theme, “Somos una comunidad, esta es nuestra voz / We are a community, this is our voice.” 

Below, read about how Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month came to life at Sony Music Group. 

The Design: Let’s Break It Down 

Sony Music Group’s Talent Advisory Group (TAG), SOMOS, led the design and programming for the entire month. As SMG’s representative for the Hispanic and Latinx communities both inside and outside of Sony, SOMOS helped develop a theme that could inform the design—which was later created by David Santana—that best represented the Hispanic and Latinx community across the globe.  

A vibrant color palette was used to represent the different colors of Latin nation flags, to symbolize the liveliness of the unique cultural traditions within Hispanic and Latinx communities, and to showcase the colors seen in many traditional clothing of their indigenous cultures. 

The wide array of instruments incorporated were a nod to music’s significance not only to our company, but also to Hispanic and Latin American history. Plus, what’s a celebration without music? 

How Sony Music Group Celebrated the Month 

From learning salsa and bachata to the importance of representation in music and media, Sony Music Group teammates took part in a variety of company-wide activations dedicated to celebrating and empowering the Hispanic and Latinx community.  

One event featured a conversation moderated by award-winning journalist and motivational speaker Mariana Atencio, with actor, producer and activist Wilson Cruz. Cruz reflected on his career and emphasized how powerful media representation has been for himself and others in minority communities. 

“To this day, I will get a message on social media or on the street where someone will tell me that I was the first time they saw themselves on screen and felt like they weren’t alone,” Cruz explained. “To give that comfort and solace to a community, especially to young people of color, is the one thing I will forever be proud of and grateful for.” 

Teammates in our New York City office also had the chance to gather in-person to celebrate the month with food, drinks and special performances. The Orchard kicked off our celebrations with a special performance by Gulf Coast Soul band The Suffers, and Sony Music Group closed out the month with rising Puerto Rican singer and songwriter from Sony Music Latin Gale. Get a glimpse of Gale’s performance here:

A huge thank you to all the people who enriched Sony Music Group’s Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month celebrations this year: 

And a special shoutout to SOMOS for taking lead in programming the month’s events, and for all its efforts to make this year’s Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month at Sony Music Group so special. 

Our Continued Support for the Hispanic and Latinx Community 

Through Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice Fund, we continue to partner with organizations dedicated to supporting the Hispanic and Latinx community—like the Guadalupe Musalem Fund, whose mission is to support the education of young women from rural, indigenous and Afro-Mexican communities. 

“Our young graduates are paving the way in their communities and are dedicated to advancing women’s rights,” said Martha Aparicio Rojas, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Guadalupe Musalem Fund. “Some have excelled in the public space and received recognition for their activity in favor of their community.” 

Check out the Global Social Justice Fund Impact Report to learn more about the Guadalupe Musalem Fund. 

  • How This SMG Impact Fellow Learned to Support the Future of Music
  • Oct 14
How This SMG Impact Fellow Learned to Support the Future of Music

This article is written by Keona Leano and is part of the SMG Impact Fellows Mix Tape Series, a collection of first-person essays written by the 2022 Sony Music Group Impact Fellow cohort. Read more about the SMG Impact Fellows Program here. 

Keona was a 2022 Impact Fellow working with Sony Music’s Early Career, Talent Acquisition team. 

Yá’át’ééh & Talofa lava (hello). My name is Keona Leano, I am a young woman in the U.S. who comes from two strong and beautiful Indigenous cultures; Navajo (Diné) and Samoan. I grew up living on the Navajo Reservation which requires strength physically, emotionally, and mentally because Diné people are still trying to heal and rebuild in modern-day society while preserving their traditions. Today, Indigenous populations face immense hardship. For example, according to the PNPI, only 24 percent of 18–24-year-old Native American students are enrolled in college, where, in most institutions, they will make up less than one percent of the U.S. graduate and undergraduate student population. Fortunately for me, through American Indigenous Business Leaders (AIBL)—an organization that empowers indigenous leaders and promotes Indigenous representation through education and leadership development opportunities—I am part of Sony Music Group’s Impact Fellows Program. I’m both amazed and honored to have a space carved out for me at such a prestigious organization. 

What does music mean to you and how does your outlook on music fit in with your internship at Sony Music Group? 
I consider myself a broad music appreciator since I value a wide range of genres and artists. My role as an intern on the Talent Acquisition (TA) team connects to my appreciation for music because the TA team hires talent that brings music to the world.  

Artists and producers, marketing and A&R, communications and public relations—there are so many jobs that help music reach the world. The TA department seeks to recruit and hire individuals that will support each department, and the Early Career team under the TA function recruits and invests in students and recent graduates who could potentially join the music industry in the future. So, by assisting the Early Career team, I feel like I’m assisting the future of music. 

What does an average week look like on the Early Career team? 
An average week consists of individual and team meetings where we set department goals, provide business updates and have fun with team building activities. Team members handle tasks independently, but there are always open lines of communication between everyone.  

What I admire most about this team is their teamwork, accountability, and commitment to developing young professions—like me—by creating a great learning environment filled with respect and understanding. I’ve been fortunate to experience a little bit of everything the department has to offer by working on unique projects with each team member, such as creating requisitions, helping to create standard operating procedures for rotational programs, tracking intern data, brainstorming content ideas and recruiting college prospects.  

