Rising to the challenge of change

TO STAY relevant with changing industry needs brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, m/SIX by GroupM hosted a webinar and live panellist session – its fourth under the Challenger Series.

In its latest instalment, the discussion focused on one of the most hard-hit sectors – the music production industry.

The panellists who were from Creative Agency Asia (CAA) and Maveriq studios, shared how they came together and created opportunities for talents in the creative entertainment industry to thrive under challenging times.

Moderated by m/SIX managing director Sheila Shanmugam, the session’s panelists comprised creative industry professionals DJ Hayze, award-winning creative director Paul Morrison, Meredith McLean (executive producer for TV and radio) and local singer and musician Russell Curtis.

Hayze, who is CAA’s creative director and co-founder, is also a singer, song writer, producer, musician and performer.

CAA’s Intermediate Music Production Course was his brainchild and vision to help musicians and artistes upskill themselves.

The programme is supported by the Human Resource Development Corporation.

Hayze together with McLean were both inspired to set up the training programme due to the impact that the pandemic had on musicians, artistes and producers, who could no longer play in live venues, have gigs and have lost their revenue stream.

“We all realised that the industry was in trouble. Everyone across the board, from those in the deejay community and performing artistes like Curtis who couldn’t perform in live venues,” said McLean.

“We saw the opportunity to approach the government and try to get them to see that this was an industry that really needed support.

“These musicians needed to learn new skills in order to be able to transition into this new landscape and to create new revenue streams,” said McLean, who is also Maveriq Studios executive producer.

A Canadian who has lived in Malaysia for 18 years, she has also carried out post-production work for Netflix series and films.

Meanwhile, Maveriq Studios founder Morrison, who is also a composer and producer, said that in view of how the pandemic affected the community, upskilling was the key component in helping those in the industry.

“Maveriq was very fortunate to have the facilities to support this initiative so we were the first destination. We have the resources and the skilled personnel, and we had Hayze leading this whole programme.

“Fortunately, we were able to engage with the government for the financial support to make this happen.”

For Curtis, the pandemic meant that he had to find new ways to make his music work virtually.

On April 18, he performed live from his home for the first time on his show called the Russell Curtis Homecoustics Session.

“That was my turnaround, driven purely from realising that the scene has changed, after being a live performer for 15 years.

“This is going to be the biggest upskill project of my life,” he said.

Pushing aside his fears, he joined the course run by CAA and that introduced him to the new skills needed for him to navigate the new environment.

The common theme highlighted by all panellists was the need to upskill not just to survive, but thrive.

They also highlighted the importance of supporting each other within the industry.

The future of the creative industry lies in the adoption of new technology that enables each individual to cross over all disciplines and borders while continuously lifting the standards of the industry as a whole.

The session, which was attended by over 180 people, ended with a powerful performance from Curtis who also gave a preview of his upcoming single titled Empathy.

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Challenger series , music , pandemic


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