Could you tell us about one of your highlights from the role? 
It’s hard to name just one as there are numerous highlights from my role, so here’s three: 

  1. Every conversation I had with my team members taught me something about the TA function, that I could also apply to my own life lessons.  
  2. Watching the process of passionate people becoming a part of Sony Music Entertainment. It’s exciting to see new candidates go through each interview step and then reach the offer stage; I get so happy for them.  
  3. The greatest highlight would be when I traveled to the New York City Sony headquarters for an SMG Fellows session, organized for us to connect with professionals across the business. The visit exceeded my expectations on every level. I was very fortunate to tour the studios and archives, as well as meet Rob Stringer, SMG’s Chairman, in person during the session. (It was incredible to see him take the time to listen and offer great words of wisdom to the SMG Impact Fellows!) In addition, there was a special moment during the session where I was given the opportunity to speak about land acknowledgement and its importance to indigenous nations. I was relieved when my statement was heard and well-received by such influential people.  

How have you changed after your time in the internship program? 
I’ve blossomed through my experience at Sony Music Entertainment in various ways. I am walking away with new skills and valuable life lessons. I’ve gained more self-confidence in my work and realized that my perspective has value and there are people who are open to listening to a different point of view. I have told many people that my biggest takeaway from my time with Sony Music Entertainment is Hope. I am hopeful for the future generations of my people and hopeful for the future of music. I have also been fortunate to have a special place carved out for me, because like I said, opportunities like this don’t come by too often for Indigenous people.  

Great advice you’ve received so far? 
I have been fortunate to have great conversations with great people. Here are a few pieces of advice I’ve received so far, and hope others can find value in for themselves: 

  • Be your authentic self.  
  • If knowledge is power, then learning is your superpower. When you reach an obstacle, pivot, and find your superpower. 
  • Always take care of yourself. If you’re not good to yourself, you won’t be good to others, let alone your job.  
  • You learn your lessons in the valley. It could be two days or two years. Break through. 
  • It’s okay if you don’t know everything. Give yourself time to learn and permission to ask questions. 

What songs are currently in your rotation and on repeat? 

  1. “Alien Superstar” – Beyoncé
  2. “x10” – Koffee
  3. “She” – Harry Styles
  4. “Déjà Vu” – ATEEZ
  5. “Brown Skin Girl” – Leon Bridges

For more stories on the SMG Impact Fellows second cohort:

  • SPARK! Partners With Sony Music Entertainment Philippines to Empower Young Women and Girls
  • Oct 11
SPARK! Partners With Sony Music Entertainment Philippines to Empower Young Women and Girls

SPARK! Philippines will receive funding from Sony Music’s Global Social Justice Fund to accelerate young women’s rights advocacy through music and film    

Through the Global Social Justice Fund, Sony Music Philippines is partnering with SPARK! to champion young women’s rights and provide access to free and quality education, improved reproductive health products and services, and support for gender sensitive and responsive programs.

As a new beneficiary, SPARK! Philippines will develop an initiative that capitalizes on the power of storytelling through film and music to showcase inspirational narratives of the young women they support. The selected applicants will collaborate with amateur filmmakers and Sony Music Philippines artists to produce original short biopics or documentaries featuring impactful musical scores and theme songs. A separate series of short videos will also be made to showcase how Sony Music Philippines artists engage with the young women through their workshops and songwriting and recording sessions.

“In addition to elevating young women and raising awareness for the issues they face, we want to inspire them to be more creative, to dream deeply, and to aspire for more,” said Maica Teves, Executive Director at SPARK! Philippines. “Young women need help with strengthening and amplifying their advocacy efforts, and support from the Sony Music Philippines’s musicians and filmmakers will help them achieve that in a creative way. Through our collaboration with Sony Music’s Global Social Justice Fund, we aim to give our young women a positive platform to showcase their collaboration and develop meaningful stories that shed much-needed light on the pressing issues they face. We want to embed a belief in equal rights and the importance of education at a young age and will work hand-in-hand with Sony Music Entertainment Philippines to realize these goals.”      

“We are happy to partner with SPARK! who are impacting the lives of young women across the Philippines,” said Roslyn Pineda, General Manager, Philippines, Sony Music Entertainment. “As a global music company, Sony Music Entertainment is dedicated to empowering and elevating all members of societies where we have a presence. We are committed to bridging gaps in society and look forward to working with SPARK! to unlock the creative potential of young women in the Philippines.”

Established in 2012, SPARK! Philippines is an NGO composed of empowered women committed to the development of women and women’s organizations as full partners in national development. The funding from Sony Music Philippines will help strengthen collaboration and build alliances with people and organizations across various fields and sectors to advance the rights and welfare agenda of young women, encourage young women to be agents of change from a young age by actively participating in social development programs and community projects, claiming their right to engage in spaces of policy discussion, and support men in allyship and activism by joining activities that advance gender equality.

SPARK! Philippines is the latest recipient announced in Asia from Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice Fund. Launched in 2020, the Fund supports social justice and anti-racist initiatives around the world. Two years on, the Fund has pledged 71% of the total $100 Million USD fund to more than 400 community organizations worldwide, covering areas including civic engagement, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, and education.

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